Over the century that has passed since the start of the massive post-revolutionary exodus, Russian literature has thrived in multiple locations around the globe. What happens to cultural vocabularies, politics of identity, literary canon and language when writers transcend the metropolitan boundaries and national agenda and begin to negotiate new experience gained in the process of migration?
Redefining Russian Literary Diaspora, 1920-2020 sets a new agenda for the study of Russian diaspora writing, countering its conventional reception as a subsidiary branch of national literature and reorienting the field from an excessive emphasis on the homeland and origins to an analysis of transnational circulations that shape extraterritorial cultural practices. Integrating a variety of conceptual perspectives, ranging from diaspora and postcolonial studies to the theories of translation and self-translation, World Literature and evolutionary literary criticism, the contributors argue for a distinct nature of diasporic literary expression predicated on hybridity, ambivalence and a sense of multiple belonging. As the complementary case studies demonstrate, diaspora narratives consistently recode historical memory, contest the mainstream discourses of Russianness, rewrite received cultural tropes and explore topics that have remained marginal or taboo in the homeland. These diverse discussions are framed by a focused examination of diaspora as a methodological perspective and its relevance for the modern human condition.
Maria Rubins is Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature
Maria Rubins is Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature at UCL.
Notes on contributors
Part One: Conceptual territories of ‘Diaspora’: Introduction
The unbearable lightness of being a diasporian: modes of writing and reading narratives of displacement
Part Two: ‘Quest for Significance’: Performing diasporic Identities in transnational contexts
1. Exile as emotional, moral and ideological ambivalence: Nikolai Turgenev and the performance of political exile
2. Rewriting the Russian literary tradition of prophecy in the diaspora: Bunin, Nabokov and Viacheslav Ivanov
Part Three: Evolutionary trajectories: adaptation, ‘Interbreeding’ and transcultural Polyglossya
3. Translingual poetry and the boundaries of diaspora: the self-translations of Marina Tsvetaeva, Vladimir Nabokov and Joseph Brodsky
4. Evolutionary biology and ‘Writing the Diaspora’: the cases of Theodosius Dobzhansky and Vladimir Nabokov
Part Four: Imagined spaces of unity and difference
5. Repatriation of diasporic literature and the role of the poetry anthology in the construction of a diasporic canon
6. Is there room for diaspora literature in the internet age?
7. The benefits of distance: extraterritoriality as cultural capital in the literary marketplace
Kevin M. F. Platt
Beyond diaspora? Brief remarks in lieu of an afterword
Format: Open Access PDF
Copyright: © 2021
Publication: March 01, 2021