Fifty-Five Years with Russia

Fifty-Five Years with Russia


Magnus Ljunggren

Series: Studies in Russian and Slavic Literatures, Cultures, and History
ISBN: 9781618115386 (paperback)
Pages: 104 pp.; 8 b&w illus.; 7 color illus.
Publication Date: October 2016

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The academic career of internationally recognized Professor of Slavic Studies Magnus Ljunggren spans more than a half century. Here he looks back over his meetings with prominent members of the Russian intelligentsia who from the liberalizing XXII Party Congress in 1961 and down to the present have in various forms struggled with the totalitarian structures of Soviet and post-Soviet  society.  As a literary scholar Ljunggren has focused on Andrei Bely’s novel Petersburg, Russian Symbolism, and Russian Silver Age literature and culture.  His memoirs reflect on how his study of Symbolism and his commitment to the Russian civil rights movement over the years have stimulated each other and contributed to a deeper understanding of Russia’s distinctive character.  Ljunggren’s gallery of intimate and colorful portraits of prominent cultural figures includes Bulat Okudzhava, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Joseph Brodsky, Viktor Shklovsky, Lidia Chukovskaya, and Nina Berberova.

Magnus Ljunggren defended his doctoral thesis, “The Dream of Rebirth: A Study of Andrej Belyj’s Novel Peterburg,” at Stockholm University in 1982. He is presently professor emeritus of Russian language and literature at the University of Gothenburg. His most important monograph is The Russian Mephisto: A Study of the Life and Work of Emilii Medtner (1994).


Magnus Ljunggren’s history allows us to revisit many lesser-known chapters from the cultural history of Russia’s twentieth century. Like an experienced stage director, in his emotionally charged narrative he shows the interconnections between the history of culture and the struggle for intellectual freedom. The author selects his details masterfully, avoiding polemics and describing famous artists and scholars who, in the face of difficult circumstances, did not betray their ideals. Ljunggren’s book is a valuable witness testimony to the era.
— Fedor B. Poljakov, Professor of Russian and East-European Literature, University of Vienna