11th Century Literature in Russia

  • The Primary Chronicle

This work kicks off Russian literature. It was written by Monks in Kiev Cave Monastery and was written later than the actual time period being described in the chronicle. The text explains Russian Orthodoxy.

14th-16th Century

  • Hagiography was common, which is basically the accounts of saints lives. These are sermons that are all religious in nature. As of yet, there is no literary tradition in Russia.

17th Century

  • Autobiography of Archpriest Auvacum

Auvacum was a man in The Time of Troubles and was driven out of Moscow and eventually burnt at the stake. Before he died, however, he wrote about himself, bringing about the first Russian autobiography. This was one of the first elements of a national, indigenous literature which came along very late after Western European literature as famous literary figures like Shakespeare and Milton had already happened in Europe.

18th Century

  • During this time period, Peter the Great is in charge of Russia and St. Petersburg is built. This is when we see a real shift in literature. Peter is westernizing his country, so the authors are being educated in the west or by western scholars.
  • People who are writing:

Image         Image           Image

                   Mikhail Lomonsov                                   Denis Fonvizin                               Gavrila Romanovich Derzhavin


Alexander Sumarokov

19th Century


Alexander Pushkin 1799-1837

Pushkin is considered the founder of Russian literature. He wasn’t writing for the church or imitating the west with his writings. Has the first Russian piece that is a blend of peasant speak and high Russian education

  • In this time period there is a lot of questioning who has power and who governs
  • The author finds opportunity to have authority and responsibility to speak the truth in their writings
  •  This is the Golden Age of Poetry
  • Psychological novels come into play by Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy
  • The government sees people with thoughts as revolution starters (fearing what happened in France). They watch and criticize writers, so writers must write carefully. The writer is also pursued by the social critic who wants writers to write solely for the people and talk about major issues. So writers must be clever with what they put into words.









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