All posts in category Russian Literature

BASEES 2012 highlights

I was quite busy with committee business during the BASEES conference, but did manage to attend a few panels, and want to pick out a few highlights from what everyone I spoke to agreed was a very stimulating and enjoyable weekend. A Monday morning panel on Gulag literature may not be everybody’s idea of fun, […]

Four short links: intergalactic zombie agriculture!

… or Nikolai Fedorovich Fedorov’s Philosophy of the Common Task. One comes across many extraordinary figures and ideas in Russian literature and intellectual history, but Fedorov stands out even in this exalted company. Fedorov’s ‘common task’, to which all human activity should be directed, was achieving immortality for all, including the dead, who would thereby […]

Mapping Gogol: Methodology

As part of our work to expand Mapping St Petersburg and develop the idea of experimenting with literary cartography, we have produced two maps visualizing the spatial arrangement of Gogol’s Peterburg Tales. The first marks all the place references in the five stories, Nevskii prospekt, The Portrait, The Diary of a Madman, The Nose and The Overcoat, while the second differentiates between the places where the action occurs, […]

Dostoevsky in English

I haven’t posted anything for a while, but having got over pre-Christmas flu, festivities, and catching up with work after both, I am now back in the saddle. I decided to post a list of links to English translations of Dostoevsky’s works, partly because someone suggested it would useful, partly to have an overview what’s […]

Top ten letters in Russian literature

Letters play a significant role in some of my favourite works of Russian literature, and a couple in particular have been very much on my mind lately. So here is my top ten, which manages to encompass everything from the absurd to the tragic. Apologies for the plot spoilers (especially in entries 10, 7 and […]

Vasily Grossman: links

The BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Life and Fate is in full swing, but I’ve been away/really busy, so I haven’t managed to listen to any of it yet (perhaps later today, if I finish the article I’m working on…), or write the follow-up post I was intending about the conference. But as Grossman mania sweeps […]

Life and Fate on the BBC

I’m still recovering from a couple of memorable days at St Peter’s College Oxford, where the BBC’s event to celebrate the Radio 4 adaptation of Vasily Grossman’s vast and still under-appreciated novel Life and Fate was followed by an interdisciplinary conference on Grossman. I’m still gathering my thoughts on the latter, so I’ll save that […]

Chaucer, Chernyshevsky and the Crystal Palace

Or, Russian perspectives on the Great Exhibition (4). The late arrival of much of the Russian exhibit probably explains why we have to wait until the August issue of Sovremennik to read any details about what one assumes would have been of some significance to many Russian readers. The majority of the report is taken, […]

Top ten food in Russian literature: part 2

I shall keep you in suspense no longer. 5. Shalamov, ‘Condensed Milk’. As in the case of Solzhenitsyn, hunger is ubiquitous in Shalamov’s stories, so food also plays a significant role. ‘Condensed Milk’ is unusual in depicting a moment of triumph and satiation: the narrator, offered a place on an escape, asks the ringleader Shestaskov […]

Top ten food in Russian literature

Food is a tricky subject, as there are a lot of viable candidates for inclusion – so many that I toyed with the idea of doing a top twenty, but that’s a cop out, so I’ve had to whittle it down, and some exceptional works have missed the cut. I’ll say a bit more about […]