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Too Ugly To Be a Harlot: Bourgeois Ideals of Gender and Nation, and the Construction of Russian Nihilism in Spain’s Fin de Siècle

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This article discusses the construction of a cultural vision of Russian nihilism in the Spanish liberal press following the assassination of Alexander II in 1881, and identifies the codified metaphoric context of texts and its possible meanings and purpose. The analysis of the stereotypes related to Russia and nihilism in the Spanish press and contemporary, intellectual sources indicate that such perspectives served a variety of purposes, and political and cultural agendas. While apparently discussing issues such as gender, social turmoil, and even democracy and revolution in Russian terms, the reports addressed topics of ongoing, local debates, disguising national, social and political questions within a seemingly foreign context. In addition, this exploration serves as an example of the flexible boundaries separating the press and the literary realm in the late nineteenth century, by pointing out the dramatic, sensationalist, and even sensual formulations added to an otherwise straightforward report or opinion. It also underscores the significance of transnational social networks that may have contributed to molding an apparently “national” consciousness, drawing attention to Russia’s cultural connection to the rest of Europe.

Affiliations: 1: University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, PR, USA, Email: spuprrp@gmail.com, URL: http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink

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/content/journals/10.1163/221023912x641999
2012-01-01
2016-12-07

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