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The Charles Bernheimer Prize Citations 2006

2006 Prize Winner:

Ilya Kliger, "Truth, Time and the Novel: Veridiction in Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Balzac." (Yale 2005)

Kliger's dissertation is a model of comparative analysis: sophisticated in its treatment of individual texts, attentive to the inflections of different linguistic media, focused in its subject yet informed by a broad historical and theoretical perspective, scrupulous in its scholarship, persuasive in its argumentation, and original in its insights. Kliger's subject is the emergence of a temporal conception of truth in the late-18th century and the subsequent narrative exploration of that truth in novels by Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Balzac. I n his opening chapter, Kliger deftly traces the formation of a temporal conception of truth in Kant, Diderot, Rousseau, Schlegel, and Hegel, and then extends this analysis with readings of Lukács, the Russian formalists and Bakhtin to generate a supple collection of paired concepts, in which the set author-other-metaphor-sjuzhet opposes that of hero-self-metonymy-fabula. With these concepts, Kliger conducts exegeses of Anna Karenina, Crime and Punishment, Louis Lambert, and La Peau de chagrin, showing how conceptions of an atemporal and a temporal truth manifest themselves in plot, character, genre and theme. Kliger's study exhibits a remarkable intellectual maturity. His approach to literary works arises from a firm understanding of historical and theoretical tendencies and a clearly articulated critical position in relation to those tendencies. With impressive lucidity he develops his theoretical arguments, and with grace and sensitivity he follows the narrative unfolding of conceptions of time within the literary texts. Kliger's dissertation is in all ways a commendable achievement, fully deserving of the Bernheimer Prize.

2006 Bernheimer Prize Committee:
Perciles Lewis, Yale University
Steven Yao, Hamilton College
Ron Bogue, University of Georgia