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Russian Postmodernism: New Perspectives on Post-Soviet Culture

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Russian Postmodernism

New Perspectives on Post-Soviet Culture

Mikhail N. Epstein, Alexander A. Genis, and Slobodanka M. Vladiv-Glover
Translated by Slobodanka M. Vladiv-Glover

602 pages, appendix, index

ISBN  978-1-78238-864-7 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (December 2015)

eISBN 978-1-78238-865-4 eBook

Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®



“Authors of this volume are well-known specialists in Russian literature and culture… This collection of essays has considerable cultural and documentary value (a second edition proves this) and may inspire everyone with interesting cultural paradigms and thoughtful observations… [It] raises many crucial issues and opens up new perspectives on research in the mentioned fields.” · Slavic and East European Journal

"Subtle readings and carefully argued interpretations. The articles and manifestoes, supplemented by a valuable 'Who's Who,' answer a great many of the questions associated with postmodernism in general, and the Russian variety in particular." · Slavic Review

"The most up-to-date reference book on Russian postmodernist culture. An important contribution to the growing area of Russian cultural studies." · New Zealand Slavonic Journal-Russian Section

"The most comprehensive examination of Russian postmodern thought available in English." · World Literature Today


Recent decades have been decisive for Russia not only politically but culturally as well. The end of the Cold War has enabled Russia to take part in the global rise and crystallization of postmodernism. This volume investigates the manifestations of this crucial trend in Russian fiction, poetry, art, and spirituality, demonstrating how Russian postmodernism is its own unique entity. It offers a point of departure and valuable guide to an area of contemporary literary-cultural studies insufficiently represented in English-language scholarship. This second edition includes additional essays on the topic and a new introduction examining the most recent developments.

Mikhail N. Epstein was one of the main proponents of postmodernism in Russia and the founder of the Laboratory of Modern Culture, Experimental Center of Creativity, Moscow. He is S. C. Dobbs Professor of Cultural Theory and Russian Literature at Emory University (USA) and Professor of Russian and Cultural Theory, Director of Centre for Humanities Innovation, at Durham University (UK).

Alexander A. Genis is a Russian-American writer, literary critic, broadcaster, and author of multiple books and essays about classical and modern Russian literary studies and contemporary cultural studies.

Slobodanka Millicent Vladiv-Glover is Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics at Monash University. She is Chief Editor of The Dostoevsky Journal: An Independent Review and Transcultural Studies: A Series in Interdisciplinary Research.

Subject: Cultural Studies (General) Literary Studies
Area: Central/Eastern Europe


Preface to the 1st edition
Thomas Epstein

Preface to the 2nd edition: Postmodernism and the Explosive Style of the Twenty-First Century
Mikhail Epstein

Introduction: “New Sectarianism” and the Pleasure Principle in Postmodern Russian Culture
Slobodanka Vladiv-Glover


Chapter 1. The Dialectics of Hyper: From Modernism to Postmodernism
Mikhail Epstein

Chapter 2. Postmodernism, Communism, and Sots‑Art
Mikhail Epstein

Chapter 3. Representation of the Other in the Literature of the 1960s
Slobodanka Vladiv-Glover

Chapter 4. Perestroika as a Literary Paradigm Shift
Alexander Genis


Literary Manifestos
Mikhail Epstein

Chapter 5. Theses on Metarealism and Conceptualism (1983)
Chapter 6. On Olga Sedakova and Lev Rubinshtein (1984)
Chapter 7. What is Metarealism? Facts and Hypotheses (1986)
Chapter 8. What is Metabole? On the Third Trope (1986)
Chapter 9. Like a Corpse in the Desert: On the New Moscow Poetry (1987)
Chapter 10. A Catalogue of New Poetries (1987)

Cultural Manifestos
Mikhail Epstein

Chapter 11. Essayism: An Essay on the Essay (1982)
Chapter 12. The Ecology of Thinking (1982)
Chapter 13. Minimal Religion (1982)
Chapter 14. The Age of Universalism (1983)
Chapter 15. The Paradox of Acceleration (1985)


Chapter 16. Archaic Postmodernism: The Aesthetics of Andrei Sinyavsky
Alexander Genis

Chapter 17. Postmodernism and Socialist Realism: From Sinyavsky to Sorokin
Alexander Genis

Chapter 18. Borders and Metamorphoses: Victor Pelevin in the Context of Post-Soviet Literature
Alexander Genis


Chapter 19. The New Model of Discourse in Post–Soviet Fiction: Liudmila Petrushevskaia and Tatiana Tolstaia
Slobodanka Vladiv-Glover

Chapter 20. Heterogeneity and the Post-Avant-Garde: The Excremental Poetics of Vladimir Sorokin
Slobodanka Vladiv-Glover

Chapter 21. Emptiness as Technique: Word and Image in Ilya Kabakov
Mikhail Epstein

Chapter 22. The Philosophical Implications of Russian Conceptualism
Mikhail Epstein


Chapter 23. Post-Atheism:  From Apophatic Theology to “Minimal Religion”
Mikhail Epstein

Chapter 24. Onions and Cabbages: Paradigms of Contemporary Culture
Alexander Genis

Chapter 25. The Charms of Entropy and New Sentimentality
Mikhail Epstein

Conclusion: On the Place of Postmodernism in Postmodernity
Mikhail Epstein

Select Bibliography
Index of Names
Index of Subjects

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