In Connections and Influence in the Russian and American Short Story, editors Robert C. Hauhart and Jeff Birkenstein have assembled a collection of eighteen original essays written by literary critics from around the globe. Collectively, these critics argue that the reciprocal influence between Russian and American writers is integral to the development of the short story in each country as well as vital to the global status the contemporary short story has attained. This collection provides original analyses of both well-known Russian and American stories as well as some that might be more unfamiliar. Each essay is purposely crafted to display an appreciation of the techniques, subject matter, themes, and approaches that both Russian and American short story writers explored across borders and time. Stories by Gogol, Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Chekhov, and Krzhizhanovsky as well as short stories by Washington Irving, Faulkner, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Ursula Le Guin, Raymond Carver, and Joyce Carol Oates populate this essential, multivalent collection. Perhaps more important now than at any time since the end of the Cold War, these essays will remind readers how much Russian and American culture share, as well as the extent to which their respective literatures are deeply intertwined.
Robert C. Hauhart is professor in the department of society and social justice at Saint Martin’s University.
Jeff Birkenstein is professor of English at Saint Martin’s University.
Chapter 1: Calls from Beyond and Within: A Nonhuman Reading of the Short Stories of Nikolai Gogol and Washington Irving, Naruhiko Mikado
Chapter 2: Empathy and Human Feeling in the Short Stories of O. Henry and Anton Chekhov, Iren Boyarkina
Chapter 3: From Poe to James via Dostoevsky: Cognizing Doppelgangers in American and Russian Short Fiction, Irina Golovacheva
Chapter 4: “Smile and Scream” in the Little Review: Russian Short Fiction and Transatlantic Avantgarde, Maria Krivosheina
Chapter 5: The Resonance of Dostoevsky’s “Bobok” in Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, Sahar J. Al-Keshwan
Chapter 6: Black in the USSR: Langston Hughes, Ivan Turgenev, and the Radical Potential of the Short Story, Laura Ryan
Chapter 7: Composing Thoughts: Reading Daniil Kharms’s Work in the Light of Short Story Collection Theory, Pedro Querido
Chapter 8: Outsiders and Others: Revisiting Richard Wright’s “Underground Man”, Durthy A. Washington
Chapter 9: “The Strange and the Commonplace in One”: Spirituality, Mystery, and the Personal Quest in the Short Fiction of Flannery O’Connor and Anton Chekhov, Frank P. Fury
Chapter 10: Gorky’s Orphans: The Unraveling of Socialist Humanism in Russian and African American Tramp Stories, Kevin Lucas
Chapter 11: Vladimir Nabokov’s American Short Story Surrounded by the Image of Russia: “The Vane Sisters” in Nabokov’s Quartet, Kiyoko Magome
Chapter 12: Existential Quests in the Short Story: Gogol’s “The Overcoat,” Bellow’s “Looking for Mr. Green,” and Cheever’s “The Swimmer”, Robert C. Hauhart
Chapter 13: Divine Beings in Short Stories by Nabokov, Garcia Marquez, and Le Guin: A Secular Reading, Anastasia G. Pease
Chapter 14: Two Ladies, Two Dogs: On Moral Luck and Determinism in Chekhov and Oates, Rossitsa Terzieva-Artemis
Chapter 15: Food, Influence, the Short Story, Anton Chekhov, and Raymond Carver, Jeff Birkenstein
Chapter 16: Heterosexual Fictions: Ivan Turgenev's Fathers and Sons and, Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies, Lucky Issar
Chapter 17: Outsiders, Peasants, and Elderly Exiles in Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge and Olive, Again, Christine Tachick Kern
Chapter 18: Tiny Haunted Empires: Domestic Fabulism in the Home in Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s “Quadraturin” and Kelly Link’s “Stone Animals”, Emrys Donaldson
As this collection of essays so clearly illuminates, when it comes to narrative, especially short narrative, there is more that unites us to the creative Russian mind than divides us. You might not believe that so many writers came out from under Gogol’s overcoat, but this collection will stimulate further consideration of how many writers owe their sophistication and subtlety to Chekhov. Even as the essays accentuate the short story’s unique ability to encourage empathy and depict the lives of marginalized people, they repeatedly remind us that the form’s primary requirement is the demand of close reading. Like the best criticism of the past, these essays will encourage perceptive criticism of the future.