The depiction of prostitution in nineteenth and early- twentieth-century Russian literature
In this thesis the depictions of prostitution produced in Russia from 1860-1914 are the
paramount focus; a number of issues surrounding this subject are also discussed in some
detail. The intention is to examine the motivations of the authors concerned, as well as the
images they created, and to compare these images with those produced by other authors,
including non-Russians, and also with real-life prostitution in this period
The introduction is concerned firstly with the problem of defining the terms of the title,
particularly `prostitution'; a term loaded with social and moral connotations. This leads on
to a discussion of the history of prostitution from ancient times, though focussing on the
nineteenth century, first in the West, and then, in greater detail, in Russia.
In the latter stages of the introduction and also Chapter One the theme of prostitution in
literature is addressed a: number of French and English portrayals are discussed inorder to
highlight prevalent attitudes and ideas towards prostitution in Western literary circles, and
an overview is given of prostitution as a theme in Russian literature from the late
eighteenth century up to 1900. In this section a number of general trends are illustrated.
In Chapters Two-Five four authors who made significant contributions to this theme are
examined in greater detail: Vsevolod Garshin, Leonid Andreev, Aleksandr Kuprin, and
Volodymyr Vynnychenko. In Chapter Six a number of works by female authors are
discussedin ordert o offer an alternative perspective on the issue.The images of prostitution produced are discussed with reference to their authors' opinions
on prostitution, and also to other issues they sought to highlight through these depictions.
Comparisons and are drawn throughout, and in this way the carious attitudes and opinions
surrounding the issue of prostitution are traced throughout the period in question.