BOOK LAUNCH: "A HISTORY OF RUSSIAN LITERATURE" BY KAHN, LIPOVETSKY, REYFMAN & SANDLER

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Friday, October 12, 2018 - 4:00pm
Location: 
Harriman Institute Atrium (12th Floor, International Affairs Building, 420 W 118th St)
Please join the Harriman Institute in its celebration of A History of Russian Literature (Oxford University Press, 2018), authored by Andrew Kahn (Oxford), Mark Lipovetsky (Colorado-Boulder, but soon to join the Columbia Slavic Dept.), Irina Reyfman (Columbia) and Stephanie Sandler (Harvard). Published just this past summer, the ground-breaking volume has already garnered glowing reviews: "What Kahn, Lipovetsky, Reyfman and Sandler have managed to encompass and contextualize ... is nothing short of staggering" (Boris Dralyuk, Times Literary Supplement)
 
All four authors will be present for the Harriman's celebration. In addition, the authors have invited four guests to participate in the discussion of the book's genesis, novel structure, and tremendous scope. The guests are: Polina Barskova (Hampshire College), Caryl Emerson (Princeton), Olga Maiorova (Michigan) and Wes Williams (Oxford).
 
From the publisher's website:
 
Russia possesses one of the richest and most admired literatures of Europe, reaching back to the eleventh century. A History of Russian Literature provides a comprehensive account of Russian writing from its earliest origins in the monastic works of Kiev up to the present day, still rife with the creative experiments of post-Soviet literary life. The volume proceeds chronologically in five parts, extending from Kievan Rus' in the 11th century to the present day.The coverage strikes a balance between extensive overview and in-depth thematic focus. Parts are organized thematically in chapters, which a number of keywords that are important literary concepts that can serve as connecting motifs and 'case studies', in-depth discussions of writers, institutions, and texts that take the reader up close and. Visual material also underscores the interrelation of the word and image at a number of points, particularly significant in the medieval period and twentieth century.
 

The History addresses major continuities and discontinuities in the history of Russian literature across all periods, and in particular bring out trans-historical features that contribute to the notion of a national literature. The volume's time-range has the merit of identifying from the early modern period a vital set of national stereotypes and popular folklore about boundaries, space, Holy Russia, and the charismatic king that offers culturally relevant material to later writers. This volume delivers a fresh view on a series of key questions about Russia's literary history, by providing new mappings of literary history and a narrative that pursues key concepts (rather more than individual authorial careers). This holistic narrative underscores the ways in which context and text are densely woven in Russian literature, and demonstrates that the most exciting way to understand the canon and the development of tradition is through a discussion of the interrelation of major and minor figures, historical events and literary politics, literary theory and literary innovation.