Memoirs and Madness: Leonid Andreev Through the Prism of the Literary Portrait

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9780773530447: Memoirs and Madness: Leonid Andreev Through the Prism of the Literary Portrait
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Memoirs and Madness examines memoir as a literary genre, investigates the creation of Leonid Andreev's posthumous legacy by his contemporaries, and explores the possibility that Andreev, Russia's leading literary figure at the beginning of the twentieth century, suffered from mental illness. Frederick White's primary focus is A Book About Leonid Andreev (1922), the most important collection of memoirs dedicated to the Russian author, presented here in the first English translation. The agendas of the memoirists resulted in portraits that have influenced how Andreev is read and spoken about to the present day. White pays special attention to Andreev's history of mental illness, which the memoirists described with vague terms such as "creative energy" or "inner turmoil." Past scholarship has focused on philosophical and sociological factors in the author's life but this concentration on his mental health provides a fruitful approach to deciphering the literary portraits.

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Frederick H. White is the Associate Vice-President - Engaged Learning at Utah Valley University. He is one of the leading specialists on the Russian writer Leonid Andreev and has published in the areas of Russian Modernism, psychology and literature, science in the Russian fin de siècle and the economics of culture.

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"White investigates statements about Andreev's life in greater depth than I have seen and goes further than any before in arguing that mental illness was more powerful in shaping Andreev than any other singular event in his life." Avram Brown, German and Russian, University of California. "White uses science to reassess both the nature of the uncanny in Eastern Europe and the very notion of creativity in the context of any over-enthusiastic social system." David MacFadyen, Slavic languages, University of California, Los Angeles

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