Controversy and success
in Degeneration, decadence and disease in the Russian fin de siècle
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Leonid Andreev’s rise to literary fame reached dizzying heights in a short amount of time. There were, unquestionably, many factors that contributed to his success. Yet, this chapter mainly concentrates on the development of Andreev’s particular illness narrative and how it contributed to the author’s cultural relevancy. Stories about sexual deviance and criminal madness propelled Andreev beyond literary discussions and into larger debates about the health of the Russian nation. His works were used by scientists, journalists and scholars alike to support arguments of all colors and stripes, but the most important being that Andreev was representative of a society under duress, suffering from the rapid and disorienting pace of modernization.

Degeneration, decadence and disease in the Russian fin de siècle

Neurasthenia in the life and work of Leonid Andreev


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