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Haunted EmpireGothic and the Russian Imperial Uncanny$
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Valeria Sobol

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501750571

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501750571.001.0001

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On Mimicry and Ukrainians

On Mimicry and Ukrainians

Empire and the Gothic in Antonii Pogorelsky’s The Convent Graduate

(p.94) Chapter 5 On Mimicry and Ukrainians
Haunted Empire

Valeria Sobol

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines Antonii Pogorel'sky's novel The Convent Graduate (1830–33), set in Ukraine. The novel mockingly plays with the clichés of the Gothic tradition to subtly point to the true threat — the “menace of mimicry,” to use Bhabha's terminology. It discusses Ukraine as the “other” as it introduces to the reader the exotic low classes of Ukraine, not fully assimilated into the Russian imperial identity. It discusses how The Convent Graduate offers several competing models of education and the resulting cultural identification. Ukrainian mimicry, ruthlessly satirized in the novel, exposes its very object, the Russian imperial self, as a simulacrum, and thus calls into question the Russian colonial strategy of assimilation.

Keywords:   Antonii Pogorelsky, The Convent Graduate, Ukraine, Bhabba, cultural identification, assimilation, Ukrainian mimicry, Russian imperial identity, Russian assimilation

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