Serapion Brothers

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Serapion Brothers


a literary group organized in Petro-grad in 1921 around the Vsemirnaia Literatura Publishing House. The membership of the Serapion Brothers included Vs. Ivanov, M. Slonimskii, M. Zoshchenko, V. Kaverin, N. Nikitin, K. Fedin, L. Lunts, N. Tikhonov, E. Polonskaia, and I. Gruzdev. The group took its name from the title of a book by the German romanticist E. T. A. Hoffmann.

The group engaged in “a search for techniques to master the new material provided at that time by the recent war and revolution, a search for a new artistic form” (Fedin). The group lacked artistic unity: alongside tendencies toward formalism and toward apolitical and nonideological literature, represented by Lunts, was an interest in realism, characteristic of several members, including Fedin, Vs. Ivanov, and Nikitin. In the group’s public statements, active opposition to primitivism and sloganizing literature became a rejection of “all tenden-tiousness in literature” and an emphatic rejection of politics in general. However, in the literary works of the group’s members, this apolitical stance was much less apparent and was gradually overcome. Many of the Serapion Brothers, rising above formal-istic tendencies, became great masters of Soviet literature.


Gor’kii, M. “Gruppa ‘Serapionovy brat’ia.’” In Literaturnoe nasledstvo, vol. 70. Moscow, 1963.
Kaverin, V. Zdravstvui, brat: Pisat’ ochen’ trudno. Moscow, 1965.
Fedin, K. Gor’kii sredi nas: Kartiny literaturnoi zhizni. Moscow, 1968.