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Degeneration, decadence and disease in the Russian fin de siècleNeurasthenia in the life and work of Leonid Andreev$
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Frederick H. White

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780719091643

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719091643.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Degeneration, decadence and disease in the Russian fin de siècle

Frederick H. White

Manchester University Press

This chapter introduces the various scientific and popular lines of discourse that influenced and informed Leonid Andreev’s sense of self and his relationship with neurasthenia. Of equal importance is the impact that Andreev had as a major contributor to the popular discourse of pathology in the Russian fin de siècle. His illness experience as an acute neurasthenic was informed by numerous medical and popular factors that were ultimately distilled into his literary works, leading to his unprecedented success and popularity. By re-examining Andreev and a nation’s anxiety over its own perceived moral corruption and physical devolution, Andreev once again comes into focus as one of the leading literary voices of his age.

Keywords:   Leonid Andreev, Degeneration, Illness narrative, Neurasthenia

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