Self-conscious realism: metafiction and the nineteenth-century Russian novel

Margarita Vaysman

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Does metafiction – the literary technique that forces readers to acknowledge they are reading a work of fiction – have a hidden past? Margarita Vaysman’s insightful study establishes metafiction as an inherent part of the entire Russian novelistic tradition, not merely existing but thriving in the nineteenth century. Practised by writers of often disparate ideological persuasions, metafiction was a creative answer to the period’s twin preoccupations with politics and aesthetics. In Self-Conscious Realism, Vaysman examines metafiction’s complex correlation with Russian realism in three novels from across the ideological spectrum of the 1860s: What Is To Be Done? (1863) by the famous political radical Nikolai Chernyshevskii, Troubled Seas (1863) by the forgotten reactionary conservative Alexei Pisemskii, and Woman’s Lot (1862) by Avdotia Panaeva, a female writer struggling for professional recognition. These case studies are richly contextualized by the writers’ diaries, letters, and memoirs, as well as official legal and financial sources.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherLegenda, an imprint of Modern Humanities Research Association and Maney Publishing
Number of pages160
ISBN (Electronic)9781781883891
ISBN (Print)9781781883839, 9781781883860
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2021

Publication series

NameLegenda general series


  • Russian
  • Fiction
  • Metafiction
  • Realism
  • Gender


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