Faculty Research Colloquium: Dr. Bowers on “A Russian Jane Eyre”


On Nov. 5, 2019, Dr. Katherine Bowers presented “A Russian Jane Eyre: Gothic Subjectivity and the Woman Question in Tur and Turgenev” in the Faculty Research Colloquium.

Dr. Bowers is Assistant Professor of Slavic Studies and a Wall Scholar (2019–20).


This talk will examine the way female subjectivity in nineteenth-century realist prose is articulated using gothic imagery, focusing on Evgeniia Tur’s Antonina [1851] and its intertextual relationships with Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre [1847] as well as Ivan Turgenev’s Diary of a Superfluous Man [Dnevnik lishnego cheloveka, 1850] and Unhappy Girl [Neschastnaia, 1868]. Analyzing the function of gothic subjectivity in these works reveals a framework for understanding greater social anxieties surrounding the woman question while also creating spaces where women’s inner lives can thrive. The talk will demonstrate that gothic narrative descriptions of women’s inner lives in these works articulate opposing critical views on the woman question and suggest a new model for identifying and assessing women’s critical voices in their fiction, often marginalized in Russian publitsistika. Nineteenth-century Russian women’s critical discourse appeared most frequently within the medium of literary fiction, and in this context, gothic narrative allows for a way of representing and thinking about women’s experience that critical discourse does not.

Dr. Bowers will also give this talk at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies on November 20 (closed) and at the University of Virginia on December 3.