History of Russian Literature

Topics: Russia, Russian literature, Soviet Union Pages: 9 (3312 words) Published: December 14, 2005
It could be said that Russian literature did not rise to a powerful and meaningful media until the 17th century, when the Russian literary language underwent drastic changes due to the influence of contacts with the West; and as a result it incorporated elements of Greek, Latin, Polish, German, French, and most recently, English vocabulary and syntax. While on the same account, there is two sections of this sort of evolved storytelling, one being Russian literature that a person might learn in the classroom, while the other is for the ‘uneducated' as oral-tellings, and urban folklore, usually told as in prose and poetic forms. And while the stories that are orally told within a community can be just as powerful and widespread as any published literary work, that is not what this paper is intending to address. As the published authors represent all the stories and individuals who have been unable to tell their stories, these authors are those that were able to not only experience and reflect upon history, but give back to it, being immortalized forever in their writings.

And so now, newly inspired, Russian literature of the 18th century came a great way in its development: from classicism to sentimentalism (and often times nostalgia), from an ideal of enlightened monarch to intimate feelings of an individual. While the beginning of this new century was rather violent for Russia, with the creation of a navy (an outlet for wars to be fought now at sea, as well as on land), the development of trade and a growing industry now was a growing national consciousness and concern. A Russian classicism came flowing in along with foreigners, their ideas and began the development under the influence of the Age of Enlightenment.

Therefore the main hero in this enlightened literature was often an educated monarch or an ideal citizen who embodied Peter the Great's ideals, often represented in liberty, order, and harmony. The writings would often praise that which was public over private, an intellect over feelings, an order over chaos, and a civilization over nature. But by the middle of the 18th century, many of the people realized that the educated regent ideal was far from real life, and this more or less angered the people. As the people have been fed the prospect of a visionary society, it was far from ever happening, outside the realm of fictional books.

The seed was planted, and the newly accessible writings of both domestic and international authors became available, it inspired the leaders of Russia to become one of the first world powers. But a peasant war (1773-1775), led by Pugachev showed those uncompromising contradictions that were between ruling class and powerless people. A basic principle of enlighten ideology about absolutism as the only rational power failed.

Then there was a new literary sentiment formed, (sample of authors such as: Kheraskov, Muraviev, Karamzin, Dmitriev) known as sentimentalists. This sort of literature was distinguish by the increasing interest to understand the inward life of human being. Sentimentalists thought that from birth, human beings are kind, without detestation, treachery or cruelty. The main topics in these literary works during this time was to uplift soul and achieve moral excellence. Therefore sensitivity was considered to be the basic source of virtue, that is why all verses were full of compassion, melancholy and sorrow. The first of these took the form of lyric poems, songs, and romances. But both classicism and sentimentalism suffered from the narrow focus because neither were able to emulate exactly what it meant to have an individuals inner integrity.

Finally in the 19th century, there was a "Golden Age" to Russian literature. As the literary works of this time were unique as an untaped source that can not be compared to anything else.
Starting in the 1820's, various concepts were developed in Russia that applied a relationship between history and national...

Cited: Babel, Isaac. The Collected Stories. Meridian : New American Library. 1955.
Bulgakov, Mikhail. The Mater and Margarita. Penguin : Twentieth-Century Classics. 1997.
Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Notes From the Underground. Bantam Classics. 1981.
Erodeev, Venedikt. Moscow to the End of the Line. Northwestern University Press. 1980.
Fitzpatrick, Sheila. The Russian Revolution. Oxford University Press. 1994.
Gogol, Nicolai V. The Overcoat: And other Tales of Good and Evil. W. W. Norton & Company. 1957.
Plantonov, Andrey. The Foundation Pit. Northwestern University Press. 2000.
Riasanovsky, Nicholas V. A History Og Russia. Oxford University Press. 2000.
Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr. 20th Century Day By Day. Dorling Kindersley. 2000.
Terras, Victor. Diachrony and Synchrony in Writing Russian Literary History. Sign System Studies vol 27, pages 271-291. 1999 (c)
May 19, 2003.
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Essay on Russian Literature
  • history Essay
  • History of Essays
  • history Essay
  • HISTORY Essay
  • history Essay
  • history Essay
  • history Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free