Images of the Russian People and Russia in the Contemporary English Novel

Olga Sidorova

Abstract


The mythological image of Russia in English fiction has been shaped and repeated over the course of many centuries. Russia was traditionally viewed as a distant, cold, unpredictable, and wild country. The aim of the article is to examine a new Russian cultural discourse that first appeared in English fiction in the early twentieth century and developed during the last decades of the twentieth and the first decade of the twenty-first centuries. Russia’s history in the twentieth century had a powerful impact on Russian themes in English literature. To prove this point, novels by three contemporary female English writers are analysed. In Penelope Lively’s The Moon Tiger (1987), Penelope Fitzgerald’s The Beginning of Spring (1988), and Helen Dunmore’s The Siege (2001) and The Betrayal (2011), Russian history is viewed sympathetically through the dramatic fates of normal people. The characters break down stereotypes and create a complex image of Russia and its people in contemporary English fiction.


Keywords


Russian themes; stereotypes; mythological images; cultural discourse; history; the contemporary English novel

References


Anichkin, A. (n. d.). Leningrad: “Net, ves′ ya ne umru…” [No, I shall not wholly die…]. In Tetradki: Chto o nas dumayut v Evrope. URL: http://european-book-review. blogspot.com/2006_11_01_archive.html (mode of access: 15. 09. 2015).

Barnes, J. (2012). The Deceptiveness of Penelope Fitzgerald. In Barnes, J. Through the Window (pp. 1–14). N. Y., Vintage Intern.

Beevor, A. (2002). Berlin. The Downfall 1945. 552 p. L., Penguin Books.

Breeva, T. N. & Khabibullina, L. F. (2009). Natsional′nyy mif v russkoy i angliyskoy literature [National Myth in Russian and English Literature]. 612 p. Kazan, RITs “Shkola”.

Cross, A. (1985). The Russian Theme in English Literature from the Sixteenth Century to 1980. An Introductory Survey and a Bibliography. 278 p. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Dunmore, H. (2001). The Siege. 312 p. L., Penguin Books.

Dunmore, H. (2011). The Betrayal. 328 p. L., Penguin Books.

Fitzgerald, P. (2003). The Beginning of spring. 246 p. L., Flamingo.

Hay Festival yesterday: Helen Dunmore and Antony Beevor speak history (2010).

In Guardian, June 1. URL: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2010/jun/01/hay-festival-yesterday (mode of access: 15.09.2015).

Khabibullina, L. F. (2010). Mif Rossii v sovremennoy angliyskoy literature [The Russian Myth in Modern English Literature]. 205 p. Kazan, Kazansky universitet.

Koroleva, S. B. (2012). Mif o Rossii v britanskoy literature i kul′ture (do 1920kh godov) [The Russian Myth in British Literature and Culture (before the 1920s) ]. 256 p. Nizhniy Novgorod, Radonezh.

Krasavchenko, T. N. (2008). Vospriyatie Rossii i russkikh v angliyskoy literature na rubezhe XX–XXI vekov [The Perception of Russia and Its People in English Literature in the Late 20th – Early 21st Centuries]. In Novye rossiyskie gumanitarnye issledovaniya, 3. URL:http//www.rngumis.ru (mode of access: 15.09.2015).

Lively, P. (2006). Moon Tiger. 208 p. L., Penguin Books.

Marsh, R. (2007). Rossiya i Zapad v istoricheskoy perspective [Russia and the West in the Historical Perspective]. In Bol′shakova, A. Yu. (Ed.). Rossiya i Zapad v nachale novogo tysyacheletiya (pp. 11–39). Moscow, Nauka.

McCrum, R. (2001). The Siege Is a Novel for Now : Interview with Helen Dunmore.

In The Guardian, June 10. URL: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2001/jun/10/fiction.features3 (mode of access: 15.09.2015).

Mikhal′skaya, N. P. (2003). Obraz Rossii v angliyskoy khudozhestvennoy literature IX–XIX vekov [The Image of Russia in the English Fiction of the 9th – 19th Centuries]. 132 p. Moscow, Literaturnyy institut im. A. M. Gor′kogo.

Miller, A. D. (2011). Snowdrops. 262 p. N. Y., Doubleday.

Miller A. D. (n. d.). Snowdrops. URL: http://www.admillerbooks.com/book/snowdrops/home (mode of access: 15.09.2015).

O’Connell, J. (n. d.). Snowdrops by A. D. Miller – review. URL: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/jan/01/snowdrops-a-d-miller-review (mode of access: 20.09.2015).

Plunket, R. (1989). Dear, slovenly Mother Moscow. In The New-York Times, May 7.URL: http://www.nytimes.com/1989/05/07/books/dear-slovenly-mother-moscow.html?ref (mode of access: 05.09.2015).

Jauss, H. R. (n. d.). K probleme dialogicheskogo ponimaniya [Question and Answer:Forms of Dialogic Understanding]. URL: http://www.bim-bad.ru/biblioteka/article_full.php?aid=1228 (mode of access: 20.09.2015).




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15826/qr.2016.2.166

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


ISSN 2311-911X (Print)
ISSN 2310-757X (Online)

 

BASE Search eLibrary WorldCat