Synopses & Reviews
"This release is an important contribution to the literary discourse about women's lives, sexuality, politics and popular culture in early 20th-century Russia." --Publishers Weekly
One of the most sensationally popular and influential of all pre-Revolutionary novels, Keys to Happiness is set against a panorama of Russian society on the eve of World War I. It tells the stormy tale of Manya Yeltsova, a Russian "new woman" who pursues her dreams and passions as a dancer and free spirit who captivates, among others, a Jewish socialist tycoon and a reactionary Russian nobleman. At the time of its publication, the novel crossed the boundaries of both gender and class to define a new type of literature in Russian society. The editors' informative introduction places the novel within its cultural, political, and social context and makes clear for today's readers its literary and historical importance.
Holmgren and Goscilo provide a valuable backward glance and new point of reference for the recent revision of Russian literary history in the form of a serviceable translation of Verbitskaia's blockbuster novel of the early 1900s. Few prose works by women from this period have been translated, making this book a precious contribution. The act of translation provides a counterbalance to decisions made during the communist period, when bourgeois and decadent versions of art were exterminated and ordinary readers were deprived of any knowledge of many important steps in literary evolution. Furthermore, the prevailing, highly politicized opinion of Verbitskaia's prerevolutionary writing, focusing on the progress toward political correctness, has been recently redressed, yielding an important chance for revisiting her works. Like Laura Engelstein (who turns to the same title in The Keys to Happiness: Sex and the Search for Modernity in Fin--de--Siecle Russia, CH, May'93), Holmgren and Goscilo turned to Verbitskaia to explore the basis of commercial success in work by a woman writer, as well as to a tale (in Engelstein's words) celebrating the power of sexual desire, which the editors affirm in their introduction. This book will serve many audiences, from undergraduates and general readers through faculty.C. Tomei, Columbia University, Choice, February 2002
"Holmgren and Goscilo provide a valuable backward glance and new point of reference for the recent revision of Russian literary history in the form of a serviceable translation of Verbitskaia's blockbuster novel of the early 1900s.... This book will serve many audiences, from undergraduates and general readers through faculty." --Choice, February 2002 Indiana University Press Indiana University Press
About the Author
AnastasYa VerbitskaYa (1861-1928) earned her reputation as the creator of the modern bestseller in Russia. Her other works include Discord and The Yoke of Love.
Beth Holmgren is Associate Professor of Slavic Literatures at the University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill. She is author of Women's Works in Stalin's Time: On Lidiia Chukovskaia and Nadezhda Mandelstam and Rewriting Capitalism: Literature and the Market in Late Tsarist Russia and the Kingdom of Poland and coeditor (with Helena Goscilo) of Russia-Women-Culture.
Helena Goscilo is Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh. Her most recent publications include Skirted Issues: The Discreteness and Indiscretions of Russian Women's Prose, TNT: The Explosive World of Tatyana Tolstaya's Fiction, and Dehexing Sex: Russian Womanhood during and after Glasnost.
Table of Contents
The Keys to Happiness