Christo Manolakev

“Choice” and “Responsibility” – The Modern Liberal Project of XVIII Century and “Female Suicide” in Russian Literature



The paper studies the constituting European liberal project “choice” and “responsibility” in 18-th century Russian Literature through the problem of female death, as been referenciated in N. M. Karamzin’s short novel “Poor Liza”. The heroine’s suicide is interpreted in the author’s complex intertextual dialogue with such emblematic novel as Richardson’s “Clarissa Harlowe”, Russo’s “Julie, ou La Nouvelle Héloïse”, Goethe’s “Die Leiden des jungen Werther”; “Poor Liza” is an important part of this European context and is seen as one of the first Russian’s “European” literary works, as far as Karamzin changes in that dialogue the code of female suffering. The suicide (interpreted as a gender opposition between women and men) transforms the sign of female body from a victim into a moral victor.


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