Russian literature arrived late on the European scene. Within several generations, its great novelists had shocked - and then conquered - the world. In this introduction to the rich and vibrant Russian tradition, Caryl Emerson weaves a narrative of recurring themes and fascinations across several centuries. Beginning with traditional Russian narratives (saints' lives, folk tales, epic and rogue narratives), the book moves through literary history chronologically and thematically, juxtaposing literary texts from each major period. Detailed attention is given to canonical writers including Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Bulgakov and Solzhenitsyn, as well as to some current bestsellers from the post-Communist period. Fully accessible to students and readers with no knowledge of Russian, the volume includes a glossary and pronunciation guide of key Russian terms as well as a list of useful secondary works. The book will be of great interest to students of Russian as well as of comparative literature.
The Cambridge Companion to Twentieth Century Russian Literature
In Russian history, the twentieth century was an era of unprecedented, radical transformations - changes in social systems, political regimes, and economic structures. A number of distinctive literary schools emerged, each with their own voice, specific artistic character, and ideological background. As a single-volume compendium, the Companion provides a new perspective on Russian literary and cultural development, as it unifies both émigré literature and literature written in Russia. This volume concentrates on broad, complex, and diverse sources - from symbolism and revolutionary avant-garde writings to Stalinist, post-Stalinist, and post-Soviet prose, poetry, drama, and émigré literature, with forays into film, theatre, and literary policies, institutions and theories. The contributors present recent scholarship on historical and cultural contexts of twentieth-century literary development, and situate the most influential individual authors within these contexts, including Boris Pasternak, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Joseph Brodsky, Osip Mandelstam, Mikhail Bulgakov and Anna Akhmatova.
This introduction presents the major themes, forms and styles of Russian poetry. Using examples from Russia's greatest poets, Michael Wachtel draws on three centuries of verse, from the beginnings of secular literature in the eighteenth century to the present day. The first half of the book is devoted to concepts such as versification, poetic language and tradition; the second half is organised along genre lines and examines the ode, the elegy, love poetry, nature poetry and patriotic verse. This book will be an invaluable tool for students and teachers alike.
Key dimensions of Dostoevskii's writing and life are explored in this collection of specially commissioned essays. Contributors examines topics such as Dostoevskii's relation to folk literature, money, religion, the family and science. The essays are well supported by supplementary material including a chronology of the period and detailed guides to further reading. Altogether the volume provides an invaluable resource for scholars and students.
Chekhov is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential literary figures of modern times. Russia's preeminent playwright, he played a significant role in revolutionizing the modern theatre. His impact on prose fiction writing is incalculable: he helped define the modern short story. Beginning with an engaging account of Chekhov's life and cultural context in nineteenth-century Russia, this book introduces the reader to this fascinating and complex personality. Unlike much criticism of Chekhov, it includes detailed discussions of both his fiction and his plays. The Introduction traces his concise, impressionistic prose style from early comic sketches to mature works such as 'Ward No. 6' and 'In the Ravine'. Examining Chekhov's development as a dramatist, the book considers his one-act vaudevilles and early works, while providing a detailed, act-by-act analysis of the masterpieces on which his reputation rests: The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard.
What is Russia? Who are Russians? What is 'Russianness'? The question of national identity has long been a vexed one in Russia, and is particularly pertinent in the post-Soviet period. For a thousand years these questions have been central to the work of Russian writers, artists, musicians, film-makers, critics, politicians and philosophers. Questions of national self-identity permeate Russian cultural self-expression. This wide-ranging study, designed for students of Russian literature, culture, and history, explores aspects of national identity in Russian culture from medieval times to the present day. Written by an international team of scholars, the volume offers an accessible overview and a broad, multi-faceted introductory account of this central feature of Russian cultural history. The book is comprehensive and concise; it combines general surveys with a wide range of specific examples to convey the rich texture of Russian cultural expression over the past thousand years.
Best known for his great novels, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, Tolstoy remains one the most important nineteenth-century writers; throughout his career which spanned nearly three quarters of a century, he wrote fiction, journalistic essays and educational textbooks. The specially commissioned essays in The Cambridge Companion to Tolstoy do justice to the sheer volume of Tolstoy's writing. Key dimensions of his writing and life are explored in essays focusing on his relationship to popular writing, the issue of gender and sexuality in his fiction and his aesthetics. The introduction provides a brief, unified account of the man, for whom his art was only one activity among many. The volume is well supported by supplementary material including a detailed guide to further reading and a chronology of Tolstoy's life, the most comprehensive compiled in English to date. Altogether the volume provides an invaluable resource for students and scholars alike.
This is the first synthesizing study of Russian writing about the Caucasus during the nineteenth-century age of empire-building. It covers major writers including Pushkin, Tolstoy and Lermontov, but also introduces material from travelogues, oriental studies, ethnography, memoirs, and the utterances of tsarist officials and military commanders. Setting these writings and the responses of the Russian readership in historical and cultural context, Susan Layton examines ways that literature underwrote imperialism. But her study also reveals the tensions between the Russian state's ideology of a European mission to civilize the Caucasian Muslim mountaineers, and romantic perceptions of those peoples as noble primitives whose extermination was no cause for celebration.
Authenticity and Fiction in the Russian Literary Journey 1790 1840
In illuminating analyses of major texts as well as lesser known but influential works, Andreas Schönle surveys the literary travelogue--a form marked by a fully developed narrator's voice, interpretive impressions, scenic descriptions, and extended narrative--from its emergence in Russia to the end of the Romantic era.