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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Narrating the Self in the Mass Age : Olha Kobylianska in the European Fin-de-Siècle and Its Aftermath, 1886-1936

  • Author(s): Ladygina, Yuliya Volodymyrivna
  • et al.

This dissertation focuses on the literary oeuvre of Olha Kobylianska (1863-1942) - one of the most sophisticated Ukrainian prose writers in contemporary Ukrainian literature, and one of the most paradoxical intellectuals in the European fin-de-siècle, who started as a German- language writer, but eventually devoted her life's work to modernizing Ukrainian literature. The study investigates the complex evolution and the dialogical nature of the multiplicity of socio-political discourses - particularly feminism, populism, socialism, Nietzscheanism, elitism, Marxism, Bolshevism, nationalism, and Fascism - in Kobylianska's writings. Building upon contemporary literary and social theories - in particular, works by Freud, Bakhtin, Hroch, and Hermans - this dissertation argues that Kobylianska's complex dialogue with the diverse socio-cultural and political movements that sprang up in Europe at the turn of the twentieth century is representative of her socio-historical milieu. By placing Kobylianska's writings within the matrix of the European fin-de-siècle and interwar period, the study thus not only re-defines Kobylianska's engagement with the political, social, artistic, and philosophical contexts of her tumultuous times, but also provides insight into the struggle of the fin-de-siècle generation of European intellectuals to articulate and assert an individual voice amidst the multiplicity of mass ideologies of their time

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