Beyond Tula: A Soviet Pastoral

Beyond Tula: A Soviet Pastoral


Andrei Egunov-Nikolev
Translated by Ainsley Morse

Series: Cultural Revolutions: Russia in the Twentieth Century
ISBN: 9781618119735 (paper)
Pages: approx. 200 pp.
Publication Date: May 2019


Andrei Egunov-Nikolev’s Beyond Tula is an uproarious romp through the earnestly boring and unintentionally campy world of early Soviet “production” prose, with its celebration of robust workers heroically building socialism. Combining burlesque absurdism and lofty references to classical and Russian High Modernist literature with a rather tongue-in-cheek plot about the struggles of an industrializing rural proletariat, this “Soviet pastoral” actually appeared in the official press in 1931 (though it was quickly removed from circulation). As a renegade classics scholar, Egunov was aware of the expressive potential latent in so-called “light genres”—Beyond Tula is a modernist pastoral jaunt that leaves the reader with plenty to ponder.

Ainsley Morse is a teacher, translator, and scholar of Slavic language and literatures, primarily Russian. She currently teaches at Pomona College.