Semiotics of Misogyny Through the Humor of Chekhov and Maugham

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Examines the fictional worlds of Chekhov and Maugham (with their enormous resistance to abandoning the traditional myths about women) as symbolic responses to the changing culture. The purpose of this semiotic enterprise is to disclose the regrettably simplistic interpretation of the Other and the potential for violence that the seemingly innocent fictional signs carry. It is also to challenge the pervasiveness of the dangerous myth that involves interpreters of culture, myth and song.


"The work opens with a concise Preface which justifies the selection of Maugham's and Chekhov's fictional worlds as the subject of investigation and explains the authoress's methodology and goals. . . . A very useful overview and evaluation of criticism on women in Maugham and Chekhov is also provided throughout the study. . . . very worthwhile both for the specialist and the student who will find the book a helping tool in closing some of the gaps in Maugham and Chekhov scholarship in the West." - Alexandra Sosnowski

"Makolkin immaculately attends to the artistic and personal life of the authors showing them impartiality and respect as well as interest in them and their time in history that may have compelled their choice of words. . . . I have taught women's study courses at the undergraduate level and would see this as a powerful tool to assist students in articulating their responses to literature and to make connections between disturbing feelings and the structure of the narrative." - Rebecca Hagesy

Table of Contents


Note on Translation and Transliteration

Chapter One Eco, Chekhov and Maugham and Their Perception of Women

Umberto Eco's Women as Signs
Maugham and Chekhov as Producers of Identical Signs
Maugham's Idiosyncrasy and Chekhov's Manifesto: Misogyny Uncovered

Chapter Two Women, Nature and Zoosemiotics of the Literary Text

Women as Zoological Signs
Women as "Id" Signs
Women as Gastropornosigns
Woman as a Predator

Chapter Three Women as Signs of Economic Exchange

Women as Buyers
Women as a Sign of Fluctuating Value
Marriage and Men
Marriage and Women

Chapter Four Women,Their Semiotic Value

Women as Symbols of Inferiority
Pink Stocking as an Icon of a Female
Maugham's Soothing Sign-Woman as an Archetype

Chapter Five Women as Signs of Otherness

Jews and Females-Signs of Equal Value
Woman as a Sign of Otherness-Maugham's Russian Woman
Taking off the Mask of a Character-Desire

Chapter Six Women, Slavery and an Interim Sign

Women-Dynamic Signs
Women as Alarming Signals
Blue Stocking Anxiety
Origins of "Blue Stockings"
Anxiety, Tension and Sign-o-phobia




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