“Erotic Utopia: The Decadent Imagination in Russia’s Fin de Siecle”–erotic abstinence

Matich, Olga. “Erotic Utopia: The Decadent Imagination in Russia’s Fin de Siecle”, University of Wisconsin Press, 2007.

Erotic Abstinence

Amos Lassen

Russian modernity began with anxiety but they overcame the inevitability of decline and death by using utopian ideas. Death could be rationalized away by making the body immortal with erotic love. What lay beneath this idea was the suggestion of same-sex desire. Erotically induced abstinence was practiced by a brilliant group of Russian writers while they looked at the immediate concerns of a country going through a transition. They examined everything having to do with the erotic—health (physical and psychological), marriage, gender and sexuality as well as the lessons of history and anti-Semitism.

“Erotic Utopia” brings new light to a period that has so long been a dark era historically. Olga Matich looks at biographies, programs, writings and images of the end of the 19th century in Russia. This era has needed research for quite a long time and the culture of the czar has never been so interesting. Examining the intersection between modernism and psychotherapy, Matich finds new theories which are absolutely fascinating.

If you have any interest in history and culture, this is the book that you want to read. It made me look at the period with completely different eyes.

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