Although metafiction has been the subject of much critical and theoretical writing, this is the first full-length study of its place in Soviet literature. Focusing on metafictional works by Leonid Leonov, Marietta Shaginyan, Konstantin Vaginov, and Veniamin Kaverin, it examines, within a broadly Bakhtinian theoretical framework, the relationship between their self-consciousness and their cultural and political context. The texts are shown to
challenge notions about the nature and function of literature fundamental to both Soviet and Anglo-American criticism. In particular, although metafictional strategies may seem designed to confirm assumptions about the aesthetic autonomy of the literary text, their effect is to reveal the
shortcomings of such assumptions. The texts discussed take us beyond conventional understandings of metafiction by highlighting the need for a theoretically informed account of the history and reception of Soviet literature in which the inescapability of politics and ideology is no longer acknowledged grudgingly, but is instead celebrated.
'His use of several of the ideas of Mikhail Bakhtin is very productive ... The bibliography, notes and translations of important quotations (which are usually, and most conveniently, followed immediately by the Russian originals) are excellent.'
Martin Dewhurst, University of Glasgow, Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 46, No. 1, 1994
'a pioneering study in Russian literature and in the critical theory of Russian literary studies'
Angela Livingstone, University of Essex, The Slavonic Review
'Completed in 1990 as a dissertation, it neatly transgresses the pitfalls of a professional academic jargon and in simple terms discusses four Russioan writer ... his book introduces to Western criticism a group of writers and their works hitherto hardly ever mentioned by critics and scholars in non-Russian studies.'
Jerzy R. Krzyzanowski, World Literature Today. Winter 1994 issue.
'The study's strength lies in its focus on the reflexive experimentation which flowered during the 1920s, only to be cut back during later and more conservative decades.'
Sally dalton-Brown, Exeter. Irish Slavonic Studies 14 (1993)
`An extensive and very useful bibliography covers all the general and specific topics found in the book...a very promising indication of the author's scholarly potential. It is imaginatively conceived, well-researched, and energetically written...This book has, as David Shepherd hoped it would, `allowed the outlines of a new and richer history to be glimpsed'.'
Modern Language Review 90.1
`'...His use of several of the ideas of Mikhan Bakhtin is very productive,...and those requiring an introduction to this stimulating Russian thinker should look him up in the index. The bibilogrpahy, notes and translations of important quotations (which are usually, and most conveniently, followed immediately by the Russian originals) are excellent...''
Euroepe-Asia Studies, Vol.46, No.1,