The University of Wisconsin Press

Literature & Criticism / Slavic Studies


Plotting History
The Russian Historical Novel in the Imperial Age
Dan Ungurianu

A sweeping and insightful new look at the Russian historical novel

Balanced precariously between fact and fiction, the historical novel is often viewed with suspicion. Some have attacked it as a mongrel form, a "bastard son" born of "history's flagrant adultery with imagination." Yet it includes some of the most celebrated achievements of Russian literature, with Alexander Pushkin, Nikolai Gogol, Leo Tolstoy, and scores of other writers contributing to this tradition.

Dan Ungurianu's Plotting History traces the development of the Russian historical novel from its inception in the romantic era to the emergence of Modernism on the eve of the Revolution. Organized historically and thematically, the study is focused on the cultural paradigms that shaped the evolution of the genre and are reflected in masterpieces such as The Captain's Daughter and War and Peace. Ungurianu examines the variety of approaches by which writers combined fact with fiction and explores the range of subjects that inspired the Russian historical imagination.

"This is a book of the first importance. The spade work that Ungurianu has done on hundreds of Russian historical novels allows him to describe trends and developments of the genre with unprecedented authority."–Vladimir E. Alexandrov, Yale University

Dan Ungurianu is associate professor of Russian studies at Vassar College.

  • Includes a comprehensive bibliography and an index of thematic content for Russian historical novels published from 1829 to 1917.

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The cover of Plotting History is a collage of printed images about Russia.

December 2007

352 pp. 6 x 9
28 b/w illus., 3 charts, 2 tables

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Cloth $65.00 s
ISBN 978-0-299-22500-1
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