Gogol’‘s “portrait” repainted: On gary shteyngart’s “shylock on the Neva”

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Russian-American novelist Gary Shteyngart has frequently been called a “Gogolian” writer, usually in an attempt to explain the pedigree of his grotesque humour. This article focuses on Shteyngart’s story “Shylock on the Neva” (2002), which is a modern-day rewriting of Gogol’‘s tale “Portret” [”The Portrait”]. A close analysis of Shteyngart’s text and comparison to its Gogolian model reveals a complex relation that is not necessarily centered on Gogol’‘s humour. In his rewriting of “The Portrait,” Shteyngart emphasizes the inherent venality and vulgarity of Gogol’‘s characters, who turn into grotesque caricatures of their prototypes. In doing so, he seems to “Gogolize” Gogol’‘s tale by adding some of the absurd humour that critics have found to be lacking in “The Portrait.” By making a painting the focus of their stories, both Gogol’ and Shteyngart engage in a self-reflective comment about art and the role of the creative artist. Similar to the clichéd hack-paintings of Gogol’‘s painter Chartkov, artistic creation has been reduced in “Shylock on the Neva” to the production of postmodern simulacra based on stereotypes and cultural myths.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-348
Number of pages16
JournalCanadian Slavonic Papers
Volume51
Issue number2-3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2009

Fingerprint

Wit and Humor
humor
Paintings
Caricatures
painter
Pedigree
Art
artist
stereotype
critic
myth
writer
art
Grotesque

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory

Cite this

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abstract = "The Russian-American novelist Gary Shteyngart has frequently been called a “Gogolian” writer, usually in an attempt to explain the pedigree of his grotesque humour. This article focuses on Shteyngart’s story “Shylock on the Neva” (2002), which is a modern-day rewriting of Gogol’‘s tale “Portret” [”The Portrait”]. A close analysis of Shteyngart’s text and comparison to its Gogolian model reveals a complex relation that is not necessarily centered on Gogol’‘s humour. In his rewriting of “The Portrait,” Shteyngart emphasizes the inherent venality and vulgarity of Gogol’‘s characters, who turn into grotesque caricatures of their prototypes. In doing so, he seems to “Gogolize” Gogol’‘s tale by adding some of the absurd humour that critics have found to be lacking in “The Portrait.” By making a painting the focus of their stories, both Gogol’ and Shteyngart engage in a self-reflective comment about art and the role of the creative artist. Similar to the clich{\'e}d hack-paintings of Gogol’‘s painter Chartkov, artistic creation has been reduced in “Shylock on the Neva” to the production of postmodern simulacra based on stereotypes and cultural myths.",
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Gogol’‘s “portrait” repainted : On gary shteyngart’s “shylock on the Neva”. / Wanner, Adrian.

In: Canadian Slavonic Papers, Vol. 51, No. 2-3, 01.06.2009, p. 333-348.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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