Writing Fear: Russian Realism and the Gothic

April 24, 2022

Congratulations to 2019 Wall Scholar Katherine Bowers (Central Eastern Northern European Studies, UBC) on her new book, Writing Fear: Russian Realism and the Gothic, which she wrote while in residence at PWIAS. 

From the description:

In Russia, gothic fiction is often seen as an aside – a literary curiosity that experienced a brief heyday and then disappeared. In fact, its legacy is much more enduringpersisting within later Russian literary movements. Writing Fear explores Russian literature’s engagement with the gothic by analysing the practices of borrowing and adaptation. Katherine Bowers shows how these practices shaped literary realism from its romantic beginnings through the big novels of the 1860s and 1870s to its transformation during the modernist period.

Bowers traces the development of gothic realism with an emphasis on the affective power of fear. She then investigates the hybrid genre’s function in a series of case studies focused on literary texts that address social and political issues such as urban life, the woman question, revolutionary terrorism, and the decline of the family. By mapping the myriad ways political and cultural anxiety take shape via the gothic mode in the age of realism, Writing Fear challenges the conventional literary history of nineteenth-century Russia.

Published by University of Toronto Press.