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Slavic Sins of the Flesh
Food, Sex, and Carnal Appetite in Nineteenth-Century Russian Fiction
Ronald D. LeBlanc

Available only as an ebook.

Becoming Modern: New Nineteenth-Century Studies

New Hampshire
2009 • 356 pp. 6 x 9"
Literary Criticism / Literary Criticism - Slavic

$34.99 Ebook, 978-1-58465-824-5

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

In this interesting study, LeBlanc explores the role of food as a symbol of pleasure and power in the works of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and other 19th century Russian writers . . . Evidencing... [continued in Reviews below]”—Choice

A pathbreaking “gastrocritical” approach to the poetics of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and their contemporaries

This remarkable work by Ronald D. LeBlanc is the first study to appraise the representation of food and sexuality in the nineteenth-century Russian novel. Meticulously researched and elegantly and accessibly written, Slavic Sins of the Flesh sheds new light on classic literary creations as it examines how authors Nikolay Gogol, Ivan Goncharov, Grigorii Kvitka-Osnovyanenko, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Lev Tolstoy used eating in their works as a trope for male sexual desire. The treatment of carnal desire in these renowned works of fiction stimulated a generation of young writers to challenge Russian culture’s anti-eroticism, supreme spirituality, and utter disregard for the life of the body, so firmly rooted in centuries of ideological domination by the Orthodox Church.

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Reviews / Endorsements

“In this interesting study, LeBlanc explores the role of food as a symbol of pleasure and power in the works of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and other 19th century Russian writers . . . Evidencing LeBlanc’s impressive knowledge of French literature, this superbly researched, well-written study deserves a wide audience . . . Highly recommended.”Choice

“Thorough and fascinating. . . . LeBlanc skillfully weaves together the repressive influence of the Russian Orthodox Church, the views of the Slavophiles and Westernizers, and the impact of the Russian revolutionary thinkers on the Russian mentality and on the depiction of food and sex in their national literature. . . . An invaluable resource.”

“Well-written, lively, and provocative, the volume satisfies a third kind of appetite, the intellectual.”Slavic and East European Journal

“With this book Ronald LeBlanc gives us a careful consideration of the languages of appetite in Russian writing, moving elegantly from particular texts to broader political and cultural implications. While the book begins with nostalgically-rendered scenes of abundance in early nineteenth century writing, its scope broadens considerably, moving through texts by Dostoevsky and Tolstoy and their fin-de-siecle inheritors, on into the early Soviet and post-Soviet periods.”Russian Review

Slavic Sins of the Flesh is an important and welcome contribution to Russian literary and cultural studies. It will be of interest to both specialists in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Russian literature and culture and other literary scholars working on representations of food and sexuality. Since it ultimately raises the question of human nature and the role of carnal appetites, it will also appeal to anthropologists. Lucidly written, carefully edited, and beautifully published, this is a pleasurable (pun unintended) and rewarding read.”Slavic Review

Slavic Sins of the Flesh offers a magisterial new reading of the Russian classics. It not only illuminates the great works of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy but also tackles larger, underlying questions of Russian culture. By analyzing representations of power and pleasure in texts both familiar and obscure, LeBlanc explores the ideals that shaped Russian society. This book is a triumph of scholarship and innovation.”Darra Goldstein, Francis Christopher Oakley Third Century Professor of Russian, Williams College, and Editor in Chief of Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture

“Ronald LeBlanc has written a marvelous study of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy from the perspective of ‘gastro-criticism.’ His comparison of the alimentary and psycho-sexual dynamics in their works leads to an intriguing analysis of their influences on early twentieth-century Russian and Soviet literature. A book to be both tasted and devoured by all readers interested in the Russian novel and early Soviet fiction.”Eric Naiman, Departments of Slavic and Comparative Literature, University of California, Berkeley

Slavic Sins of the Flesh constitutes a breath-taking and pioneering application of gastrocriticism to Russian and Ukrainian prose of the nineteenth century. By going to great lengths to enlighten us about the two giants, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, LeBlanc speaks to the overarching issue of the development of the narrative genre in the nineteenth century. This book will be hailed by scholars in Russian literature and of wide interest to specialists in comparative literature, students of the body in fiction, and the growing number of those who are passionate about the culinary in culture.”—Ronald W. Tobin, University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of Tarte à la Crème: Comedy and Gastronomy in the Theater of Molière

RONALD D. LEBLANC is Professor of Russian and Humanities at the University of New Hampshire and Research Associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. He is the author of The Russianization of Gil Blas: A Study in Literary Appropriation and many scholarly book chapters, articles, and book reviews.

Tue, 15 May 2018 13:02:48 -0500