Visual play in Russian gothic literature : epistemological quests in 1793-1840
- Visual Play in Russia Gothic Literature: Epistemological Quests in 1793--1840 Jiyoung Hong This dissertation explores the intersections between Russian Gothic aesthetics and visual technology, tracing how late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth-century Russian poets and writers posed epistemological questions and demonstrated the establishment of a subjective vision. These authors created visual play inspired by Gothic aesthetics during a period when they rapidly imported enhanced lighting technologies and new visual devices. I analyze Gothic works by Nikolai Karamzin (1766--1826), Vasily Zhukovsky (1783--1852), Nikolai Gogol (1809--1852), and Vladimir Odoevsky (1804--1869), all of whom associated the transformation of characters' visual perception with the ongoing development of visual technologies: "Chinese shadow" shows, magic lanterns, cosmoramas, and new forms of street lighting. I discuss this problem of vision in the Russian Gothic literature in which characters search in unknown, dark spaces for the hidden truths; they have blurred or confused vision. In this regard, I explore how the Russian Gothic poses an epistemological question that is rarely dealt with in scholarship, focusing on how the authors understand Plato's allegory of the cave, which describes prisoners who see only the shadows on the wall projected by a bonfire; their visual perception is inaccurate. By interpreting visual technologies as a Gothic tool used to invite characters into darkness and to make a projection of a Gothic world, I examine how the authors reproduce Plato's cave in their Gothic works. I argue that these writers contributed to showing the epistemological development of Russian characters by situating them in various types of "caves," where the boundary between reality and fantasy is blurred. My project sheds new light on late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth-century Russia by defining the period as simultaneously a time of the development of visual technologies and a time of subjective vision. In literature, the Russian Gothic took on the role of articulating not only the questioning of vision but the formation of a new subjectivity.
|Type of resource
|electronic resource; remote; computer; online resource
|1 online resource.
|Degree committee member
|Degree committee member
|Stanford University, School of Humanities and Sciences
|Stanford University, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
|Statement of responsibility
|Submitted to the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.
|Thesis Ph.D. Stanford University 2023.
- © 2023 by Jiyoung Hong
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (CC BY).
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