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date: 06 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines not the changing moral and sexual codes of Russian society in the decades of reform and revolution, but rather the notions of moral agency and subjectivity that contemporaries believed found expression in the observance, subversion and violation of these codes. Competing understandings of human motivation and behaviour informed the public representation of acts of infidelity, sexual corruption, rape, petty crime, suicide and murder. Drawing on a wide range of literary, journalistic, political and medico-legal texts, the chapter explores both the rise and the fall of the autonomous moral agent in Russian culture between the Great Reforms and the New Economic Policy.

Keywords: self, individual, deviance, sexual disorder, suicide, Underground Man, revolution, psychopathology, modernity, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Chekhov, Leonid Andreev

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