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A Reader's Guide to Andrei Bely's Petersburg
Edited by Leonid Livak

“The fifteen distinguished contributors do more than elucidate a world-class novel. They provide capsule courses on a spectrum of topics that mattered deeply to Andrei Bely but are obscure to many readers today: anthroposophy, neoKantianism, 'life-creation,' racial thinking, political terrorism. A path-breaking literary portal.”
—Caryl Emerson, Princeton University

Andrei Bely's 1913 masterwork Petersburg is widely regarded as the most important Russian novel of the twentieth century. Vladimir Nabokov ranked it with James Joyce's Ulysses, Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis, and Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time. Few artistic works created before the First World War encapsulate and articulate the sensibility, ideas, phobias, and aspirations of Russian and transnational modernism as comprehensively.

Bely expected his audience to participate in unraveling the work's many meanings, narrative strains, and patterns of details. In their essays, the contributors clarify these complexities, summarize the intellectual and artistic contexts that informed Petersburg's creation and reception, and review the interpretive possibilities contained in the novel. This volume will aid a broad audience of Anglophone readers in understanding and appreciating Petersburg.


Leonid Livak Leonid Livak is a professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and the Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Russian Émigrés in the Intellectual and Literary Life of Interwar France, The Jewish Persona in the European Imagination, and How It Was Done in Paris: Russian Émigré Literature and French Modernism.




“Succeeds in making a challenging modernist novel more accessible to nonspecialists. Students and fans of Bely's work at every level will appreciate this fine and informative critical companion to Petersburg.”
—Emily Johnson, author of How St. Petersburg Learned to Study Itself


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A Reader's Guide to Andrei Bely's Petersburg

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December 2018
LC: 2018011399 PG
248 pp. 6 x 9
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Casebound $79.95
ISBN 9780299319304
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