Writing Russian Lives. The Poetics and Politics of Biography in Modern Russian Culture
Like many genres, biography came belatedly to Russia. As with other such late arrivals, it underwent intensive growth in quantity, sophistication, cultural significance and popularity from the era of Nicholas I onwards, and stands today as a dominant force in post-Soviet publishing. Yet studies of Russian biography’s poetics and its role as a literary and cultural institution in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries remain thin on the ground, a fact often lamented, yet not fully addressed, in the scattered writings on the subject.
Writing Russian Lives examines modern Russian biography as a literary form, a publishing phenomenon and a cultural force. From Imperial to pre- Revolutionary and early Soviet biography and memoir writing, the volume also explores the history of the long-running ‘Lives of Remarkable People’ series, whilst consideration of survivors’ testimonies from Nazi-occupied Russia and the problems of presenting personality in the late Soviet era offer innovative research and insight into less traditional forms of the genre.