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Description - Phantasms of Matter by Michal Oklot

An investigation into the problem of writing about matter in Nikolai Gogol's work and, indirectly, into the entire Neoplatonic tradition in Russian literature, this book is not intended to be an exhaustive historical survey of the concept of matter, but rather an effort to enumerate the images of matter in Gogol's texts and to specify the rules of their construction. The trajectory of the book is directed by movement from Gogol to Gogol. Its major assumption is that Gogol successfully develops a language for grasping the Neoplatonic concept of matter and subsequently rejects it, abandoning literature. Since then, the Gogolian form [sic!] of the image of a sheer negation of form has recurred frequently in Russian literature. Yet the direction of the movement is always towards Gogol. Somewhere at the margin of this circular trajectory, one can inscribe a Polish writer, Witold Gombrowicz, who established, one hundred years later, a similar rhythm governing Polish literature: from Gombrowicz to Gombrowicz.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781564784940
ISBN-10: 1564784940
Format: Hardback
(229mm x 155mm x 27mm)
Pages: 500
Imprint: Dalkey Archive Press
Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
Publish Date: 1-Jan-2009
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Michal Oklot

Michal Oklot holds his Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Northwestern University. His research interests are in Russian and Polish modernism, and he has published widely on nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature, with contributions on Gogol, Chekhov, Rozanov, Shestov, Schulz, and Gombrowicz. His current work specificies a tradition of Russian literature and speculative thought which offers alternative conceptions of materialism and matter. His book, Phantasms of Matter in Gogol (and Gombrowicz), was published by Dalkey Archive Press in 2009. Prior to coming to Brown he taught at University of Wisconsin-Madison (Slavic), the American University in Cairo (Comparative and English Literature), and the University of Warsaw (Sociology).