Russian Literature
Russian literature has always been one of the most powerful artistic forces in the world. Realism originated in Russia, perhaps, as early as Pushkin (1798-1837). Russian philosophy has always been an integral part of the literature.   The seed of existentialism is found in Dostoevsky and passive resistance, used so effectively by Gandhi and Martin Luther King, originated in the works of Tolstoy. This page provides links with databases, journals, research institutes and centers dealing with the literature of Russia.

flowerlet General Literary Resources flowerlet

Russian Folklore

At last a website of Russian folklore: the Firebird, Snow Maiden, Sadko, Grandfather Frost, plus histories of some ancient Russian cities. Unfortunately, it is anonymously maintained, so we can't give credits.

Chronology of Russian Literature 1917-1953

A very useful site by Michael Brewer that details the course of Russian literature from the Revolution until the death of Stalin.

The Bakhtin Centre

The Centre's purpose is to promote multi- and inter-disciplinary research on the work of the Russian philosopher and theorist Mikhail Bakhtin and the Bakhtin Circle, and on related areas of cultural, critical, linguistic and literary theory. Its scope thus extends beyond the limits of traditional Russian and Slavic studies. There is also a Bakhtin bibliography maintained by Filipp Sapienza.

The Public Electronic Library

The Russian section of Evgenii Peskin's Public Electronic Library is a major resource for on-line Russian literature. It is open 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. The management asks that you not return the books you check out. The presentation is strictly professional and in Russian. God bless Evgenii Peskin, whoever he is.

The Electronic Library of Maxim Moshkov

Ivan Moskhov is developing a library to challenge The Public Electronic Library; however, there is relatively little overlap. In addition to classics not found in the Public Library, Moshkov has Russian and foreign ysteries, science fiction, and children's stories, as well as works in history and psychology. It is also open 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. God bless you, too, Maxim Moshkov.

Russian Literature on the Net

This is a massive list of works of literature by virtually every Russian writer, journals, newspapers, songs, rock-groups -- everything you need for cultural studies. It is now well organized and contains a comprehensive seedbed of Russian cultural resources.

Russian Silver Age Poets

Maria Shkolnikov maintains a library of the poetry of Russian Silver Age poets on her Stikhiya page. From Aliget to Yashin, this page contains examples of all the Silver Age poets. A genuine Web resource.

Critical Resources

This section will accumulate a list of critical resources on Russian literature in general, i.e. not pertaining to a single author listed below.

Literature Discussion Group

If you would like to discuss Russian literature with readers all over the world, here is the place to do it. You may join the discussions already underway or start your own thread.

flowerlet The Major Russian Writers flowerlet

Anna Andreyevna (Gorenko) Akhmatova (1889-1966)

The main Anna Akhmatova site contains links to other contemporary writers besides Akhmatova and is maintained by Jill Dybka. A biography of Akhmatova is provided by Yevgeniy Rozinskiy of Odessa Web. There is also a selection of Akhmatova's poetry taken from Vecher and Chetki, prepared by Natasha Bulashova of the 'Friends and Partners' site. It requires KOI8-Russian fonts. You might also want a videocassette with Claire Bloom reading Akhmatova's work; Christopher Reeve narrates; Joseph Brodsky and other poets and scholars recall and praise her. We also have a picture of Akhmatova from the Wellesley picture archives.

Alexander Blok (1880-1921)

The Electronic Public Library is working on Blok's complete works. It shouldn't be too much longer. Currently approximately half his life's work is available in Russian on line for free.

Joseph Aleksandrovich Brodsky (1940-1996)

This site is a memoriam for Joseph Brodsky containing his poetry, news releases, and reactions to his death on January 28, 1996. You may download his collected works at the same site and connect to other Brodsky sites around the world.

Mikhail Afanasyevich Bulgakov (1891-1940)

The author of Master and Margarita now has a homepage with several links in this country and in Russia. The best source for information on Master and Margarita, however, is Kevin Moss' on-line onstructivist extravaganza. It contains analysis, maps, timelines, character descriptions, and more. The Library of Congress listing for Bulgakov includes a biography and a hypertext bibliography. The full Russian text all the major novels plus a few stories may be found in the incredible library of Maxim Moshkov. (There is much more there, too.) Here is a letter Bulgakov wrote the Soviet government in 1930. A time-line of Bulgakov's life provides a historical perspective of his work. A bibliography of secondary sources is also helpful.

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860-1904)

Yvan Russell maintains another Chekhov page with lots of links. Everything Chekhov wrote is now available on-line in some form. James Rusk has put up the entire 201 Chekhov short stories of the 13 volumes translated into English by Constance Garnett. An incredible resource. He even has a mirror site to guarantee uninterrupted availability. Gretchen Haley of the University of Puget Sound currently maintains 'The Chekhov Papers' in connection with a production of 'The Seagull'. The first issue contains a Chekhov Timeline and the dates of Chekhov's works. The NYU medical library has an online library of synopses of medically relevant literary works, including a few of Chekhov's short-stories in English. The Great Books Chekhov page also lists translations of Chekhov's works. The Public Electronic Library now has almost the collected works of Chekhov on-line in Russian--short stories and the four major plays. You might want to make a short visit the Chekhov House Museum in Moscow and to Chekhov's birthplace, Taganrog.

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky (1821-1881)

F. M. DostoevskyDostoevsky certainly influenced 20th century literature and philosophy more than any other Russian writer, even though he shares the honor of influencing the course of the this century more than other writers with Tolstoy. Follow his career on the Dostoevsky chronology. Most of his works are now available on-line at the locations listed below. The Great Books Dostoevsky page is good place to look for English translations.

There are three major Dostoevsky sites maintained by:

Nikolai Vasilyevich Gogol (1809-1852)

Evgenii Peskin's Public Electronic Library now contains virtually the complete works in Russian. Wouldn't he have loved to see his final resting place in Find-A-Grave? The bulk of Gogol's fiction may be found at the Gutenberg Project, including:

  • Dead Souls
  • How the Two Ivans Quarrelled
  • St. John's Eve
  • Taras Bulba and other stories
  • The Calash
  • The Cloak
  • The Mysterious Portrait

Ivan Alexandrovich Goncharov (1812-1891)

Little material about Goncharov has been published so far on line. The Electronic Public Library offers his major work—the last word on boredom—Oblomov in Russian. Eldritch Press also publishes an English translation.

Mikhail Yurievich Lermontov (1814-1841)

Since Lermontov spent some time in Penza, that city's web has a bit of biography and some pictures of him. The complete text of Lermontov's A Hero of Our Time may be downloaded from Project Gutenberg or it may be read in translation on line in a wonderful annotated hypertext version maintained by Eldritch Press. A Russian version is available via The Electronic Public Library, which offers a variety of electronic titles, fiction and poetry. A collection of Lermontov's poetry may be found -- where else? on the server of the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy!

Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky (1894-1930)

Vladimir Mayakovsky was both a poet and an artist of the Revolution. Both his poetry and posters extolled the Revolution of 1917 when it seemed to be a socialist one. However, the experience turned dark and he ended his life and his poetry much too soon, as the dates above show. Quincy Lehr also has a very nice Mayakovsky site with many of his poems on line. Mayakovsky's posters are on exhibit at Howard Schickler Fine Art. Finally, the State Mayakovsky Museum now has a web site worth a visit. Rather than a realistic biography of Mayakovsky, it presents an abstract, artistic collage of Mayakovsky's times.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov (1899-1977)

The definitive site for Nabokov studies is maintained by the Penn State Libraries. This site contains a chonology of Nabokov's works, criticism, indexes, photographs, and other memorabilia. Here is a small page with a Quicktime clip from the introduction to Lyne's controversial 1997 film Lolita starring Jeremy Irons.

Boris Pasternak

Boris Leonidovich Pasternak (1890-1960)

The 'Russian Literature on the Net' site offers several of collections of Pasternak's poems including Nachal`naya pora, Poverx bar`erov, Sestra moya - zhizn`, Temy i variacii, Stixi raznyx let , and Vysokaya bolezn`. The Mining Company has an article on Khrushchev and Dr. Zhivago.

Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin (1799-1837)

Pushkin materials are blossoming across the Web. The Pushkin Museum in Moscow (Arbat) has a gorgeous display of memorabilia of Pushkin and his times on display. Stephany Gould maintains the major award-winning Pushkin website with a hyperbiography, photographs, textual materials, and Pushkin humor from the University of Wisconsin Slavic Department. Katharena Eiermann has a beautiful personal page which includes a poetry sampler in English. Oregon State University maintains a zipped archive of the skazki, Onegin, Mednyj vsadnik and a few other poems. Here you will find versions of Mednyj vsadnik and Ruslan i Ljudmila for Windows Cyrillic fonts. The narrative poems, skazki plus a few short stories may be found in the Russian section of Evgenii Peskin's Public Electronic Library (KOI8-Russian fonts). You might also be interested in the Pushkin genealogy discussed in the Frontline feature on "The Blurred Ethnic Lines of Famous People".

Vyacheslav Yakovlyevich Shiskov (1873--1945)

New! This excellent website by Vladimir D. Sokolov traces the Altai period in Shishkov's life. In includes a large sectin of biographical material, a chonology, and many of Shiskob's actual works, including the complete novel "Vataga" ("The Gang") about civil war in Russia. All in Russian.

Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov (1905-1984)

There is little more than the biography of Sholokhov on line at this time. We were unable to find any of his publications. Here are a few (weak) critical works about Sholokhov.

Alexander Isayevich Solzhenitsyn (1919--)

So far, very little about Solzhenitsyn has appeared on the web. The Nobel Prize Internet has a biography, a chronology of his writings and links to articles about him. If you have the time to download the 600k file, here is GULag Archipelago (Part I). Harvard University also offers the text of Solzhenitsyn's commencement address, A World Split Apart, delivered June 8, 1978.

Count Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy (1828-1910)

First, The Tolstoy Library FTP site has three digital biographies of Tolstoy which may be downloaded, in addition to virtually the complete works in English. The Tolstoy Studies Journal maintains a page of secondary sources. (Articles in the journal are not currently accessible. Paul Birukov's Leo Tolstoy: Childhood and Young Manhood is on-line at the University of Virginia's Electronic Text Center--read it there. English translations of Tolstoy's masterpiece Anna Karenina plus Master and Man, The Forged Coupon, The Kreutzer Sonata, Father Sergius are available at the the Gutenberg Project. Lev Nikolaivich Tolstoy Data Text Processing Ltd of Great Britain also offers a version of Anna Karenina in English and 'Friends and Partners' offer a version of both novels. The major novels are also available in transliterated Cyrillic by FTP from Dr. Yoshimasa Tsuji. The Tolstoy Library contains several shorter works by Tolstoy as well as biographical information. The Great Books Tolstoy page offers many links to English translations of Tolstoy's works. You may also find out about the Tolstoy Society in the library. The Pennsylvania Home Education Network maintains a copy of The Slavery of Our Times (1900). Last, but certainly not least, you may wish to consult The Last Days of Leo Tolstoy, an account written in 1911 by Vladimir Chertkov, Tolstoy's personal secretary. This site includes the English translation by Benjamin Sher and the Russian text, including a facsimile of the original with pre-Revolutionary orthography and a photo album of Chertkov and Tolstoy.

Yasnaya Polyana

Yasnaya Polyana is the family estate near Tula where Leo Tolstoy was born in 1828, and where he lived for about 60 years. He introduced many innovative farming methods, built schools and hospitals for his serfs. They loved him so much that when he set them free, most remained in their villages. Here Tolstoy wrote many of his books and philosophical essays. On a stormy night on the fall of 1910 he left home mysteriously and passed away in the train station of the small town of Ostapovo. He was buried in Yasnaya Polyana where his grave has been a shrine for devotees of Russian literature ever since.

Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941)

Marina Tsvetaeva was probably Russia's first major woman poet. Raised during World War I and the 1917 Revolution, her childhood was tormented by deprivations of many sorts. Then during the Stalinist terror she was to suffer again. She finally surrendered to the forces which seemed bent on her destruction in 194l. An excellent site containing a biography, photographs, and many of Tsvetaeva's poems.

Ivan Turgenev (1818-1883)

Ivan TurgenevTurgenev was the first major Russian writer who was far and away appreciated more abroad than at home. Poet, playwright, and novelist, he wrote particularly on the theme of Russia's future. Asya and Rudin, is available in Russian at the Public Electronic Library. Windows 1251 or KOI8-r fonts. Eldritch Press publishes the following in annotated hypertext English translations:

Vladimir Vysotsky

Vysotsky's gruff voice and starkly, sometimes slyly, poetic lyrics have inspired two generations of Russians and are working their way into the young hearts of a third. In addition to the major Vysotsky web site, Little Russia has dozens of his songs recorded in several different formats, the poems in written form, and Quick Time movies of Vysotsky.

Sergei Aleksandrovich Yesenin (1895-1925)

The Public Electronic Library of Evgenii Peskin presents the entirety of the three-volume collection of Esenin's poetry including his lyrical poems, his little poems, and his narrative poems. The electronic version contains poems from 1910-1925 not included in the collected works. This site is entirely in Russian.

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"Serenade Melancholique" by
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Sequence by permission of
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© 1996 Robert Beard