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Two Double Lives: 1848 novels by Karolina Pavlova and Narcyza Żmichowska and the Emergence of Sapphic Modernism in the Territories of the Russian Empire (with Anna Dżabagina and Discussant Julia Mannherz)

Join us for another 19v seminar! In 1848, Karolina Pavlova published one of her most important works, the novel A Double Life (Двойная жизнь). At roughly the same time, Polish...

Join us for another 19v seminar!

In 1848, Karolina Pavlova published one of her most important works, the novel A Double Life (Двойная жизнь). At roughly the same time, Polish writer Narcyza Żmichowska wrote a manuscript under the same title (Dwoiste życie). It was a draft for a novel that she allegedly lost. After a decade, Żmichowska tried to reconstruct her text, resulting in the novel White Rose (Biała Róza), published in 1858 and probably the first novel to openly hint at and encode female same-sex attraction in Polish literature. In the novel's first draft, presumably “lost” and rediscovered in the interwar period, the theme of lesbian love is even more explicit. This talk will examines the potential influence of Karolina Pavlova on the Polish author. It would appear to be more than a coincidence that both writers simultaneously came up with the same title for their novels, which both investigate similar issues of women's fate in a patriarchal society. The fact that Pavlova later became a prominent figure in the Silver Age for women writers who were creating Sapphic literature in Russia is equally important. In my talk, I compare these two "Double Lives" and place them on the timeline of the emergence of Sapphic modernism in the territories of the Russian Empire. The contextual factor of the intrinsically tense relations between Russian and Polish cultures helps to explain explaining the absence of any prior comparison of these two works in literary research.

This event will be hosted virtually as a Zoom meeting

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