Download Russian Literature: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short by Catriona Kelly PDF

By Catriona Kelly

Instead of offering a standard chronology of Russian literature, Russian Literature: a truly brief creation explores where and value in Russian tradition of every kind of literature. How and whilst did a Russian nationwide literature come into being? What formed its construction? How have the Russians appeared their literary language? The ebook makes use of the determine of Pushkin--'the Russian Shakespeare'--as a habitual instance, as his paintings encouraged each Russian author who got here after him, whether or not they wrote prose or verse. It in addition examines why Russian writers are commemorated, how they've been interpreted within Russia and past, and the affects of the people story culture, orthodox faith, and the West.

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Eliot, Robert Frost, or Elizabeth Bishop, was relatively rare in a culture where writers risked being effaced whether they wished it or not. A much more customary strategy was the grandiose rejection of official commemoration and the 28 substitution of a magnificently egotistical alternative cult of self. Vladimir Mayakovsky’s superb elegy for the poet Sergey Esenin, composed after the latter committed suicide in 1925, and one of the greatest poems written in Russian in the twentieth century, contains an extraordinary passage that at once repudiates the official construction of monuments and builds a monument before the reader’s eyes: They haven’t even built you a memorial, No bronze rings out, no stone lies hewn in hunks, But the rails of memory are ornamented all that junk.

The role played by Goethe in Germany, Mickiewicz in Poland, or Vuk Karadzˇic in Serbia, was at least as important as that played by Pushkin. Russia’s literary upsurge, so far from being unique, was part of a Europe-wide surge into the intellectual mainstream of Russian Literature countries where culture had earlier run in isolated channels. But neither the fragility of Turgenev’s case, nor its eccentricity on the part of a writer who spent most of his later life abroad, chattering in French to his famous visitors, discredited his articulation of an idea that was gaining weight as time went on.

39 ‘Tidings of me will go out over all great Rus’ Interpretations of this kind naturally came to the forefront at the of the Moscow Pushkin monument in 1880, for example, included not only a famous patriotic tirade by Dostoevsky, but also an oration by Turgenev in which he praised Pushkin for combining two achievements that in other countries had occurred at different times and been carried out by different individuals: the creation of a new language and the initiation of a literary tradition. Pushkin’s achievement was part of Russia’s greatness and a constituent of the country’s unique identity.

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