Talk:Russian literature

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Aleksandr Nekrasov, as far as I can gather ([1]), was a philogist and professor, and not a major figure in Russian literature. If the author meant Nikolai Nekrasov (whom I have just added), then please delete the name.— Preceding unsigned comment added by KCargill (talkcontribs) 03:59, 11 July 2004 (UTC)

Feminist Stuff about Suicide in "golden age"[edit]

I really don't think that belongs. It is taking up over half of the space about the "golden age". At the very least, it needs to be presented not as fact, but as some academics' opinions, IMO — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:52, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

Absolutely. If this suicide discussion should be kept here, it should be squeezed to one paragraph in the best case. What is really missing in this section is a discussion of the major themes of the Golden Age like:

--Off-shell (talk) 20:17, 4 January 2014 (UTC)


This article should really be developed and then moved to History of Russian literature, and the current page remain as more of a general introduction to the highlights of Russian literature itself. Comments welcome. -- Simonides 08:21, 20 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I don't know, looking at American Literature the format seems mostly similar - a roughly chronological outline with section headers for variously lumped together authors and styles into loosely similar sections. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:51, 31 May 2016 (UTC)

I think that a major problem with the article is the way in which it simply lumps together Russian literature after the Russian revolution, into one huge 'block.' (The article says that is was 'sovietized.') As I understand it, there was no continuity between the literature and art of the early Russian revolution, and that of the stalinist reaction of late 1920's onward. Compare Trotsky's (a leader of the revolution and high figure in the early govt) comment that

"Art, like science not only does not seek orders, but by its very essence, cannot tolerate them...Truly intellectual creation is incompatible with lies, hypocrisy and the spirit of conformity." (Trotsky: Art and Revolution. New York: Pathfinder, 2003.)

with that of the stalinist govt and their views on'socialist realism.'

Simply saying the 'soviet era' fails to consider what actually took place during this 'era,'and thus cannot explain Russia literature and its development during the last hundred of so years.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by • 01:04, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

I basically agree. In one way though, there is a continuity. The beautiful earthiness and internal poetry of those authors who spanned both eras is identical. Only in the outward sense are their writings of after the 1920's different. It is only from the newer writers, just maturing in the 1920's, that one senses the ominous cheerfulness and wry stoicism of those who never knew the "Mother Russia" of Krylov and Paustovsky.
Shykee 02:03, 20 June 2006 (UTC)shykee

Bunin and Bulgakov should be mentioned in the first section. Bunin won the Nobel Prize in literature, IIRC.--Levalley (talk) 16:38, 19 March 2009 (UTC)Levalley

Americentric point of view?[edit]

While I am not a trained specialist in Russian literature (and thus would hesitate to edit the article myself), I am a native speaker and am fairly well-read in Russian literature and criticism. My opinion of the article is that, in its current form, it is somewhat Americentric: the writers emphasized are those most respected in America, and many great authors who simply do not translate well (or have not been well-translated) into English are given less attention than they deserve, based on their influence in the development of Russian literature.

For example, while Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky are the most visible Russian novelists abroad, most Russian writers and intellectuals (e.g., Nabokov) would probably cite Gogol as a much stronger influence than Dostoyevsky, who is generally less respected in Russia than in America.

In poetry, Akhmatova was NOT the most influential poet of the silver age (and certainly not of lyricism, as her poetry is among the less lyrical of the major figures of the time), and was generally considered (by Russian poets) an excellent poet, but much less influential than, e.g., Madelstam, who does not translate well into English.

Sozhenitsin is a very well-known dissident, and I mean nothing against him when I say that as _literature_, his work has not been as influential as that of other writers. This is not to say that he does not belong in the article; but the emphasis on him seems rather stronger than would be proportional to his influence.

I hope that someone who is an expert in Russian literature will take heed of my plea and edit the article to reflect a point of view more proper to the Russian tradition as it appears from within, rather than from without.

-George 23:01, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

George, I see no one replied to you in more than 2 years! I agree with you. Gogol should be mentioned in the first section. Solzhenitzin is over-emphasized here as a literary figure when he should be mentioned as secondary in literature - and Gogol should be much more emphasized. I'm not Russian (I'm an anthropologist who studies Russia, especially its literary traditions) but I know many, many Russians who agree with you and believe that the scholarly literature inside Russia agrees with you too.Levalley (talk) 16:41, 19 March 2009 (UTC)LeValley
For that matter Karamzin (essentially unknown in the US) is just kind of glided past his only relevance being stated as calling for the need of femininity in Russian lit, which is funny/insane because he's one of the primary building blocks for Russian Literature. Poor Liza, by Karamzin, is referenced by Russian authors again, and again, and again; also for you Dostoyevsky fans, this is who Liza is named after. I was reading Pnin by Nabokov not to long ago, and burst out laughing when I read Pnin's treacherous ex-wife's name was Liza. (Alcibiades979 (talk) 21:22, 22 May 2016 (UTC))


I changed the intro because it did not seem right to me to say so stridently about Russian literature declining under Soviet era. Yes I would agree 20th century literature did not have figures such as Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky - but by their standard what country wouldn't decline? Do we say English literature declined because there were no more Dickens or Shakespeare? Russia in the 20th century produced many great writers of poetry and prose. Certainly not all of them dissidents - and to call such as Pasternak a disident requires a very wide use of the term. A dissident cannot just mean someone who was, at one point in their life as against another, opposed to a regime. Solzhenitsyn okay - though whether one of the greatest Russian writers of the century is more a question. Or must we call Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky dissidents against tsarism? I think the intro was making a particular and here incorrect political statement.Stepyanov 02:31, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

Good work - but I think it should go even further. Who is the expert who knows when Russian literature "culminates"? It's true that most sane people would say that Tolstoy and Dostoevsky are the peak of Russian literary achievement, but to imply that in any sense they are the "culmination" of all that came previously (and everything sense is somehow related to them and a denouement) is to undermine both authors' views of history (especially Tolstoy's). At any rate, it needs a large number of citations. More neutral language (leading to...?) rather than language implying causality needs to be used. It would be better to be encyclopedic, that is, to simply mention pre-19th century authors, then major 19th century authors (including Bunin) then 20th century authors and allow readers to figure out on their own who resulted in whom. If some are to be held to be literary references to others (Tolstoy arose from someone else, for example), citations are needed - did Tolstoy actually read those Russian authors while writing, for example, War and Peace (there's quite a bit known about this) or not?Levalley (talk) 16:45, 19 March 2009 (UTC)LeValley

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Good call on changing the part about avant garde writers.[edit]

Referring to the removal of Iff and Petrov. They belong in the article but not under avant garde.Levalley (talk) 16:52, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

External influences in Russian literature[edit]

Did someone suggest that Burns is THE most important external influence on Russian literature? I for one didn't anything that said that he was THE most important influence, merely that he was and still is an influence. Saying that Burns does not merit inclusion in this wiki page is only POV. The info added regarding the influence of Burns in Russia is credible and has been fully referenced (unlike everything else currently in the Russian Literature wikpedia page). If you are able to provide references that say that Burns has had no influence in Russia then please provide those.

Anyone else who is aware of others from outside Russia who have influenced Russian literature, please also add them to this section. This section should be for others who have influenced Russian literature, not just Burns.

I welcome opinions from others and collaborative working on this of course.

Best wishes to all. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:55, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

External influences in Russian literature[edit]

Naming a section "External influences" in plural and giving just not the most one influence leads to distortion of the article. Imagine an article on Russian literature with just one writer mentioned - Lermontov or Platonov. Or, imagine an article about American literature with External influences section dedicated exclusively to Chekhov. Such an article instead of informing of real picture would create a perverse image of it. Same here, until the section is well-balanced it shouldn't exist at all. Otherwise you, willingly or not, mislead article reader and distort the picture just to serve your personal preferences.

If you will insist on adding the Burns section (because it's not an External Influences section but personal a Burns section) I will request protected status for the article. If you really want to help, make a research and create a balanced section. I would be the first to thank you.

Vryadly, 15.05.2009

External influences in Russian literature[edit]

Hi Vryaldy,

Of course there are other external influences on Russian Literature. Where did it say that the only influence was Burns? The info on Burns was added as a further subheading under the heading of 'External influences on Russian Literature'. My understanding was that the purpose odf wikipedia for people to work together as a team to add info? I've added the info on Burns; I invite you and other contributors to add info on the other influences

Best regards —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:50, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

Hi again Vryaldy,

Is there an independent forum in wikipedia where we can take this discussion to? Let's get the opinion of others. I am more than happy to listen to other as I am sure you will be also.

For info I have updated the article with a request for assistance from others in expanding the article.

All the best. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:05, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

External influences in Russian literature[edit]

Hi, I do not mind your last version of the section.

Vryadly (talk) 12:52, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

A journal info about the topic.....[edit] -- (talk) 23:26, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Factually incorrect statements[edit]

This article claims:

Other Soviet celebrities, such as Alexander Serafimovich, Nikolai Ostrovsky, Alexander Fadeyev, Fyodor Gladkov or Demyan Bedny have never been published by mainstream publishers after 1989.

This statement is not true. An edition of Fadyev's "Young Guard" was published in 2005[2]. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:07, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

New WikiProject[edit]


I think this subject allows a WikiProject on its own. See Wikipedia:WikiProject Council/Proposals/Russian literature. Yann (talk) 03:42, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

There is a task force, covering the subject: Wikipedia:WikiProject Russia/Language and literature of Russia task force. It was started about a month ago, and currently is in development. I think that we can do without a standalone project for now. I know just a few people whom I intend to ask to join the task force, and better leave it as a part of WikiProject Russia. GreyHood Talk 15:38, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

Chekhov the leader[edit]

gorky is not as important as chekhov and should be included with the 20th century leading figures of russian literature, not as a second wave leading prosaist next to chekhov.-- (talk) 23:13, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

I have restored an earlier version of this paragraph. The main problem I had with Gorky's deletion was the undue emphasis on Chekhov alone.Garik 11 (talk) 23:50, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

File:Tsvetaeva.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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Poor article[edit]

Particularly the section on 20th century literature is really bad. A lot of noteworthy authors have been omitted, while rubbish from Nabokov, Solzhenitsyn, Pasternak, etc are given undue prominence. There needs to be more attention given to Gorky, Mayakovsky, Sholokhov, Fadeyev, and especially Ostrovsky's highly influental "How the Steel was Tempered". SadSwanSong (talk) 06:55, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

This is your point of view. If you think they are really notable than the other (which I don't think, except for Gorky and Sholokhov), than be bold and do it yourself. Maybe they were popular in Russia, but not internationally. Regards.--GoPTCN 11:03, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
  • His point of view has much reason behind it, although it seems politically motivated. Unfortunately, speaking about Russia's XX century literature, people only want to see two political "sides", and few of them ask, what people were actually reading. Soviet Union was the home to many popular science fiction, mystery, historical fiction writers, children's writers, who were, and still are, very popular. I swear there are more people in Russia who know well and love A. and B. Strugatskies, Kir Bulychov, Yulian Semyonov, N. Nosov, A. M. Volkov and V. Pikul, their characters and their aphorisms, than any of these boring politicians pretending to be writers. (talk) 16:13, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Do we actually need this endless list in the very intro? It is quite enough to say Russian writers covered all genres of prose, poetry and drama, many were awarded Nobel prize and gained international recognition. This will also settle the question of political agenda disbalance, as such an intro will virtually cover all the genres.Garret Beaumain (talk) 20:34, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

Reading the article today, especially on the twentieth century, it seems a number of politically motivated changes have indeed been made. But there's only a brief closing mention of samizdat, which was a major strain in late twentieth century Russian literature, and nothing at all about the sorts of oppression visited on writers by the Writer's Union, and an assumption, questionable at best, that if a book sold several millions of copies, it must be worthwhile. Would such an assumption pass the sniff test in an article on, say, Britiish literature? Theonemacduff (talk) 15:22, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

  • Err... J. K. Rowling? Terry Pratchett? They're British, they sold millions of copies, so they're notable, and they're in the article British literature. The same standarts work for Russian lit. And for Soviet part of it, too. Russian literature is not only about politics, and so shouldn't be the article. (talk) 20:46, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

False statement[edit]

Other Soviet celebrities, such as Alexander Serafimovich, Nikolai Ostrovsky, Alexander Fadeyev, Fyodor Gladkov or Demyan Bedny have never been published by mainstream publishers after 1989.[citation needed]

Which is not true. There's an edition of Ostrovsky's book published in 2007[3]. Even in English, Fadeyev's work was published in the 2000s.[4] Moreover, it should be considered that a large portion of these authors works are permanently available as e-books on Russian sites.[5] SadSwanSong (talk) 20:57, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

Note User was banned as a sock account. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 06:03, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

Russian vs российский[edit]

Most Russian literary classics are actually non-Russian, but poles, jews, and other slavs. Kinda like most famous French today are actually non-French

  • First of all, the article is on Russian literature, a literature written in Russian language, not literature written by genetically 100% tested Eastern Slavs.
  • Second, there's no other definition of nationality but preferred language, unless you have Nazi racial theorists to measure if one's appearance fits what they consider a Russian appearance, or make genetic tests. A Russophone is presumably a Russian, unless the person himself says otherwise.
  • Third, you're simply wrong. Of Russian classics, very few were jews. You should learn History of the Jews in Russia. Until XX century they were deprived of many rights, and until mid-XIX they could not even enter Russian education institutions. And there was not a single Pole who would become a Russian classic. I only can recall an Ukrainian (Gogol), some jews (Ilf and Petrov, Olesha, Babel, Mandelstam, possibly Strugatskies), and Pushkin had 1/8 of Ethiopian blood with 7/8 of Russian. The rest in the article are of Russian descent. Garret Beaumain (talk) 18:58, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
Alexander Grin had Polish father.Xx236 (talk) 11:42, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
Brodsky was Jewish.Xx236 (talk) 11:43, 5 July 2016 (UTC)


This article should be renamed "Russian language literature" to distinguish it from the literature of Russia which is not all in Russian anyway.-MacRùsgail (talk) 11:13, 30 March 2014 (UTC)

  • Your proposal is pointless. "Russian literature" stands for literature in Russian language, just as French literature stands for literature in French language. And there are very few renowned writers in Russia who write in laguages other than Russian. (Russophone writers from outside Russia's current borders are way more usual than other way round). Beaumain (talk) 12:34, 30 March 2014 (UTC)
No it isn't "pointless" as you put it. On the one hand, you have a quasi-colonial assumption that non-Russians writing in Russian are "Russian literature", when in fact they are producing Russian language literature. There is plenty of literature from Russia in other languages, including Church Slavonic and even Latin. These kind of titles essentially portray a kind of hegemony. Plenty of Russian-language literature has been written by Ukrainians, and given the current situation, I think it would be inept to describe it as purely "Russian".
And for what it's worth, I have put the exact same complaint on French literature, and worse English literature, which attempt to blur the line between literature in that language, and literature from those countries. Scottish literature in English is not "English literature", but "English language literature". Quebecois literature is in French, but is not French.--MacRùsgail (talk) 13:17, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
Your arguments are politically driven. You try to force the agenda of what you call "current situation" on a millenium-spanning topic. The name of the article is not related to some "hegemony" or political body. It is based on what researchers call it, and they call it that way because "Russian literature" simply stands for "literature written in Russian". And you don't seem to know much about Russian literature. There's close to zero books from Russia that were originally written in Latin. You have better chances finding books in Tatar or in other regional language. Beaumain (talk) 17:06, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
@Beaumain: No, my arguments are not "politically driven" as you put it. I think there should be clear distinctions between the literature of a state/country and that in a certain language - literature from Russia and Russian language literature are definitely not the same. Emigre Russian language literature has been written for years for example, predating the break-up of the Soviet Union or even the Revolution, and due to the sheer size of Russia, it has been very diverse linguistically too. -MacRùsgail (talk) 16:45, 16 May 2015 (UTC)
Why do you even believe that Russian literature stands for "literature from Russia" in first place? You should have checked other similar articles like French literature, Chinese literature, Arabic literature and the like. They do not refer to a literature of a certain state or country. Neither does this.Beaumain (talk) 13:27, 17 May 2015 (UTC)
Compare French literature described in the infobox as French and Francophone literature.
Here you can find Russian flag instead.
Vasil Bykaŭ - one of his books is reommended in contemporary Russia for schools. He was bilingual, I don't know which books were written in which language.Xx236 (talk) 12:59, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
Chinghiz Aitmatov bilingual.Xx236 (talk) 13:01, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

Use of Golden Age/Silver Age[edit]

These are kind of abstract terms that hail back to Ancient Rome, and while I have seen them used before they seem increasingly antiquated when speaking of Russian Literature. They're also quite subjective. I certainly wouldn't throw someone out of my house for saying they preferred Yesenin to Lermontov. So I was thinking maybe these could be put in to context, or nixed. (Alcibiades979 (talk) 21:04, 22 May 2016 (UTC))

Writers such as Victor Hugo and Honoré de Balzac were widely influential[edit]

Yes, they were widely influential, in many countries. Unsourced.Xx236 (talk) 11:38, 5 July 2016 (UTC)