Fantastic elements in Russian literature
The fantastic in literature reveals facets of reality otherwise hidden from us. Sometimes even the most accurate realistic descriptions are not capable of showing the reality as clearly as fantasy does.
The project aims at providing new, interdisciplinary approaches to the fantastic in Russian literature. It questions the relationship between the literary concepts of fantastic and mimetic that have for a long time formed a basis for the perception of literature. This will be done by analyzing the manifestations of fantastic elements in different literary genres and the linguistic markers of the fantastic, as well as studying the reception of the fantastic and the uses of the fantastic in both legitimizing and subverting the existing sociopolitical order.
Previous studies of the fantastic in Russian literature have focused on fantasy in the works of individual authors or in specific genres. The current project provides a broader view of the fantastic as both a literary and a sociocultural phenomenon. We aim to develop an interdisciplinary set of instruments to redefine the dominant paradigm and present new semantics of the “possible worlds” in Russian culture of the last two centuries. The analysis of texts from a cognitive linguistic point of view offers new methodological equipment for the traditional theory of comparative literature.
A key factor in the success of the project will be the cooperation with our Russian partners. The project intends to close the gap between the Western and Russian traditions in the study of the fantastic, which have developed in relative isolation from each other. In particular, Russian studies of the fantastic are virtually unknown beyond the borders of Russia. Seminars and researcher visits provide an excellent basis for collaboration between scholars from the University of Turku, Åbo Akademi, Hong Kong Baptist University, Beijing University, and Petrozavodsk State University.