Contemporary Russian Literature

Start Date: 05/24/2020

Course Type: Common Course

Course Link:

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About Course

We are going to talk about Contemporary literature specifically, but it doesn’t include only the literature of the most recent years. It is technically a course on the history of literature, but the history starting from the late Soviet period up until today. The goal is to show you the best writers’ names, so that you may remember them and read their works after the end of this course. The course will show you the tendencies that were developing in Russian literature in last 25 years, and finally to come to it’s present state, in this way forming a journey across the vast sea that is called Russian Literature. Good luck!

Course Syllabus

The Prehistory of Contemporary Literature
The Origins of Contemporary Russian Literature
The Birth of Russian Postmodernism
Development of Postmodernist Fiction. Victor Pelevin
Between Postmodern, Liberal and Pop Literatures. Boris Akunin
Between Postmodernism and “Human” Literature: Tatiana Tolstaya and Mikhail Shishkin
Literary Situation of 2000s
The New Realism of 2000s
Current Literature. New Names and Trends, part 1
Current Literature. New Names and Trends, part 2

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Course Introduction

We are going to talk about Contemporary literature specifically, but it doesn’t in

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Arkadii Dragomoshchenko Arkadii Trofimovich Dragomoshchenko (; 1946 - 12 September 2012) was a Russian poet, writer, translator, and lecturer. He is considered the foremost representative of language poetry in contemporary Russian literature.
D. S. Mirsky Mirsky emigrated to Great Britain in 1921. While teaching Russian literature at the University of London, Mirsky published his landmark study "A History of Russian Literature: From Its Beginnings to 1900". Vladimir Nabokov recommended it to his students as "the best history of Russian literature in any language, including Russian". This work was followed with the "Contemporary Russian Literature, 1881–1925,".
Contemporary literature Contemporary literature is literature with its setting generally after World War II. Subgenres of contemporary literature include contemporary romance.
Rossica Rossica is an arts magazine published in London by Academia Rossica. The first issue of the journal appeared in 2001. "Rossica" covers diverse topics, such as contemporary Russian writing, the story and collection of the Moscow Tretyakov Gallery, and the disappearing architectural heritage of Moscow. It also presents recent translations of contemporary Russian literature into English.
Silver Age of Russian Poetry Although the Silver Age may be said to have truly begun with the appearance of Alexander Blok's "Verses to the Beautiful Lady", many scholars have extended its chronological framework to include the works of the 1890s, starting with Nikolai Minsky's manifesto "With the light of conscience" (1890), Dmitri Merezhkovsky's treatise "About the reasons for the decline of contemporary Russian literature" (1893), Valery Bryusov's almanac "Russian symbolists" (1894), and poetry by Konstantin Balmont and Mirra Lokhvitskaya.
Serhiy Zhadan There is no summarizing the spicy, hot, sweet, vicious improvisations of Serhiy Zhadan - this is verbal jazz. When you read him, you fear for contemporary Russian literature: of those now writing in the Russian language, there is none among them who is so infernally free (and above all, free from "writerly" prose, from the tendency to "produce an impression").
Russian symbolism The movement was inaugurated by Nikolai Minsky's article "The Ancient Debate" (1884) and Dmitry Merezhkovsky's book "On the Causes of the Decline and on the New Trends in Contemporary Russian Literature" (1892). Both writers promoted extreme individualism and deified the act of creation. Merezhkovsky was known for his poetry as well as a series of novels on "god-men", among whom he counted Jesus, Joan of Arc, Dante Alighieri, Leonardo da Vinci, Napoleon and (later) Hitler. His wife, Zinaida Gippius, also a major poet in the early days of the symbolist movement, opened a salon in Saint Petersburg, which came to be known as the "headquarters of Russian decadence".
Russian literature The 19th century is traditionally referred to as the "Golden Era" of Russian literature.
Russian literature Old Russian literature consists of several masterpieces written in the Old Russian language (i.e. the language of Rus', not to be confused with the contemporaneous Church Slavonic or modern Russian). The main type of Old Russian historical literature were chronicles, most of them anonymous. Anonymous works also include "The Tale of Igor's Campaign" and "Praying of Daniel the Immured". Hagiographies (, "zhitiya svyatykh", "lives of the saints") formed a popular genre of the Old Russian literature. "Life of Alexander Nevsky" offers a well-known example. Other Russian literary monuments include "Zadonschina", "Physiologist", "Synopsis" and "A Journey Beyond the Three Seas". Bylinas – oral folk epics – fused Christian and pagan traditions. Medieval Russian literature had an overwhelmingly religious character and used an adapted form of the Church Slavonic language with many South Slavic elements. The first work in colloquial Russian, the autobiography of the archpriest Avvakum, emerged only in the mid-17th century.
Academia Rossica The Rossica Translation Prize is the only prize in the world awarded for the best new translation of Russian literature into English. It aims to raise the international profile of translators and the art of literary translation, as well as that of contemporary Russian literature. The prize is open to works published in any country. The value of the prize is £5,000, divided between the winning translator and the publisher.
Academia Rossica The Rossica Young Translators Prize was set up alongside the Rossica Prize in 2009 to inspire a new generation of young translators and expose them to the best of contemporary Russian literature. Every year budding literary translators from universities around the globe compete for the recognition of their talent and the chance to kick-start a professional career as literary translators.
Alaviyya Babayeva Alaviyya Babayeva Hanifa Kizi (12 August 1921 – 23 September 2014) was a prose-writer, translator of contemporary Russian literature, and publicist. In her creation the human being and his position in society, the fate of the people were reflected in real colors. She died on 23 September 2014.
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Russian literature Suffering, often as a means of redemption, is a recurrent theme in Russian literature. Fyodor Dostoyevsky in particular is noted for exploring suffering in works such as "Notes from Underground" and "Crime and Punishment". Christianity and Christian symbolism are also important themes, notably in the works of Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy and Chekhov. In the 20th century, suffering as a mechanism of evil was explored by authors such as Solzhenitsyn in "The Gulag Archipelago". A leading Russian literary critic of the 20th century Viktor Shklovsky, in his book, "Zoo, or Letters Not About Love", wrote, "Russian literature has a bad tradition. Russian literature is devoted to the description of unsuccessful love affairs."
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Contemporary Ukrainian literature Contemporary Ukrainian literature is a notion referred to Ukrainian literature of the past several decades. Most often 1991 as a year of Ukrainian independence is considered as a start of the contemporary Ukrainian literature as from that year on the literary censorship of the Soviet Union ceased to exist and writers were able to deviate from the official socialist realism style. Principal changes took place in Ukrainian literature already in the years of Perestroika (1985) and especially after the Chernobyl disaster. Some researchers consider that contemporary Ukrainian literature started from the 1970-s after the generation of the sixtiers.
Russian literature Russian literature is not only written by Russians. In the Soviet times such popular writers as Belarusian Vasil Bykaŭ, Kyrgyz Chinghiz Aitmatov and Abkhaz Fazil Iskander wrote some of their books in Russian. Some renowned contemporary authors writing in Russian have been born and live in Ukraine (Andrey Kurkov, H. L. Oldie, Maryna and Serhiy Dyachenko) or Baltic States (Garros and Evdokimov, Max Frei). Most Ukrainian fantasy and science fiction authors write in Russian, which gives them access to a much broader audience, and usually publish their books via Russian publishers such as Eksmo, Azbuka and AST.

A number of prominent Russian authors such as novelists Mikhail Shishkin, Rubén Gallego, Julia Kissina, Svetlana Martynchik and Dina Rubina, poets Alexei Tsvetkov and Bakhyt Kenjeev, though born in USSR, live and work in West Europe, North America or Israel.
Russian literature After taking the throne at the end of the 17th century, Peter the Great's influence on the Russian culture would extend far into the 18th century. Peter's reign during the beginning of the 18th century initiated a series of modernizing changes in Russian literature. The reforms he implemented encouraged Russian artists and scientists to make innovations in their crafts and fields with the intention of creating an economy and culture comparable. Peter's example set a precedent for the remainder of the 18th century as Russian writers began to form clear ideas about the proper use and progression of the Russian language. Through their debates regarding versification of the Russian language and tone of Russian literature, the writers in the first half of the 18th century were able to lay foundation for the more poignant, topical work of the late 18th century.
Michael Glenny Glenny began working as a part-time translator during his stint with Wedgwood. Via the publisher George Weidenfeld, his first published translations were from the German. However, translations from the Russian became the main focus of his life. Indeed, his speciality was the discovery and transmission of contemporary Russian literature that was unavailable to an English readership. His landmark translation of Mikhail Bulgakov's "The Master and Margarita" in 1967 established his fame. He followed up with several other Bulgakov novels.
Russian literature Vasily Kirillovich Trediakovsky, a poet, playwright, essayist, translator and contemporary to Antiokh Kantemir, also found himself deeply entrenched in Enlightenment conventions in his work with the Russian Academy of Sciences and his groundbreaking translations of French and classical works to the Russian language. A turning point in the course of Russian literature, his translation of Paul Tallemant's work "Voyage to the Isle of Love", was the first to use the Russian vernacular as opposed the formal and outdated Church-Slavonic. This introduction set a precedent for secular works to be composed in the vernacular, while sacred texts would remain in Church-Slavonic. However, his work was often incredibly theoretical and scholarly, focused on promoting the versification of the language with which he spoke.