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Spectacles of Terrorist Violence in Boris Savinkov’s Fiction

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In the early twentieth century, Boris Savinkov organized assassinations for the Combat Organization of the Party of Socialist-Revolutionaries (PSR). He was not only a Russian revolutionary terrorist but also a fiction writer who wrote about political violence. With the publication of The Pale Horse (1909) and What Never Happened: A Novel of the Revolution (1912), many critics assumed Savinkov became disillusioned with political violence on moral grounds. I argue instead his works question the effectiveness of the PSR’s terrorism on political grounds by revealing the Party’s failed attempts to organize terrorist acts with consistent results. With his fiction, Savinkov problematizes his culture’s desire to create a heroic myth of the revolutionary terrorist as a martyr.

Affiliations: 1: Norfolk State University


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