The Odessan Street: A Spatial Paradigm in Russian Literature
The talk is dedicated to the topos of the street in literary texts about Odessa. It discusses the Odessan street drawing on well-known authors such as Aleksandr Pushkin and Vladimir Zhabotinskii, as well as lesser-known writers like Semen Iushkevich, Eduard Bagritskii, and Iurii Olesha. Contextualizing their texts with approaches in urban studies that were developed with reference to Western cities, Prof. Lecke demonstrates Odessa’s unique imagery of public space, arguing that the street provides not only insight into changing perceptions of the self and the individual’s status in public space, but fulfills a significant function in Russia’s symbolic order – indeed, it is the key literary topos used to explore the country’s ethnic diversity.
Mirja Lecke is chair of Slavic Literatures at Ruhr-University, Bochum (Germany). She gained her doctoral degree in Münster with the thesis ‘Narrated Enlightenment. The Polish Novel around 1800’ (published 2002 in Frankfurt under the title ‘Erzählte Aufklärung’). Her academic interests include literary Odessa, Russian-Jewish and Polish-Jewish literatures, Russian literature of the imperial and post-soviet periods in postcolonial perspective, in particular Russian-Georgian, Russian-Polish and Russian-Ukrainian relations as well as the Polish literature of the enlightenment and post-communist eras. Recently (2015) she published a monograph on the Western borderlands in Russian imperial literature: Westland. Polen und die Ukraine in der russischen Literatur von Puškin bis Babel’, vol. 2 of the series ‘Postcolonial Perspectives on Eastern Europe’, which she co–edits with Alfred Gall and Dirk Uffelmann.