New mothers for a new era? Images of mothers and daughters in post-Soviet prose

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Abstract

Although feminists in the West have played a major part in the rediscovery of women writers in Russia, and since glasnost women’s writing has flourished more in Russia than in any other cultural period, there have still been relatively few studies focusing specifically on the representation of mothers in Russian culture. Moreover, the comparative absence of the theme of mothers and daughters in Russian literature reflects the suppression of the feminine in Russian culture as a whole. The absence of a female genealogy is particularly evident in Russian literature, which has devoted considerable attention to “fathers and sons”: the relations between male generations of intellectuals, and their interaction with the state. The aim of this paper is to show that relationships between mothers and daughters – largely ignored in women’s writings of the Soviet period – constitute a significant theme in the writings of contemporary women writers in post-Soviet Russia, as in Western Europe. While only relatively few Russian women writers have been directly influenced by feminist writings, some contemporary works depict fascinating mother-daughter relationships that can be illuminated by recent feminist and psychoanalytical theories on maternity published in the West.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1191-1219
Number of pages29
JournalModern Language Review (MLR)
Volume107
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012

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