This book, first published in 2000, features analyses about and by some of the most important Russian writers of the 1980s, a period of great changes in the cultural life of Russia when the controls of Soviet communism gave way to a wide diversity of unfettered writing. A variety of critical approaches matches the diversity of Russian writers considered here. The book features David Bethea’s theoretical discussion of the work of the outstanding critic and cholar Iurii Lotman and a fascinating extending interview with leading poet Ol’ga Sedakova. Several writers and works receive their first scholarly analyses in English, such as Sasha Sokolov’s complex postmodern novel, Between Dog and Wolf, Elena Shvarts’s poetry, and Zinovii Zinik’s work. Aleksandr Zinov’ev’s prose is subjected to a searching formal analysis. The book contains an essay on the literary environment of the Moscow poet Mikhail Aizenberg, and a highly controversial article that reviews Russian writing as an extension of imperialism. Writers who for various reasons fell into opprobrium during the 1980s include the Soviet village writers and the late Andrei Siniavskii (Abram Tertz). A survey of urban prose in the late 1980s looks into an uncertain future, while playwright Viktor Slavkin represents the best of contemporary Russian drama.
Table of Contents
1. Iurii Lotman in the 1980s: the Code and Its Relation to Literary Biography David Bethea 2. Conform Not to This Age: an Interview with Ol’ga Sedakova Valentina Polukhina 3. Elena Shvarts and the Distances of Self-Disclosure Stephanie Sandler 4. An Odd Man Out: the Poetics of Mikhail Aizenberg Zinovy Zinik 5. Zinovy Zinik’s Gothic Suburbia Robert Porter 6. Back to the Future: Andrei Siniavskii and Kapitanskaia dochka Jane Grayson 7. System and Structure in the Work of Aleksandr Zinov’ev Michael Kirkwood 8. The Dissolution of Reality in Sasha Sokolov’s Mezhdu sobakoi I volkom Hanna Kolb 9. Russian Village Prose in Paraliterary Space Kathleen Parthé 10. Russian Literature and Imperialism: the Late Soviet and Early Post-Soviet Periods Ewa Thompson 11. Blues at Forty: the Plays of Viktor Slavkin Robert Russell 12. Kavalerovs and Coffins: Urban Prose of the Eighties Sally Dalton-Brown 13. Vladimir Sorokin and the Norm David Gillespie