Literary Classics and Intellectual Autonomy in the Soviet World from 1920s to 1980s

Petr Budrin's picture
March 26, 2021 to April 2, 2021
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Humanities, Intellectual History, Languages, Literature, Russian or Soviet History / Studies

This conference aims to explore how classic works of “foreign” literature were experienced by different groups of readers in the Soviet Union from the 1920s to the 1980s. For many Soviet citizens, regardless of their social status and political views, fictional worlds from bygone centuries and alien cultures formed an alternative reality that allowed them to escape the difficulties of everyday life. Translating, editing, and illustrating classics helped those intellectuals and artists who did not toe the party line to survive, both physically and morally. By attempting to use the concept of world literature for propagandist aims the state unwittingly created a zone of intellectual autonomy that it could not penetrate. Papers interrogate ideological positions and interpretative models, regardless of whether they aim to address institutional or individual aspects of literary reception. The conference will be held via Zoom on 26 March and 2 April. 

Keynote Lecturer: Brian James Baer, Professor of Russian and Translation Studies at Kent State University. Organisers: Dr Emily Finer (University of St Andrews) and Petr Budrin (University of Oxford). 

If you would like to attend, please register on the conference website:

Contact Info: 

Organisers: Dr Emily Finer (University of St Andrews) and Petr Budrin (University of Oxford).

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