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Suicide As a Cultural Institution in Dostoevsky's Russia Hardcover – February, 1998

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Editorial Reviews


"As Irina Paperno demonstrates in this fascinating look at Russian fiction, newspaper articles, suicide notes, and medical reports, the act of suicide in 19th century Russia became the source of discussions on immortality, religion, free will, and the relationship between the individual and society, among other topics. . . . Paperno concludes that suicide became a cultural artifact in 19th-century Russian and thus served as a symbol of the age."―Virginia Quarterly Review

"A comprehensive study."―Choice

"As a contribution to Doestoevskii studies, this book will be of primary importance. . . . Irina Paperno has written fruitful book."―The Slavonic Review

"A pathbreaking book. . . . Paperno's research is impeccable, and the information amassed is invaluable."―The Russian Review

"This book will make an important contribution to nineteenth-century Russian studies. It is not for literary scholars alone; by examining suicide as a cultural institution, Paperno brings together the history of medicine, law, literature, and philosophy in a meaningful way."―Slavic Review

"An exciting book. In it Paperno discusses ideas about the meaning of suicide from classical times to the late nineteenth century, when Russia was said to have experienced 'a epidemic of suicides."―A. S. Byatt, The Threepenny Review

"Inspired by the interpretive dilemma of suicide in nineteenth-century Russia, Paperno offers a superb reading of contemporary responses, across genres and philosophical divides. A fascinating view of the symbolic recesses of a culture in transition."―Laura Engelstein, author of The Keys to Happiness: Sex and the Search for Modernity in Fin-de-Siècle Russia --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Language Notes

Text: English, Russian

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 319 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell Univ Pr (February 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801433975
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801433979
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,543,806 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By snowbat on April 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
Suicide is certainly interesting and informative, but it can be slow going at times. It has all the repetitiveness of a five-paragraph essay, and is written in a rickety academic prose. By which I unfortunately do not mean that it's abstruse or deeply complex. In other words: not an artistic tour-de-force. Also, don't look to this book as a way of understanding suicide, which is out of its scope to explain. But, like a good workhorse, the book gets the job done, and does succeed in tying a great number of facts and sources together. If you're interested in Dostoevsky's religious convictions, or the society in which he was writing, this is a wonderfully intruiging book.
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