Modern Russian Literature – A labyrinth of feelings

Published by: Maria Eugenia Pricope

There is no doubt that Russian literature has come a long way. The unusual twists and turns in the Russian literary history has been the source of innumerable controversies.

While the roots of Russian literature can be traced back to the Middle Ages when pieces of writing were to a great extent based on a combination of pagan and Christian influences, one cannot but notice the turns it has had along the winding path of history towards modern works.

We could say that Russia’s modern literature birth certificate was signed during the tsarist empire.

Puskin known as the father of modern literature together with Esenin-both renown for their greatness in poetry-are the ones who succeeded to lay out the path for modern literature.

And when doing that, pursuing your talent and passion becomes your drive. As Puskin said: ”Somewhere between obsession and compulsion is impulse”.

The Golden Age in Russian literature –  in the 19th century –  is a time when masterpieces came to light. The founding fathers of the 19th century literature: Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881), Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837), Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852), to name a few, shifted their focus from romanticist to realist views and  themes such as: duplicity, hope, struggle for stability, the conflict between generations, the role of women and, of course the revolutionary changes.

Since Romanticism put emphasis on emotions such as: fear, terror, horror and followed  aesthetics in beauty and nature, Realism came as a reaction to it.

Therefore, with sheer artistry but in a realistic and unique way, Russian writers have expressed their continuous fascination about human suffering, loneliness which led to the reputation of Russian literature as being bleak.

The Russian writer created characters free from all additions, the simple man leading an apparently plain life. Still, he succeeded in outlying the character’s profound thoughts that are in contrast with the time and the society he lives in.

The emphasis is laid upon the character’s  inner struggles  which stem from the critical situations he finds himself into, this leading to his complete isolation from outsiders, hating society and turning him into an outcast.

Russian writers manage in their artfulness to display the human soul and also to provide an accurate image of the character’s inner thoughts and self-consciousness.

This makes us ponder upon F. M Dostoievski’s idea that the Russian writers loves man but not so much humanity: He who loves humanity too much is not able to love man in particular source – ”Maxims and Reflections”– F.M. Dostoievski.

You cannot think of Russian literature of the 19th century without the word distinctive coming up to your mind.

This is the reason why we still read it with great pleasure and are mesmerized by the power it contains, the vivid details it provides, the accurate picture of emotions and the convincing aspects of human life.

If after reading this article you choose to delve into Russian literature, you will surely not regret it, as this is the type of literature that takes you on a long journey of experiencing a battle of your deepest feelings and emotions.

Only in Russian novels can we find such sincere and intense analysis of the human mind and soul. Whether – after reading such literature and, therefore, experiencing it – you consider this analysis to be too bleak, that it entirely up to you.