Series Feature: Cultural Syllabus

This is a guest post by Mark Lipovetsky, editor of the Cultural Syllabus book series.

The series “Cultural Syllabus” comprises critical readers and anthologies of primary and secondary texts for a broad variety of undergraduate courses in Russian Studies, including literature, film, and cultural history.  Books in this series are typically edited by experienced college and university instructors, who convert their course materials into source books for colleagues and students. Additionally, these books serve as introductions to their given subjects for a general readership.

Our series published its first book in 2011. Since then 11 more books have appeared. Cultural Syllabus was initially intended to produce readers for popular college courses in Russian literature and culture. And it did produce such readers—three volumes of our most popular reader on Soviet and post-Soviet cinema (by Rimgaila Salys), readers on the history of Russian literature (on modernism by Irene Masing-Delic, and on avant-garde by Dennis Ioffe and Fredric White), two volumes on contemporary Russian literature (by Lisa Wakamiya and Mark Lipovetsky), and critical readers on Dostoevsky (by Katherine Bowers, Connor Doak, and Kate Holland) and Soviet science fiction (Anindita Banerjee).

Immediately appearing in paperbacks, affordable and diverse, these books are tailored for undergraduate courses!

The series also included anthologies of Russian literature in translation—see, for example, Sibelan Forrester and Martha Kelly’s excellent anthology of Russian Silver Age poetry, or two volumes of anthologies of Russian short stories, the most recent of which appeared in September and consists entirely of stories written and published in the twenty-first century (21: Russian Short Prose from an Odd Century).

Permanent Evolution by Yuri Tynianov (transl. by Ainsley Morse and Philip Redko) opens a new direction in the development of the series. Not only this is the first volume of Tynianov’s work in English—a pioneering initiative by itself—and useful for many courses in Russian and Slavic Studies, but this book also has good chances to reach out beyond our discipline.

In the making are new volumes of collected works by Mikhail Bakhtin and Yuri Lotman, along with new critical readers.

We will be more than happy to discuss ideas for all three areas: critical readers, anthologies, and translations of Russian theorists. Looking toward the future, we are looking for those heroic colleagues who would take upon themselves the hard but necessary work of making critical readers to accompany the most widely-taught courses and subjects—such as introductions to Russian culture (different periods); nineteenth-century literature; Russian fairy tales; frequently taught authors like Pushkin, Gogol, Tolstoy, Bulgakov, and Pelevin—to name just a few. Together, let’s equip our field with books that undergraduates will enjoy reading and our colleagues will enjoy teaching.

Titles in This Series

Permanent Evolution: Selected Essays on Literature, Theory and Film

Yuri Tynianov
Translated and edited by Ainsley Morse & Philip Redko
With an introduction by Daria Khitrova

Yuri Tynianov was a key figure of Russian Formalism, an intellectual movement in early 20th century Russia that also included Viktor Shklovsky and Roman Jakobson. Tynianov developed a groundbreaking conceptualization of literature as a system within—and in constant interaction with—other cultural and social systems. His essays on Russian literary classics, like Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin and works by Dostoevsky and Gogol, as well as on the emerging art form of filmmaking, provide insight into the ways art and literature evolve and adapt new forms of expression. Although Tynianov was first a scholar of Russian literature, his ideas transcend the boundaries of any one genre or national tradition. Permanent Evolution gathers together for the first time Tynianov’s seminal articles on literary theory and film, including several articles never before translated into English.  

21: Russian Short Prose from an Odd Century

Edited by Mark Lipovetsky

This collection of Russian short stories from the 21st century includes works by famous writers and young talents alike, representing a diversity of generational, gender, ethnic and national identities. Their authors live not only in Russia, but also in Europe and the US. Short stories in this volume display a vast spectrum of subgenres, from grotesque absurdist stories to lyrical essays, from realistic narratives to fantastic parables. Taken together, they display rich and complex cultural and intellectual reality of contemporary Russia, in which political, social, and ethnic conflicts of today coexist with themes and characters resonating with classical literature, albeit invariably twisted and transformed in an unpredictable way. Most of texts in this volume appear in English for the first time. 21 may be useful for college courses but will also provide exciting reading for anyone interested in contemporary Russia.

A Dostoevskii Companion: Texts and ContextsEdited by Katherine Bowers, Connor Doak, and Kate Holland

A Dostoevskii Companion: Texts and Contexts

Edited by Katherine Bowers, Connor Doak, and Kate Holland

Russian Silver Age Poetry: Texts and ContextsEdited and introduced by Sibelan E.S. Forrester & Martha M.F. Kelly

Russian Silver Age Poetry: Texts and Contexts

Edited and introduced by Sibelan E.S. Forrester & Martha M.F. Kelly

50 Writers: An Anthology of 20th Century Russian Short StoriesEdited by Valentina Brougher & Mark Lipovetsky | Translated by Valentina Brougher, Mark Lipovetsky, & Frank Miller

50 Writers: An Anthology of 20th Century Russian Short Stories

Edited by Valentina Brougher & Mark Lipovetsky | Translated by Valentina Brougher, Mark Lipovetsky, & Frank Miller