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University of Pittsburgh Press
Other Animals: Beyond the Human in Russian Culture and History

Other Animals: Beyond the Human in Russian Culture and History

by Jane Costlow, Amy NelsonJane Costlow
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The lives of animals in Russia are intrinsically linked to cultural, political and psychological transformations of the Imperial, Soviet, and post-Soviet eras. Other Animals examines the interaction of animals and humans in Russian literature, art, and life from the eighteenth century until the present. The chapters probe a range of human-animal relationships through tales of cruelty, interspecies communion and compassion, and efforts to either overcome or establish the human-animal divide. These essays also explore the unique nature of the Russian experience in this regard.  

Four themes run through the volume: the prevalence of animals in utopian visions; the ways in which Russians have both incorporated and sometimes challenged Western sensibilities and practices, such as the humane treatment of animals and the inclusion of animals in urban domestic life; the quest to identify and at times exploit the physiological basis of human and animal behavior and the ideological implications of these practices; and the breakdown of traditional human-animal hierarchies and categories during times of revolutionary upheaval, social transformation, or disintegration.

From failed Soviet attempts to transplant the semi-nomadic Sami and their reindeer herds onto collective farms, to performance artist Oleg Kulik’s scandalous portrayal of Pavlov’s dogs as a parody of the Soviet “new man,” to novelist Tatyana Tolstaya’s post-cataclysmic future world of hybrid animal species and their disaffection from the past, Other Animals presents a completely new perspective on Russian and Soviet history. It also offers a fascinating look into the Russian psyche as seen through human interactions with animals.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780822960638
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
Publication date: 08/28/2010
Series: Pitt Russian East European Series
Edition description: 1
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Jane Costlow is professor of Russian language and literature at Bates College in Maine and is coeditor of Sexuality and the Body in Russian Culture.

Table of Contents

Foreword Nigel Rothfels ix

Acknowledgments xiii

1 Introduction: Integrating the Animal Jane Costlow Amy Nelson 1

Part I Traditional Worlds and Everyday Life 17

2 Woman's Honor, or the Story with a Pig: The Animal in Everyday Life in the Eighteenth-century Russian Provinces Olga E. Glagoleva 21

3 Treating the "Other Animals": Russian Ethnoveterinary Practices in the Context of Folk Medicine Mikhail Alekseevsky 42

Part II Contradictions of Imperial Russia 59

4 That Savage Gaze: The Contested Portrayal of Wolves in Nineteenth-century Russia Ian M. Helfant 63

5 "For the bear to come to your threshold": Human-Bear Encounters in Late Imperial Russian Writing Jane Costlow 77

6 The Body of the Beast: Animal Protection and Anticruelty Legislation in Imperial Russia Amy Nelson 95

Part III Real and Symbolic Animals in the Soviet Project 113

7 Making Reindeer Soviet: The Appropriation of an Animal on the Kola Peninsula Andy Bruno 117

8 The Animal Mayakovsky Katherine Lahti 138

9 A Legacy of Kindness: V.L. Durov's Revolutionary Approach to Animal Training Ann Kleimola 164

10 Of Men and Horses: Animal Imagery and the Construction of Russian Masculinities Arja Rosenholm 178

Part IV Boundary Work: Late-Soviet and Post-Soviet "Humanimals" 195

11 Life of Ferret and the "Manimal" in Post-Soviet Literature José Alaniz 199

12 The Animal Watches You: Identity "After" History in Tatyana Tolstaya's The Slynx Daria Kabanova 219

13 The Human Dog Oleg Kulik: Grotesque Post-Soviet Animalistic Performances Gesine Drews-Sylla 234

Notes 253

Contributors 305

Index 309

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