In her journey through the greatest monuments of 19th- and early 20th-century Russian literature, as well as through lesser-known works from women and regional writers, Anne Lounsbery
(Professor and Chair of the Department of Russian and Slavic Studies at New York University) investigates the long-standing trope of the “provinces” – an imaginary space of static non-modernity where time stands still and where residents nurse an inferiority complex vis-à-vis the capitals of the Empire. In this conversation about her 2019 monograph Life is Elsewhere: Symbolic Geography in the Russian Provinces
(Northern Illinois University Press, 2019).
Dr. Lounsbery discusses how the provincial space and person evolved in 19th-century literary culture, how it became a topic of fascination for scores of writers, how the literary provincial space differed from its reality, and how Russian literary explorers of this space related to their Western European counterparts.
Diana Dukhanova is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Slavic Studies at Brown University in Providence, RI.