All the Russias' Blog

A space for news and opinion, sponsored by The Jordan Center

On Studying and Teaching Lesser-Known Russian Writers

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At every meeting of “The Other 19v,” a reading group devoted to discussing less-studied nineteenth-century Russian writers, we find new insights into this century of literary experimentation and cultural transformation. We are also currently working on a special issue of “Russian Literature” on the “unknown nineteenth century,” focused on less-studied writers. We are collecting abstract submissions for the issue until March 15; please contact Helen Stuhr-Rommereim or Vadim Shneyder if you are interested in contributing.

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Minor Writers and the Major Leagues, Part II

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Another reason to study minor writers is that they help us to understand historical eras. They are part of the thick description of a given time. For the major-centric among us, minor writers can be seen as important for what they can tell us about major writers, although the relationship is not always cristalline. Even major writers had to read something, after all, although they might not tell you what it was or how it influenced them. Just as Pushkin would not have told you that he’d devoured the novels of Sophie Cottin (as Hilde Hoogenboom has explored), so did Tolstoy play down Mariia Zhukova (as discussed in Part I), while both Turgenev and Dostoevsky borrowed plot motifs from authoress Evgenii Tur (Jane Costlow, Svetlana Grenier).

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Navalny and the Kremlin: Politics and Protest in Russia

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On February 1st, the Jordan Center and the Harriman Institute co-hosted a panel on Alexei Navalny as part of the New York–Russia Public Policy Series. Panelists included Yana Gorokhovskaia, Research Fellow at the Institute of Modern Russia; Pjotr Sauer, Journalist at the Moscow Times; Gulnaz Sharafutdinova, Reader in Russian Politics at King’s College London; and Aleksandra Urman, Postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Communication and Media Studies, University of Bern.

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Navalny

Workers Against the Workers’ State, Part II

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“Dear Comrades!” won a special jury prize at the Venice film festival in September 2020. A one-hour promotional video follows Konchalovsky and Vysotskaya as they cavort through luxury locations in Venice between interviews. At one point, Vysotskaya goes down on her knees before Konchalovsky and bows to him as a “master.” These scenes are surreal when juxtaposed with the grim lives of the Russian workers who are the pretext of the film.

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Workers Against the Workers’ State, Part I

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The artistic qualities of “Dear Comrades!”, along with its superficial willingness to confront a tragic chapter of Russian history, have attracted glowing reviews from some Western critics and may win director Andrei Konchalovsky his coveted Oscar. But the film leaves a lot to be desired as a piece of historical analysis, and in its implications for state-society relations in Russia today.

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