Essays on Russian and Polish Women Writers
Author: Urszula Chowaniec,Ursula Phillips,Marja Rytkönen
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Category: Literary Criticism
Masquerade and Femininity: Essays on Russian and Polish Women Writers introduces the reader to the diversity of women’s writing in Poland and Russia in the 19th and 20th centuries in the light of the notion of masquerade. The present articles scrutinize particular works by women writers (Nadezhda Dmitrievna Khvoshchinskaia, Irina Odoevtseva, Vera Pavlova, Narcyza Żmichowska, Maria Komornicka, Irena Krzywicka and others) and the strategies of masquerading female experience. Taken together, the articles draw attention to the feeling of an inexpressible gap between the living body (and its everyday life experience of pain and suffering or happiness and pleasure) and the culturally constructed, powerfully imposed code of expression that readily makes use of various masks, guises and acts of pretending, applied especially cleverly in literary works. The concept of masquerade illuminates the complexity of what we call “femininity” by combining two sides of the divide: the real feelings and the constructed expressions. This volume uses both feminist and non-feminist approaches to women’s writing and sheds new light on the themes of femininity, woman’s identity, experience, masks, body, gender relations, nature, culture and authorship. Masquerade and Femininity brings together East European literary studies and gender studies, offering a comparative perspective on literature, literary theory and cultural phenomena in Poland and Russia, and featuring a range of both eastern European and western scholars. In its pages, the reader is invited to move beyond Russian literature and language into a dialogic approach between Slavic literatures. This book will also contribute to filling the comparative gap which is still relatively unexplored not only with regard to the application of western scholarship to East European studies, but also with regard to the dialogue between Russian and Polish scholarship.