The talk will investigate links between narrative modes and visions of economy that defined Russian sentimentalism. While in English-language Russianist scholarship social aspects of sentimental fiction have been largely ignored, they occupy a central place both in Soviet-era studies and in contemporary interpretations of English and French sentimentalism. Through a close reading of Karamzin’s classic Poor Liza I will illuminate the constructions of “sentimental commerce” which aligned specific modes of subjectivity and spectatorship with visions of the market, debates on luxury, and analysis of poverty.
Kirill Ospovat is an assistant professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of “Terror and Pity: Aleksandr Sumarokov and the Theater of Power in Elizabethan Russia” (2016) and “Pridvornaia slovesnost’. Institut literatury i konstruktsii absoliutizma v Rossii serediny XVIII veka” (2020). His next book will explore the social aspects of Russian sentimental fiction through close readings of Karamzin, Gogol, and Dostoevsky.
This event will be held virtually as a Zoom meeting.