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Russian literature,literary works mainly produced in the historic area of Russia, written in its earliest days in Church Slavonic and after the 17th cent. in the Russian language.
Russian literature was first produced after the introduction of Christianity from Byzantium in the 10th cent. Byzantine influence, which suffused the culture of Kievan RusKievan Rus
, medieval state of the Eastern Slavs. It was the earliest predecessor of modern Ukraine and Russia. Flourishing from the 10th to the 13th cent., it included nearly all of present-day Ukraine and Belarus and part of NW European Russia, extending as far N as Novgorod
..... Click the link for more information. , explains the adoption of Church SlavonicChurch Slavonic,
language belonging to the South Slavic group of the Slavic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Slavic languages). Although it is still the liturgical language of most branches of the Orthodox Eastern Church, Church Slavonic is extinct today
..... Click the link for more information. as the religious and literary language. Early Church Slavonic literature was overwhelmingly religious in character and didactic in intent, although some movement toward a literary purpose marked the chronicles attributed to the friar NestorNestor
, d. 1115?, Russian chronicler. A monk in a Kiev monastery, he wrote a life of saints Boris and Gleb and of the prior of his monastery St. Feodosi. Until recently the authorship of the Russian Primary Chronicle, also known as The Tale of Bygone Years
..... Click the link for more information. . More original were the bylinybyliny
[Rus.,=what has happened], Russian scholarly term first applied in the 1840s to a great body of narrative and heroic poems. They are called by the folk stariny [Rus.,=what is old].
..... Click the link for more information. , oral folk lays, which fused Christian and pagan traditions and at times achieved the level of great epic poetry.
The first written masterpiece of Russian literature was The Song of Igor's Campaign (c.1187; see IgorIgor
, d. 945, duke of Kiev (912–45), successor of Oleg as ruler of Kievan Rus. According to the Russian Primary Chronicle, a medieval history, Igor was the son of Rurik, founder of the Russian princely line.
..... Click the link for more information. ), which towered above the general cultural desolation under Tatar domination. A few notable sermons and lives of saints were written in this period, and in the early 15th cent. the priest Sophonia of Ryazan wrote the epic Beyond the River Don to commemorate the victory over the Tatars at Kulikovo (1380). Athanasy Nikitin (d. 1472) wrote a distinguished account of his Journey beyond Three Seas to distant lands.
The rise of the grand duchy of Moscow and the overthrow of the Tatars was followed by an expansion of literary activity, still largely in a religious vein. Russian literature in general was hampered by the autocratic regime of the czars and by political and religious turmoil, although these conditions generated the few exceptional works of the 16th and 17th cent. The recriminatory correspondence between Czar Ivan IV and Prince Andrei Mikhailovich Kurbsky (c.1528–83), who had deserted to the Poles, showed polemical and linguistic mastery. The great schism that rent the Russian Church in the mid-17th cent. produced the memorable autobiography of the archpriest Avvakum (martyred 1682), the first work in colloquial Russian.
Western Influence: The Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries
Western influence was manifest in the 17th cent. in numerous translations and in the establishment (1662) of the first theater in Russia. Under Peter I the Westernizing process was enormously accelerated; at the same time the Russian alphabet was revised and Russian works began to be published in the vernacular. Close contact with Europe began a century of the application of Western literary modes to Russian materials.
Prince Antioch Kantemir (1708–44) blended European neoclassicism with portraiture of Russian life and wrote poetry in the syllabic system common to French and Polish. Poetry in tonic form, more suitable to Russian, was written by V. K. TredyakovskyTredyakovsky, Vasily Kirilovich
, 1703–69, Russian poet, translator, and scholar. Tredyakovsky rose from humble origins to membership in the Academy of Sciences and a position as court poet, only to die in poverty and obscurity.
..... Click the link for more information. and was brought to a brilliant level by M. V. LomonosovLomonosov, Mikhail Vasilyevich
, 1711–65, Russian scientist, scholar, and writer, an outstanding figure in 18th-century Russia. Lomonosov was the son of a prosperous fisherman. Concealing his peasant background, he obtained an extraordinarily broad education.
..... Click the link for more information. . A. P. SumarokovSumarokov, Aleksandr Petrovich
, 1718–77, Russian dramatist and poet. Sumarokov wrote fables, satires, lyrics, and comic odes in the classical style. His Khorev (1747) and Tresotinius (1750) were respectively the first classical tragedy and comedy in Russian.
..... Click the link for more information. , the founder of Russian drama, combined European forms and Russian themes in his fables and plays.
The literature of the reign of Catherine II revealed the influence of the European Enlightenment. Catherine's own dramas compounded classical style and satirical tone, as did the journals of N. I. NovikovNovikov, Nikolai Ivanovich
, 1744–1818, Russian journalist and publisher. In 1769, with the Drone, he started the vogue of the satirical magazine modeled on Addison's Spectator.
..... Click the link for more information. and the grandiose odes of G. R. Derzavhin. Satire was combined with realistic motifs in the plays of D. I. Fonzivin (1745–92), author of Russia's first truly national drama, The Minor (produced 1782), and in the fables of I. I. Khemnitser. Near the end of the century the beginning of political radicalism was given expression in tandem with Rousseauean sentimentalism by A. N. Radishchev. Sentimentality was developed by Vladislav Ozerov (1769–1816) in the drama and found its principal prose exponent in Nikolai Karamzin, who also initiated the Russian short story.
Romanticism and Modern Style: The Early Nineteenth Century
V. A. ZhukovskyZhukovsky, Vasily Andreyevich
, 1783–1852, Russian poet and translator. Zhukovsky wrote fine lyrics and odes, including the patriotic poem "The Bard in the Camp of the Russian Warriors" (1812), but is important chiefly for his translations.
..... Click the link for more information. introduced European romantic idealism into Russian poetry. Increasing interest in national characteristics was expressed in the fables of I. A. KrylovKrylov, Ivan Andreyevich
, 1769–1844, Russian fabulist. Some of his more than 200 fables were adapted from Aesop and La Fontaine, but most were original. A moralist, Krylov used popular language to satirize human weaknesses, social customs, and political events.
..... Click the link for more information. , and literary nationalism rose to a high pitch during the wars against Napoleon I. In the 1820s a modern Russian literary style, realistic and nationally conscious, if to some degree shaded by romanticism and by European influence, was advanced by the versatile Aleksandr PushkinPushkin, Aleksandr Sergeyevich
, 1799–1837, Russian poet and prose writer, among the foremost figures in Russian literature. He was born in Moscow of an old noble family; his mother's grandfather was Abram Hannibal, the black general of Peter the Great.
..... Click the link for more information. , generally considered the greatest of Russian poets. M. Y. LermontovLermontov, Mikhail Yurevich
, 1814–41, Russian poet and novelist. Given an extensive private education by his wealthy grandmother, Lermontov began writing poetry when he was 14.
..... Click the link for more information. 's poetry maintained this stylistic excellence for a brief time. The despair detailed in the works of the romantic poet and novelist Yevgeny Baratinsky reflects the repressive atmosphere that existed under Czar Nicholas I.
In the 1830s cultural schism was manifested in the conflict between Slavophiles and WesternizersSlavophiles and Westernizers,
designation for two groups of intellectuals in mid-19th-century Russia that represented opposing schools of thought concerning the nature of Russian civilization. The differences between them, however, were not always clear cut.
..... Click the link for more information. ; the leader of the Westernizers, the critic V. G. BelinskyBelinsky, Vissarion Grigoryevich
, 1811–48, Russian writer and critic. He was prominent in the group that believed Russia's hope to lie in following European patterns.
..... Click the link for more information. , stressed the importance of literature's relationship to national life, thus furthering the development of Russian literary realism. Nikolai GogolGogol, Nikolai Vasilyevich
, 1809–52, Russian short-story writer, novelist, and playwright, sometimes considered the father of Russian realism. Of Ukrainian origin, he first won literary success with fanciful and romantic tales of his native Ukraine in
..... Click the link for more information. , considered the primary initiator of realistic prose, also revealed aspects of romantic and morbid fantasy in his satirical and humanitarian tales. At mid-century a merciless realism, not devoid of humor, was developed by I. A. GoncharovGoncharov, Ivan Aleksandrovich
, 1812–91, Russian novelist. Goncharov was a government official from 1835 to 1867. His realistic and satirical novel Oblomov (1858, tr. 1929, 2010) is a portrayal of the indolent nobleman common in Russia c.1860.
..... Click the link for more information. , while A. N. OstrovskyOstrovsky, Aleksandr Nikolayevich
, 1823–86, Russian dramatist. Ostrovsky's first play, The Bankrupt (1847; reworked as It's a Family Affair, 1850), was widely read but was banned from the stage.
..... Click the link for more information. , who first made the merchant world a subject of Russian literary works, wrote a vast number of plays, most of which are no longer performed. The poetry of F. I. Tyuchev conferred philosophic significance upon everyday events. N. A. NekrasovNekrasov, Nikolai Alekseyevich
, 1821–78, Russian poet, editor, and publisher. Nekrasov began writing poetry when he was seven. Disowned by his brutal father for entering the university, he lived in poverty for many years.
..... Click the link for more information. created verses of social purpose.
An Age of Masterpieces: Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries
The works of Russia's golden age of prose literature were written against a background of czarist autocracy. Falling generally within the realist framework, the masterworks of this era exhibit a strong bent toward mysticism, brooding introspection, and melodrama. I. S. TurgenevTurgenev, Ivan Sergeyevich
, 1818–83, Russian novelist, dramatist, and short-story writer, considered one of the foremost Russian writers. He came from a landowning family in Orel province, and his cruel, domineering mother was a great influence on his life.
..... Click the link for more information. achieved world stature with sophisticated novels that were profoundly critical of Russian society. Great critical and popular acclaim were bestowed upon the tormented genius and moral and religious idealism expressed in the works of Feodor DostoyevskyDostoyevsky or Dostoevsky, Feodor Mikhailovich
, 1821–81, Russian novelist, one of the towering figures of world literature.
..... Click the link for more information. , and upon the monumental, socially penetrating novels of Leo TolstoyTolstoy, Leo, Count,
Rus. Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoi (lyĕf), 1828–1910, Russian novelist and philosopher, considered one of the world's greatest writers.
..... Click the link for more information. ; these two authors stand among the giants of world literature. With the brilliantly sensitive stories and plays of Anton ChekhovChekhov, Anton Pavlovich
, 1860–1904, Russian short-story writer, dramatist, and physician, b. Taganrog. The son of a grocer and grandson of a serf, Chekhov earned enduring international acclaim for his stories and plays.
..... Click the link for more information. the golden age essentially came to a close, passing into a time noted for poetic works.
A reaction against realism manifested itself in the rise of symbolism, which flourished from the 1890s to about 1910 in the works of Feodor SologubSologub, Feodor
, pseud. of Feodor Kuzmich Teternikov,
1863–1927, Russian poet and prose writer. By profession a schoolteacher and as a poet one of the older symbolists, he began his literary career in 1896 with a volume of verse, a collection of tales, and a
..... Click the link for more information. , V. K. Brynsov, I. F. AnnenskyAnnensky, Innokenty Feodorovich
, 1856–1909, Russian poet. A classical scholar, he translated Euripides before he began to publish verse in 1904. His highly metrical lyrics concern death, suffering, and beauty.
..... Click the link for more information. , Andrei BelyBely, Andrei
, pseud. of Boris Nikolayevich Bugayev
, 1880–1934, Russian writer. A leading symbolist, he had a close but stormy relationship with Aleksandr Blok.
..... Click the link for more information. , A. A. BlokBlok, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich
, 1880–1921, Russian poet, considered the greatest of the Russian symbolists. As the leading disciple of Vladimir Soloviev, he voiced both mysticism and idealistic passion in an early cycle of love poems, Verses about the Lady Beautiful
..... Click the link for more information. , K. D. BalmontBalmont, Konstantin Dmitrieyevich
, 1867–1943, Russian poet and translator. After first hailing the Bolshevik revolution, he repudiated it and lived chiefly in France, where he died destitute and forgotten.
..... Click the link for more information. , and A. M. RemizovRemizov, Aleksey Mikhailovich
, 1877–1957, Russian novelist, short-story writer, and painter. Remizov's emphasis on style, especially his ornamentation of colloquial speech, influenced many Soviet writers (e.g., Babel and Pilnyak).
..... Click the link for more information. . The reaction was also evident in the religious and philosophical works of Vladimir SolovievSoloviev, Vladimir Sergeyevich
, 1853–1900, Russian religious philosopher and poet; son of Sergei Mikhailovich Soloviev. Soloviev believed in the incarnation of divine wisdom in a being called Sophia, a concept that greatly influenced the young symbolist poets, especially
..... Click the link for more information. and in the historical novels of D. S. MerezhkovskyMerezhkovsky, Dmitri Sergeyevich
, 1865–1941, Russian critic and novelist. His principal critical study is Tolstoi as Man and Artist; with an Essay on Dostoievsky (1901–2, tr.
..... Click the link for more information. .
In 1912 the Acmeist school, led by N. S. GumilevGumilev, Nikolai Stepanovich
, 1886–1921, Russian poet. With his wife, the poet Anna Akhmatova, and Gorodetsky Gumilev, he founded the Acmeist school of poetry in 1912.
..... Click the link for more information. and S. M. Gorodetsky, proclaimed a return to more concrete poetic imagery. The poets Osip MandelstamMandelstam, Osip Emilyevich
, 1892–1938, Russian poet. Mandelstam was a leader of the Acmeist school. He wrote impersonal, fatalistic, meticulously constructed poems, the best of which are collected in Kamen [stone] (1913) and Tristia (1922).
..... Click the link for more information. and Anna AkhmatovaAkhmatova, Anna
, pseud. of Anna Andreyevna Gorenko
, 1888–1966, Russian poet of the Acmeist school. Her brief lyrics, simply and musically written in the tradition of Pushkin, attained great popularity. Her themes were personal, emotional, and often ironic.
..... Click the link for more information. belonged to this group also. In fiction the outstanding figures included V. M. GarshinGarshin, Vsevolod Mikhailovich
, 1855–88, Russian short-story writer. "Four Days" (1877), his story of a wounded soldier's ordeal in battle, first won him fame. "The Scarlet Blossom" (1833), about a madman's efforts to destroy the evil he saw in a flower, is considered his
..... Click the link for more information. and V. G. KorolenkoKorolenko, Vladimir Galaktionovich
, 1853–1921, Russian short-story writer and publicist. A member of a Populist circle, he was arrested in 1879 and exiled to Siberia until 1885. There he wrote many of his lyrical tales, notable for their descriptions of desolate nature.
..... Click the link for more information. . Maxim GorkyGorky, Maxim or Maksim
[Rus.,=Maxim the Bitter], pseud. of Aleksey Maximovich Pyeshkov,
1868–1936, Russian writer, b. Nizhny Novgorod (named Gorky, 1932–91).
..... Click the link for more information. dominated fictional literature just prior to the Revolution of 1917. His passionate realism was echoed in the stories and dramas of his disciple Leonid AndreyevAndreyev, Leonid Nikolayevich
, 1871–1919, Russian writer. Andreyev's early stories were realistic studies of everyday life. Gorky was attracted by the note of social protest in his work and used his influence to obtain publication of Andreyev's first volume of short
..... Click the link for more information. , while Ivan BuninBunin, Ivan Alekseyevich
, 1870–1953, Russian writer. Born of a poor aristocratic family, he was encouraged in his literary precocity. His first volume of verse was published in 1891. He traveled extensively, writing while working as a librarian and statistician.
..... Click the link for more information. , also a member of Gorky's circle, wrote in a more conservative realistic vein.
Soviet Literature, 1917–39
After the triumph of the Bolsheviks in the Russian Revolution (1917), many writers emigrated and were active abroad (Bunin, KuprinKuprin, Aleksandr Ivanovich
, 1870–1938, Russian novelist and short-story writer. Kuprin was an army officer for several years before he resigned to pursue a writing career. He won fame with The Duel (1905, tr.
..... Click the link for more information. , Merezhkovsky, AldanovAldanov, Mark
, pseud. of Mark Aleksandrovich Landau
, 1886–1957, Russian writer. Aldanov earned degrees in chemistry and law. He took part in the Revolution of 1917, after which he emigrated to France, where he wrote novels about social conflict.
..... Click the link for more information. , and Vladimir NabokovNabokov, Vladimir
, 1899–1977, Russian-American author, b. St. Petersburg, Russia. He emigrated to England after the Russian Revolution of 1917 and graduated from Cambridge in 1922. He moved to the United States in 1940.
..... Click the link for more information. , among others). Some writers remained in Russia but published no new works; others became Communists; some adapted their talents to the needs of the new system while remaining partly aloof from its doctrines. Literary forms developed under the Bolshevik regime were at first similar to those appearing in Western Europe at the same time. In the first period after the revolution (to 1921) poetry flourished; principal figures included the symbolist Blok, the imagist S. A. Yesenin, and the iconoclast V. V. MayakovskyMayakovsky, Vladimir Vladimirovich
, 1893–1930, Russian poet and dramatist. Mayakovsky was a leader of the futurist school in 1912, and he was later the chief poet of the revolution. His lyrics are highly original in rhythm, rhyme, and imagery.
..... Click the link for more information. . The older novelist Boris PilnyakPilnyak, Boris
, pseud. of Boris Andreyevich Vogau
, 1894–1937?, Russian novelist and short-story writer. Pilnyak first attracted wide attention with his novel The Naked Year (1921, tr.
..... Click the link for more information. chronicled the new scene, and Isaac BabelBabel, Isaac Emmanuelovich
, 1894–1940, Russian writer, b. Odessa. Babel was quick to embrace the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, but in the end it was the regime born of that revolution that destroyed him.
..... Click the link for more information. wrote colorful short stories.
In the era of the New Economic Policy (1922–28) there was much debate over literary dictatorship, with the "On Guard" group arguing for it and the Mayakovsky group against it. The Serapion Brothers (a group including K. A. FedinFedin, Konstantin Aleksandrovich
, 1892–1977, Russian novelist. Fedin was interned in Germany during World War I and returned to Russia in 1918. His first novels, Cities and Years (1924) and The Brothers
..... Click the link for more information. , M. M. ZoshchenkoZoshchenko, Mikhail Mikhailovich
, 1895–1958, Soviet humorist. Zoshchenko was born in Poltava, but spent most of his life in St. Petersburg where he attended the university.
..... Click the link for more information. , Vsevolod IvanovIvanov, Vsevolod Vyacheslavovich
, 1895–1963, Russian short-story writer, novelist, and dramatist, b. Siberia. Ivanov had an adventurous early life as a sailor, circus performer, fakir, and partisan fighter.
..... Click the link for more information. , V. A. KaverinKaverin, Veniamin Aleksandrovich
, 1902–89, Russian novelist and short-story writer. He was a member of the literary group that called itself the Serapion Brothers, and he expounded that circle's creed of independence of art from politics in the story
..... Click the link for more information. , Yevgeny Zamyatin, and Lev Lunts) proclaimed their credo of artistic independence, and the formalists emphasized the structure of a poem rather than its content. This period saw the rebirth of the novel in the satirical works of Ilya IlfIlf, Ilya Arnoldovich
, 1897–1937, Russian humorist whose original name was Ilya Arnoldovich Fainzilberg. In all his writing he collaborated with Yevgeny Petrovich Katayev (1903–42), who used the pseudonym Yevgeny Petrov and was a younger brother of the writer
..... Click the link for more information. and Y. P. PetrovPetrov, Yevgeny Petrovich
, 1903–42, Russian writer and journalist; brother of the dramatist Valentin P. Katayev. His original name was Yevgeny Petrovich Katayev. Petrov collaborated with Ilya Arnoldovich Ilf on various satirical novels, including
..... Click the link for more information. and in the psychological and romantic novels of L. M. LeonovLeonov, Leonid Maksimovich
, 1899–1994, Russian novelist and playwright. Leonov was a major figure in the development of psychological and social realism in the novel. His works, such as his first long novel The Badgers (1924, tr.
..... Click the link for more information. , Yuri OleshaOlesha, Yuri,
1899–1960, Russian novelist and dramatist. In his novel Envy (1927; tr. 1936) and in his other writing, Olesha focused on the conflict between the demands of an industrialized world and human spiritual needs.
..... Click the link for more information. , and Kaverin. M. A. SholokhovSholokhov, Mikhail Aleksandrovich
, 1905–84, Russian novelist. Sholokhov won international fame for an epic novel of his native land, The Silent Don (4 vol., 1928–40; tr. in 2 vol.
..... Click the link for more information. gave the revolution-oriented novel an epic breadth, and in 1928 Gorky returned to enormous popularity.
A general dissolution of the various literary groups took place from 1929 to 1932, and there was a marked trend toward political mobilization of writers. This trend was strengthened in the 1930s during Stalin's purges of the intelligentsia, and socialist realismsocialist realism,
Soviet artistic and literary doctrine. The role of literature and art in Soviet society was redefined in 1932 when the newly created Union of Soviet Writers proclaimed socialist realism as compulsory literary practice.
..... Click the link for more information. was proclaimed as the guiding principle in all writing. In the drama, a form greatly encouraged and widely used as a means of propaganda, outstanding figures since the revolution include Yevgeny Schvartz, Nikolai Erdman, M. A. BulgakovBulgakov, Mikhail Afanasyevich
, 1891–1940, Russian novelist and playwright. He wrote satirical stories (The Deviliad, 1925, tr. 1972) and comedies (Zoe's Apartment, 1926) and the long novel The White Guard (1925, tr.
..... Click the link for more information. , S. M. Tretyakov, V. P. KatayevKatayev, Valentin Petrovich
, 1897–1986, Russian novelist, short-story writer, and playwright. Katayev's novels portray almost the entire range of Soviet life, from the period of the New Economic Policy (The Embezzlers, 1926, tr.
..... Click the link for more information. , V. M. KirshonKirshon, Vladimir Mikhailovich
, 1902–38, Russian dramatist. He began his career with Red Dust (1927, tr. 1930), a play showing the degeneration of a revolutionist under the reconstruction program known as the New Economic Policy. His play Bread (1930, tr.
..... Click the link for more information. , A. N. AfinogenovAfinogenov, Aleksandr Nikolayevich
, 1904–41, Russian playwright. In his early plays he wrote of labor problems and the dangers of straying from the Communist ideal. His later plays concern the difficulties inherent in the development of the new social order.
..... Click the link for more information. , and Alexei Arbuzov. Boris PasternakPasternak, Boris Leonidovich
, 1890–1960, Russian poet and translator. Pasternak became an international symbol of the incorruptible moral courage of an artist in conflict with his political environment.
..... Click the link for more information. and Nikolai Tikhonov became the leading poets, and the novels of Ostrovsky, Aleksey TolstoyTolstoy, Aleksey Konstantinovich
, 1817–75, Russian poet, dramatist, and novelist. He was a distant cousin of Leo Tolstoy. Together with two cousins he wrote nonsense verse and humorous works under the pseudonym Kozma Prutkov.
..... Click the link for more information. , and Ilya EhrenburgEhrenburg, Ilya Grigoryevich
, 1891–1967, Russian journalist and novelist, whose name is also spelled Erenburg. He wandered throughout Western Europe as a youth. He was noted for his articles about the two world wars.
..... Click the link for more information. were widely read. V. B. ShklovskiShklovski, Victor Borisovich
, 1893–1984, Russian critic and writer. Shklovski was an exponent of the formalist school, which held that in literature only the form and structure of a work are important, not its content or the social conditions that produced it.
..... Click the link for more information. gained great influence as a critic.
World War II to the Present
During World War II, Ehrenburg and Simonov were outstanding reporters. The spirit of friendliness toward the West ended abruptly in 1946 with a campaign initiated by Andrei Zhdanov, a Communist party secretary. Cultural isolationism and rigid party dictatorship of literature were enforced, and the effects on literature were disastrous.
After the death of Stalin in 1953 some writers, previously in disgrace, were returned to favor; those still living were again permitted to publish. Ehrenburg's celebrated novel The Thaw (1954) described the despair of authors condemned to write in accordance with official doctrines. During this period cultural exchange with foreign countries was encouraged. In opposition to patriotic propaganda from orthodox party spokesmen, literature critical of Soviet society was, for a time, warmly received. Andrei VoznesenskyVoznesensky, Andrei Andreyevich
, 1933–2010, Russian poet, b. Moscow. Voznesensky studied at the Moscow Architectural Institute and later became a close friend and protégé of Boris Pasternak.
..... Click the link for more information. and Yevgeny YevtushenkoYevtushenko, Yevgeny Aleksandrovich
, 1933–2017, Russian poet, b. Zima Junction, Siberia. Along with Andrei Voznesensky and several others he helped revive the tradition of Russian lyric poetry. Yevtushenko's first book of poems was published in 1952.
..... Click the link for more information. were widely acclaimed for their nonconformist poetry. Voznesensky was praised for remarkable innovation in poetic form and use of language. Among Yevtushenko's most admired works is Babi Yar, an eloquent protest against Soviet anti-Semitism.
In 1963 the government and the Union of Soviet Writers issued severe reprimands to these and other dissident writers. Pasternak's epic novel Doctor Zhivago (1957), published and received with critical accolades throughout the Western world, was refused publication in the USSR, and the author was compelled by official pressure to decline the Nobel Prize.
After Khrushchev's fall from grace in 1964, the struggle to liberate Soviet writing from political control intensified. Famous writers such as Voznesensky and Aleksandr SolzhenitsynSolzhenitsyn, Aleksandr Isayevich
, 1918–2008, Russian writer widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential authors of the 20th cent., b. Kislovodsk.
Solzhenitsyn grew up in Rostov-na-Donu, where he studied physics and mathematics at Rostov State Univ.
..... Click the link for more information. publicly asked for an end to government censorship. Others, including Andrey SinyavskySinyavsky, Andrey Donatovich
, 1925–97, Russian novelist and essayist. Starting in the 1960s, Sinyavsky, a protege of Boris Pasternak, had a number of works, all focusing on the nightmarish nature of life in the time of Stalin, published abroad under the name of Abram
..... Click the link for more information. and Yuly Daniel, were imprisoned for permitting pseudonymous foreign publication of works critical of the Soviet regime. Solzhenitsyn's first novel, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1962), described life in a concentration camp; its anti-Stalinism was in line with the political climate of 1962. His subsequent works earned him exile from Russia in 1974.
The 1980s saw new religious, even mystical, trends, as in the stories of Tatyana TolstayaTolstaya, Tatyana
, 1951–, Russian short-story writer and essayist. Increasingly recognized as one of the major European writers of the postwar generation, Tolstaya is part of a Russian literary dynasty—Aleksey N.
..... Click the link for more information. . After the fall of the Soviet regime, Solzhenitsyn returned to his homeland in 1994, twenty years after he had gone into exile. The playwright Mikhail Shatrov (1932–2010), who had been censored during the Soviet era, wrote witheringly of Stalin and pre-glasnost Russia. Meanwhile, younger writers reflected the changed milieu of post-Communist Russia in their pursuit of more personal and less political themes in their prose and poetry.
See D. S. Mirsky, A History of Russian Literature (rev. ed. 1949); E. J. Simmons, ed., Through the Glass of Soviet Literature (1953, repr. 1963); M. Slonim, The Epic of Russian Literature (1950, repr. 1964) and Soviet Russian Literature (rev. ed. 1967); H. E. Segel, ed., The Literature of Eighteenth-Century Russia (2 vol., 1967); E. J. Brown, Russian Literature since the Revolution (rev. ed. 1969); O. Carlisle, ed., Poets on Street Corners (1969); N. K. Gudzii, History of Early Russian Literature (1949, repr. 1970); G. Struve, Russian Literature under Lenin and Stalin (1971); W. E. Harkins, Dictionary of Russian Literature (1956, repr. 1971); J. Ferrell and A. Stokes, Early Russian Literature (1973); J. Lavrin, A Panorama of Russian Literature (1973); V. Jerras, ed., Handbook of Russian Literature (1985); V. Zubok, Zhivago's Children: The Last Russian Intelligensia (2009).