The Author as Hero | 1st Edition
Self and Tradition in Bulgakov, Pasternak, and Nabokov
AUTHOR: Weir, Justin
PUBLISHER: Northwestern University Press
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Justin Weir develops a persuasive analysis of the complex relationship between authorial self-reflection and literary tradition in three of the most famous Russian novels of the first half of the twentieth century: Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, Boris Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago, and Vladimir Nabokov's The Gift.
All three novelists respond to a dual crisis, according to Weir: the general modernist destabilization of identity, and the estrangement from literary tradition that followed the Russian Revolution. Using various self-reflexive literary devices (such as the mise en abyme), these authors reincorporate literary tradition into their works and, in the process, generate a distinctive view of identity. Character, in these novels, is neither the outcome of a continuous process of Bildung, nor a direct function of the individual's relation to larger historical events. Rather, character is defined in the act of writing itself, so that every hero must be a sort of author. The outcome is a new novelistic art that focuses on the identity of the artist as revealed through his writing.
With its innovative interpretation of these novels and its compelling historical, cultural, and theoretical insights, The Author as Hero offers a new view of an important moment in the evolution of Russian literature.
PUBLICATION DATE: 6/26/2002
CATEGORY: Literary Criticism