This book brings together twenty five years of essays and reviews, linked loosely by three themes. First is the creative potential inherent in transposing classic literary texts into other genres or media (operatic, dramatic) and the responsibilities, if any, that govern the transposer, audience, and critic. The practice of transposition, however, gives rise to a creative conflict: is there a limit to the amount of ornamentation, pressure, or dilution to which the 'mediated' word can be subject? Finally, the more polemical of the essays included here are structured on the Bakhtinian notion of co-existing 'plausibilities' and points of view. What a carnival approach can uncover in Pushkin that might have surprised and even pleased the poet, what a libretto or play script brings out that the 'true original' hides: here the work of the creator and the critic can overlap in thrilling ways that respect the competencies of each. This title includes an original Preface written by renowned Slavic scholar, David Bethea.
"Carly Emerson's new volume is an extremely valuable retrospective of the rich career of a distinguished scholar....The title of the book clearly suggests the main idea of the volume: "Words do not go away." One can add that ideas do not go away, either. As soon as they find their place on paper and leave their author for the vast and open world of readership, they stop their monologic existence and become a part of a dialogue that never ceases. By composing and publishing this collection Academic Studies Press allows a new generation of readers, students, and established scholars to engage in this endless dialogue with a new energy and new interest, and to prove that great ideas are always alive."--Marina Aptekman, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
"If ever there was a writer whose words should never be allowed to go away it is Caryl Emerson, our most precious musicoliterary bridge builder. Having these words collected is like having a party with all your best friends."--Richard Taruskin, University of California at Berkeley
"This collection illustrates both the astonishing breadth of Caryl Emerson's interests, and also her ability to return again and again to the same texts from different perspectives. There is no one writing today in the field of Russian culture more sensitive to its various voices than Emerson. She has an unparalleled ability to listen to her authors - literary, musical, scholarly, and theoretical - and report what they are up to."--Donna Orwin, University of Toronto
"For many years Caryl Emerson has been recognized as America's best -- most versatile, profound, and energetic -- scholar of Russian literary and musical culture. Her contributions to our understanding of Russian masterpieces have ranged from utterly accurate translations, to scrupulously fair reviews, to performances, to provocative essays, to rigorously researched and argued volumes. This volume, which should be read cover-to-cover, captures this exceptional range with sections on major Russian thinkers, writers and performers. I can imagine no better guide to Russian culture than these unfailingly fresh, insightful, and engaging essays."--William Mills Todd III, Harvard University
"Prefaced by David Bethea, a leading authority on poet Aleksandr Pushkin, this book is divided into three sections. The first section, "On Mikhail Bakhtin (Dialogue, Carnival, the Bakhtin Wars)," reiterates several key ideas of Bakhtin, whom Emerson (Princeton) helped bring to Anglophone readers. In exploring Bakhtinian terms such as "polyphony," "dialogue," and "carnival," the author asserts that these are not as universal as some poststructuralists would believe. The volume's second section examines the "master workers," Pushkin, Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy. As occurs throughout the book, Emerson juxtaposes her own viewpoints with those of others, e.g., Milan Kundera. The book's final section deals with musical adaptations of the Russian literary classics, with a special focus on Pushkin's Eugene Onegin and his brilliant yet notoriously problematic play Boris Godunov. Although nonspecialists may wish for more plot summary, this collection provides engaging material for those interested in Bakhtinian theory, 19th-century literature, or the musical stage. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals; general readers."--B. M. Sutcliffe, Miami University, CHOICE (July 2011)