Eros and Pornography in Russian Culture.

Author:Owens, Annette Fuglsang
Position:Book review

Eros and Pornography in Russian Culture. Edited by Marcus C. Levitt and Andrei L. Toporkov. In the Series "Russkaia potaennaia literatura." Ladomir Publishers, Moscow, 1999. 700 pages; 39 color illustrations, 165 b/w illustrations. ISBN 5-86218-177-6. $25 (plus $3 postage and handling and taxes if applicable). Hard cover.

Available from:

Prof. Marcus C. Levitt

Department of Slavic Languages

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA 90089-4353


Thirty-one authors contributed to this volume, which compiles papers originally presented at the "Conference on Russian Pornography," held at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles in 1998. Editors are Dr. Marcus C. Levitt and Dr. Andrei L.Toporkov. Dr. Levitt is professor of Russian Literature at the University of Southern California, and the author and editor of several books related to Russian literature. He has written many articles on 18th and 19th century Russian literature and is currently working on a book about the visual arts under Catherine the Great. Dr. Andrei L. Toporkov, doctor [PhD] of philology, is a leading researcher at the Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and professor at the Russian State Humanities University. He specializes in Slavic folklore, ethnography, and the history of Russian literature. He is the author of the books: "The Origins of Etiquette: Ethnographic Essays" (1990, with A. K. Baiburin), "The Theory of Myth in Russian Literary Scholarship of the 19th Century" (1997), and he has edited a whole series of books.

The other contributors include professors in Russian and Slavic languages, literature, history, and political science, and librarians from Russia, Europe, and the United States. The wide field of expertise represented by these contributors is reflected in the book, which covers topics from early Russian literature to political and social developments in the former Soviet Union.

Why a book on Russian pornography?

Since glasnost and the political changes in Russia over the past few years, strict censorship has been replaced with free speech, allowing pornographic literature to appear in public. Not only has contemporary pornography become a new freedom, past Russian erotic literature, hidden away for decades, has been revealed. This volume is part of the series "Russian Forbidden Literature," shedding light on previously inaccessible literature.

Several chapters in "Eros and Pornography...

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