True to its theme, Jillian Porter’s book is a work of great ambition. This volume proposes a new periodization of Russian literature of the 1830s and 1840s and brings new theoretical tools to bear on some of the most closely studied works of these years. Drawing on the history of emotions and New Economic Criticism, Porter examines the works of Aleksandr Pushkin, Nikolai Gogol, and Fedor Dostoevsky in terms of early nineteenth-century psychiatric discourse, narratives about the Russian national character, and the history of Russian money. The resulting study brims with fascinating insights that simultaneously demonstrate the explanatory power of new theoretical frameworks and the enduring capacity of the Russian canon to yield new ways of thinking about history and modernity.

Porter makes a compelling case for treating the reign of Nicholas I (1825–55) as a coherent period in the history of...

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