Russian Classical Literature Today: The Challenges/Trials of Messianism and Mass-culture

Project Status
Execution period
2012 — 2014

Research Team: Assoc. Prof. Radostin Rusev (till June 2014), Prof. Hristo Manolakev (till June 2014), Nina Barkovskaya (Urals State Pedagogical University, Yekaterinburg] since April 2014), Maria Litovskaya (Institute of Archaeology and History, Urals branch of RAS / Urals Federal University / National Chengchi University, Taipei; since April 2014), Alexander Medvedev (Institute of Philology and Journalism, Tyumen State University; after June 2014), Ludmiła Łuciewicz (Institute of Special and Intercultural Communication, University of Warsaw; since April 2014), Prof. Alexander Panov


The project aimed mainly to investigate the social standing of Russian classical literature and of studies in Russian literature: in Russia and, inasmuch as has been possible, in other countries (first of all in Bulgaria). The overarching approach has been the sociology of culture of Pierre Bourdieu. Interpretation of Russian classical literature is powerfully pressured from two sides: mass culture and messianism. On the hind, one could notice the aggressive agendas of neo-liberalism and of what might be called neo-nationalism (though both agendas could appeal to the values of a third one – of multiculturalism). It is a condition which is hardly new though its similes from the past might be difficult to identify; and its parameters in Russia and outside Russia are likely to differ. It is a condition which instigates the cultural instinct of preserving scholarship’s autonomy (in terms of subject as well as of social status) but it also makes face the question: what kind of thing is that core we are trying to maintain? Besides, and probably as a part of the same situation, both literary canon and experts in it seem to lose influence against what seems a rival discourse and rival agents. That rival discourse – cinema – can easily be stigmatised as an instrument of ‘heteronomia’, as a tool of mass culture in particular.



  • Russian Classical Literature Today: The Challenges/Trials of Messianism and Mass Culture, edited by Yordan Lyutskanov, Hristo Manolakev and Radostin Rusev, Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014; ISBN (10): 1-4438-5904-4, ISBN (13): 978-1-4438-5904-2.