Noplace Like Home

The Literary Artist and Russia's Search for Cultural Identity

By Amy C. Singleton

Subjects: Literary Theory
Series: SUNY series, The Margins of Literature
Paperback : 9780791434000, 193 pages, July 1997
Hardcover : 9780791433997, 193 pages, July 1997

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Table of contents


Chapter 1 Homeward Bound: The Ambivalence of Home and Self

Chapter 2 Space and Place: The Home and Russian Culture

Chapter 3 Heaven and Earth: The Search for Home and Self in Gogol's Dead Souls

Chapter 4 Eternal Return: Goncharov's Oblomov as Odyssey

Chapter 5 Domestic Strife: Housekeeping and Culture in Zamiatin's We

Chapter 6 Writing Home: Literature and Domesticity in Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita

Chapter 7 A House of Cards: The Future of the Russian Writer




Explores the way that four major works of Russian literature--Gogol's Dead Souls, Goncharov's Oblomov, Zamiatin's We, and Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita--define a cultural "self" for the Russian people. Focusing on the deep cultural currents that pull Russian society in contradictory ways, Noplace Like Home also explores the writer's struggle to overcome these tensions through the creation of a literary utopia.


Noplace Like Home uses four masterpieces of Russian literature--Nikolai Gogol's Dead Souls, Ivan Goncharov's Oblomov, Evgenii Zamiatin's We, and Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita--to show the successes and failings in Russia's search for home and self. Interdisciplinary in spirit, Noplace Like Home introduces Russian culture for the first time to the field of "home studies," which explores human identity in terms of man's relationship with domestic space. This broad social context, together with general cultural patterns expressed in the novels, encourages readers to consider even the most current events in Russian society--where identity and stability are again key issues--in terms of "home," "homelessness," and "noplace. "

Amy C. Singleton is Assistant Professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at the College of the Holy Cross.


"I like the book's conceptual sophistication, literary insight, and clarity of exposition as it traces a central idea in the Russian literary and cultural consciousness. I also like the way the author so convincingly demonstrates the broad ramifications of the idea she traces, and the way she shows--so naturally and gracefully--the profound interconnectedness between social behavior and aesthetic expression in Russia

"The book is full of considered and original thinking as it utilizes the works of highly respected scholars in the field. It constitutes an admirable blend of received truths and original thinking, making its claims hard to refute. " -- Stanley J. Rabinowitz, Amherst College

"This is a brilliantly conceived and executed study of the concept of home/homelessness as central in Russian literature in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. " -- Janet G. Tucker, University of Arkansas