Late and Post-Soviet Russian Literature: A Reader, Book I (Perestroika and the Post-Soviet Period)

Late and Post-Soviet Russian Literature: A Reader, Book I (Perestroika and the Post-Soviet Period)

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Edited by Mark Lipovetsky & Lisa Ryoko Wakamiya

Series: Cultural Syllabus
ISBN: 9781936235407 (hardcover) / 9781618113832 (paper)
Pages: 384 pp.
Publication Date: June 2014

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The first volume of Late and Post-Soviet Russian Literature: A Reader introduces a diverse spectrum of literary works from Perestroika to the present. It includes poetry, prose, drama and scholarly texts, many of which appear in English translation for the first time. The three sections, "Rethinking Identities," "'Little Terror' and Traumatic Writing," and "Writing Politics," address issues of critical relevance to contemporary Russian culture, history and politics. With its selection of texts and introductory essays Late and Post-Soviet Russian Literature: A Reader brings university curricula into the twenty-first century.

Mark Lipovetsky is professor of Russian Studies in the department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures and joint faculty member in the Comparative Literature Program at the University of Boulder. He is the author of Paralogies: The Transformations of (Post)Modern Discourse in Russian Culture of the 1920s2000s (2008) and Charms of Cynical Reason: Tricksters in Soviet and Post-Soviet Culture (2010).

Lisa Ryoko Wakamiya is associate professor in the department of Modern Languages and Linguistics at Florida State University. She is the author of Locating Exiled Writers in Contemporary Russian Literature (2009).


Both volumes provide a valuable addition to courses on late Soviet or post-Soviet literature and culture. They contain comprehensive collections of diverse materials and include texts that were not previously translated into English, in excellent translations and supplemented with footnotes, as well as previously published texts that are less familiar to American students. While both volumes have the same editors and provide new and exciting materials for courses in late Soviet and contemporary Russian culture, they differ substantially in their structure and content. Therefore, they present different advantages and challenges for being a course textbook or supplement ... Because it includes many key authors of the period, it could be used as a stand-alone course reader. Moreover, it contains a good balance of primary and secondary texts that provide additional historical and theoretical context ... Both readers present a compelling collection of materials and well-written introductory essays that might be interesting for a scholar of Russian Studies.
— Irina Anisimova, Miami University of Ohio, Russian Review no. 76 vol. 2 April 2017
[O]ffers an unrivaled collection of Russian literary works in English from the perestroika and early post-Soviet periods. The book also offers valuable secondary works of criticism by well-known scholars in contemporary Russian literature. . . . Late and Post-Soviet Literature offers an authentic, thoughtful, and carefully curated collection of texts and criticism, filling a need for works on this time period. It is an ideal text for use in an undergraduate course on contemporary Russian literature in translation, and, in fact, could be used alone for this purpose and/or in combination with full novels. If the first volume is any indication, we have much to look forward to in the second volume on the Thaw and Stagnation periods.
— Rachel Stauffer, Ferrum College, Slavic and East European Journal, 59.2 (Summer 2015)
Though its primary purpose, wonderfully fulfilled, is to serve as a core text for those teaching and studying contemporary Russian history, politics, culture, society and of course literature, this volume should be required reading for anyone wishing to understand and experience vicariously the shock-therapy of Russia’s recent identity crises. Primary texts by a number of the best-known and most important contemporary prose writers and poets (Petrushevskaya, Sorokin, Bykov, Rubinshtein, Fanailova and others) are supplemented by critical studies by a number of leading scholars of the latest instantiations of some of Russia’s ‘accursed questions.’ An exhilarating, sometimes exhausting guide to the passionate intensities and terrible beauties of post-Soviet culture.
— Andrew Reynolds, University of Wisconsin
This long-needed volume sets out an ambitious goal for itself—‘to capture the multiple voices and meanings that have emerged in the last several decades of cultural change in Russia’—and fulfills it in innovative ways. Its combination of primary and secondary sources, its editors’ skilled selection of authors and texts, and its impressive topical and chronological scope should make this reader an indispensable resource for students, teachers, and scholars of contemporary Russian culture.
— Seth Graham, University College London

Table of Contents


Part 1. Rethinking Identities
Excerpts from Dehexing Sex,
by Helena Goscilo
Perestroika or Domostroika?: The Construction of Womanhood under Glasnost
Inscribing the Female Body in Women’s Fiction: Stigmata and Stimulation

Liudmilla Petrushevskaya
The New Robinson Crusoes: A Chronicle of the End of the Twentieth Century
The Fountain House

Vera Pavlova
From If There is Something to Desire 

Linor Goralik
They Talk

Slava Mogutin 
Invitation to a Beheading
My First Man: Sentimental Vomit
Dreams Come True: Porn
We Were All Dying of the Same Diseases
The Triumph of the Family
The Death of Misha Beautiful

Oksana Robski
Excerpts from “Glamour a’la Oksana Robski,”
by Tatiana Mikhailova

Part 2. “Little Terror” and Traumatic Writing
Excerpts from “In the State of Post-Soviet Aphasia:
Symbolic Development in Contemporary Russia,”
by Serguei Oushakine

Excerpts from “Stories of the Undead in the Land of the Unburied:
Magical Historicism in Contemporary Russian Fiction,”
by Alexander Etkind

Lev Rubinshtein
Smoke of the Fatherland, or a Filter Gulag

Evgeny Grishkovets
How I Ate a Dog (excerpts) 

Elena Fanailova
From The Russian Version
“... Again they’re off for their Afghanistan...” 
Lena, or the Poet and the People

The Presnyakov Brothers
Terrorism (excerpts) 

Andrei Rodionov
“A beauty and junkie with long legs...” 
“Once a month, he fought or got beat up...” 
Excerpts from Overkill: Sex and Violence in Russian Popular Culture,
by Eliot Borenstein
Overkill: Bespredel and Gratuitous Violence
Honor among Thieves 

Part 3. Writing Politics
Vladimir Sorokin
“Russia is Slipping Back into an Authoritarian Empire”:
Spiegel Interview with Vladimir Sorokin
Victor Pelevin
Critical Responses to Generation ‘P’ (Homo Zapiens, 1999) 
Review of Generation ‘P,’
by Gregory Freidin
Russian Literary Postmodernism in the 1990s,
by Mark Lipovetsky 
Survival of the Catchiest: Memes and Postmodern Russia,
by Eliot Borenstein

Eduard Limonov
A Heroic Attitude to Life
Aleksandr Prokhanov
Mister Hexogen (excerpts) 
Excerpts from “The Legitimization of Ultra-Right Discoursein Contemporary Russian Literature,”
by Ilya Kukulin 
Sergei Lukyanenko
The Anti-Matrix (Take the Blue Pill),
by Aleksandr Tarasov

Boris Akunin
Excerpts from “A Country Resembling Russia”:
The Use of History in Boris Akunin’s Detective Novels,
by Elena V. Baraban

Dmitrii Bykov
The Fall