Northern Illinois University Press

Editing Turgenev, Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy

Mikhail Katkov and the Great Russian Novel

Susanne Fusso

“Fusso’s book concentrates on a man who played a very central role in the evaluation and publishing of some of the world’s greatest and most influential novels. Katkov’s wide reputation tended to picture him as a dyed-in-the-wool political reactionary. Fusso writes to correct this conventional notion. This is a truly significant contribution to the fields of literature and history.” —Irwin Weil, author of From the Cincinnati Reds to the Moscow Reds

Fathers and Sons by Turgenev. Anna Karenina by Tolstoy. Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky. These are a few of the great works of Russian prose that first appeared in the Russian Herald, a journal founded and edited by Mikhail Katkov. Yet because of his conservative politics and intrusive editing practices, Katkov has been either ignored or demonized by scholars in both Russia and the West. In Putin’s Russia, he is now being hailed as the “savior of the fatherland” due to his aggressive Russian nationalism. In Editing Turgenev, Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy, Susanne Fusso examines Katkov’s literary career without vilification or canonization, focusing on the ways in which his nationalism fueled his drive to create a canon of Russian literature and support its recognition around the world.

In each chapter, Fusso considers Katkov’s relationship with a major Russian literary figure. In addition to Turgenev, Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy, she explores Katkov’s interactions with Vissarion Belinsky, Evgeniia Tur, and the legacy of Aleksandr Pushkin. As a writer of articles and editorials, Katkov presented a clear program for Russian literature: to affirm the political and historical importance of the Russian nationality as expressed through its language. As a powerful and entrepreneurial publisher, he also sought, encouraged, and paid for the writing of the works that were to embody that program, the works we now recognize as among the greatest achievements of Russian literature. This groundbreaking study will fascinate scholars, students, and general readers interested in Russian literature and literary history.

September 2017 309 pp., 6x9
ISBN 978-0-87580-766-9
$45.00x Cloth

Susanne Fusso is professor of Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies at Wesleyan University. She is interested in the 19th-century Russian novel, poetry of the 19th to 21st centuries, and translation. Her books include Designing Dead Souls: An Anatomy of Disorder in Gogol and Discovering Sexuality in Dostoevsky. She recently published a translation of Trepanation of the Skull (NIU Press 2014), an autobiographical novel by Sergey Gandlevsky, a prize-winning Russian poet.

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ISBN: 9780875807669
cloth $45.00