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  • "The Possessed: Adventures With Russian Books and the People Who Read Them".

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Elif Batuman - 'The Possessed'

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The Possessed: Adventures With Russian Books and the People Who Read Them

Motor racing. US sports. Rugby League. Movers List. Geoffrey Macnab. Tech news. Tech culture. News videos. Explainer videos. Retrieved March 27, Retrieved April 16, Retrieved The New York Times. Archived from the original on Literary Hub. Retrieved September 16, What did national identity mean to the Russian authors who immersed themselves in the world outside their homeland Dostoevsky's life in Italy, Pushkin's affinity for France, Turgenev's years in Baden-Baden?

Batuman offers a bleak depiction of America's creative writing scene, rejecting an opportunity to join a creative writing program on Cape Cod. In your opinion, what is the impact of America's many MFA programs on contemporary fiction? How do these programs compare to the societies that produced such authors as Chekhov a descendant of serfs and Tolstoy an aristocrat? What does The Possessed say about the differences between communities of writers, scholars, critics, and translators?

Why has it inspired so many creative works, in the visual arts as well as in literature? If The Possessed were a novel, what would you say about the protagonist? How do the essays form one narrative about a young woman's transformation? What does she learn about Jewish alienation, writing, grad school, and ancestry? What does she learn from the minor characters, such as Matej, her friend who ends up becoming a monk in the book's closing scenes?

Batuman's introduction includes the observation, inspired by Michel Foucault, that Don Quixote "had broken the binary of life and literature. He had lived life and read books; he lived life through books, generating an even better book" page How do these philosophies serve to bring the essays full circle? How are the threads of identity and literature woven throughout The Possessed? Batuman tells us that The Possessed takes its title from the Dostoevsky novel alternately titled, in translation, The Demons.

In turn, the novel took its title from a biblical narrative in which demons leave a man whom they have possessed and enter a herd of swine. Are any of the scholars and authors featured in Batuman's book purged of their demons? See All Customer Reviews.

Elif Batuman

Shop Books. Read an excerpt of this book! Add to Wishlist. USD Buy Online, Pick up in Store is currently unavailable, but this item may be available for in-store purchase. Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Show More. Reading Group Guide 1. Would your perception of Tolstoy's work change if you knew that he had been murdered? How did The Possessed change the way you feel about the word "Caucasian"? Average Review. Write a Review. HarryVane More than 1 year ago Ms. Batuman's "The Possessed" is a graduate school journal gone mad.

I expected an intriguing romp through the annals of Russian literature, however the reader is introduced into the thankless world of the lowly liberal arts graduate school student, Elif Batuman, and all of the degradations forthwith. While I truly enjoyed Batuman's brief discussions of Russian authors, the chapter on Isaac Babel is absolutely brilliant, those moments are all too brief.