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6. Spectral Geographies in Russian Émigré Prose: The Cases of Petr Krasnov and Georgii Peskov

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Chapter Summary

This chapter borrows Svetlana Boym's categories of restorative and reflective nostalgia to discuss fiction by two relatively neglected Russian émigré authors, Ataman Petr Nikolaevich Krasnov and Georgii Peskov, in order to argue author's own point, that the nostalgic reflection of homeland in exile literature creates neither utopia nor dystopia, but a haunted, spectral geography that undermines both. Naturally, over-indulgence in such reflective evocations of Russia's imperial idyll risk becoming twee and insubstantial, as Vladimir Nabokov liked to demonstrate satirically. Krasnov could certainly not have disguised or denied the anti-Bolshevik attitude maintained throughout Beyond the Thistle. Peskov's tales, written between 1925 and the outbreak of the Second World War, are simultaneously more realistic and more explicitly spectral. In her attention to the banality of everyday life, Peskov prefigures George Orwell's atmosphere of ordinary dystopia.

Keywords: Ataman Petr Nikolaevich Krasnov; Beyond the Thistle; Georgii Peskov; Second World War; spectral geography; Svetlana Boym; Vladimir Nabokov



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