Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Russian Literature (A Brief Insight)” as Want to Read:
Russian Literature (A Brief Insight)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Russian Literature (Very Short Introductions #53)

3.17  ·  Rating details ·  106 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Catriona Kelly takes an enlightening and nontraditional approach to exploring Russia's unique literary traditions. Rather than proceeding chronologically, she uses Pushkin as the central figure in Russia's literary genesis and analyzes how this “Russian Shakespeare” influenced his compatriots, the origins of Russian literature (including folktales), and how Russians regard ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by Sterling (first published August 23rd 2001)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Russian Literature, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Russian Literature

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Daniel Wright
Around the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, during the (reputed) surge of literary activity called the Enlightenment, a number of English intellectuals, notably Samuel Johnson, promoted their national author around the world. William Shakespeare, they said, is the greatest poet and writer in any language who has ever lived.

Whether they were right or not, there were a number of people abroad who agreed with them. But they had a problem. How could speakers of other languages engage
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Russian Literature: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #53), Catriona Kelly

Rather than presenting a conventional chronology of Russian literature, Russian Literature: A Very Short Introduction explores the place and importance in Russian culture of all types of literature. How and when did a Russian national literature come into being? What shaped its creation? How have the Russians regarded their literary language? The book uses the figure of Pushkin--'the Russian Shakespeare'-
...more
Alisha
Sep 04, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was awful. I love Russian literature and thought I could tolerate any kind of analysis of it, but I was wrong. The author, who, I believe, has a PhD in Russian Lit, seems to have forgotten that she's writing to people who don't know a thing about it. Or it would seem- who else would read "A Very Short Introduction to Russian Literature"? She takes a strange approach- instead of ordering the book chronologically, or based on different styles of writing, she talks about Pushkin only. She ...more
Rob
May 10, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russia, non-fiction, 2015
You can regard an introduction as being just that - a whistle stop tour of some high points in Russian literature with a bit of an overview of its development - or you can take Catriona Kelly's approach and use one writer (in this case Pushkin) as a case study and springboard to discuss a sprinkling of some of the main themes. Given that I've always wanted someone to explain Pushkin's primacy in Russian letters to me, this does not necessarily pose a problem. That said, there's a feeling after r ...more
Lisa
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vsi, 17-review, britain, c21st
The first thing to say about this VSI on Russian Literature is that it needs updating.  Authored by Catriona Kelly from Oxford, it was published in 2001 - ten years after the end of the Soviet Union in 1991 - and you only need to look at the Russian category on Stu's blog at Winston's Dad and here at ANZ LitLovers to see that not only are there now numerous post-Soviet writers clamouring for our attention but also that books suppressed under the Soviet regime are now seeing the light of day. The ...more
Jon
Dec 26, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
'An Introduction to Pushkin, If You've Read Some Pushkin and Are Familiar With Most of the Major Russian Novelists and Poets' would be a better title. This book did not understand it was a VSI. If I hadn't already read a lot of Russian literature I would have been fairly lost, I had to go to the dictionary a few times for words that weren't even technical terms and the Further Reading is just a mess of references.

I read this and know a bit more than I did, but VSIs are meant to spark interest, p
...more
Stephen Bruce
Aug 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Kelly takes an interesting approach here, by focusing on the life, works, and legacy of Alexander Pushkin, as a window into the changing role of literature in Russian society over time. It is thus very different from the chronological summary of Russian writers that one might have expected from the title. But as the author notes, other books (such as Victor Terras's Handbook of Russian Literature) already cover the whole field fairly well, and it would have been difficult indeed to squeeze any k ...more
Sujan
May 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like other titles in the series, this book too is stimulating for brain and provoking the interest for further reading. Unlike an ordinary introduction book on a national literature, this book concentrates on the supreme person of the Russian literature tradition, Pushkin, and illuminates different aspects like religion, women writers, the prominent literary theories, in relation to and from the starting point of this great writer. This approach, while not enabling the reader to get fully introd ...more
keyvan
Jul 09, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was very good. This is more a history of Russian literature from time of Pushkin to the present day. The author puts Pushkin, 'the father of Russian literature', at the center of his investigation. The response, and attitude of Russian writers and poets to Pushkin is used as a method to discover the many different strands of Russian literature. Fragments of writings and poems are discussed throughout the text, and the whole range of political, cultural, and ethnic issues peculiar ...more
Bibliomantic
Many Germans view their literature in terms of before and after Goethe. Catriona Kelly uses a similar approach to Russian lit presenting a series of asides that prefigure the central figure of Pushkin. Lermontov and others rightly make their appearances, but this brief introduction is really just an extended essay on Pushkin. Somewhat interesting, but not truly what the book was supposed to be, I think. Then again, having read several in this series, the only ones truly about their subjects are ...more
Sasha
Sep 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book to gain insight into an anglophone's view of Russian literature. Catriona is clearly well-educated about the subject, and has provided me with a better understanding of the relationship between the Russian language and the literature. Her original approach to the subject felt like a novel of its own kind, whereupon I wanted to keep reading this analytical text to find out where she'd take it next. Overall, I would have preferred more discussion of authors other than Pushkin ...more
Juan Ignacio Gelos
Review

"It is written in a lively and stimulating manner...and displays a range to which few of Dr. Kelly's peers in the field of Russian scholarship are equal."--Dr. Philip Cavendish

About the Author

Catriona Kelly is a Fellow of New College, Oxford, and the author of A History of Russian Women's Writing and co-editor of Russian Cultural Studies, both published by OUP.

DoctorM
Oct 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-lit, russia
Less an introduction to Russian lit than a long essay on how the idea of literature has been received in Russia over the last two centuries. Kelly begins (naturally) with Pushkin, and uses his image in the Russian popular mind to build outward to discuss what literature does in Russian culture and how it's been used politically and socially.
Amr Ezzat
Review it later..
Danılo Horă
Oct 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The non-orthodox design of this book is truly a work of genius. It really helped me to rethink the way I write. But as an "introduction", I guess it doesn't work at all.
Stan
rated it liked it
Aug 17, 2014
Charlie Brookes
rated it liked it
Mar 09, 2016
Jamie Brown
rated it really liked it
Jun 29, 2011
David Widlan
rated it it was ok
Jan 25, 2014
Axel Munoz
rated it liked it
Apr 07, 2014
Jack King
rated it liked it
Dec 22, 2012
Idrees A.
rated it it was amazing
Nov 29, 2017
Yazid Zul
rated it did not like it
Jul 31, 2014
rebecca
rated it really liked it
Aug 04, 2014
Lj Baker
rated it it was ok
Jul 18, 2013
Allan
rated it liked it
Aug 16, 2008
Kelly Buchanan
rated it liked it
Feb 15, 2014
David Keswick
rated it really liked it
Sep 20, 2016
Tim Goodacre
rated it really liked it
Jun 07, 2018
Josh
rated it liked it
Jul 08, 2017
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Kafka: A Very Short Introduction
  • Tragedy: A Very Short Introduction
  • The Russian Revolution: A Very Short Introduction
  • Free Will: A Very Short Introduction
  • Antisemitism: A Very Short Introduction
  • Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction
  • Psychiatry: A Very Short Introduction
  • Photography: A Very Short Introduction
  • The World Trade Organization: A Very Short Introduction
  • Design: A Very Short Introduction
  • Sikhism: A Very Short Introduction
  • Chaos: A Very Short Introduction
  • نيوتن: مقدمة قصيرة جداً
  • Northern Ireland: A Very Short Introduction
  • Classical Mythology: A Very Short Introduction
  • Racism: A Very Short Introduction
  • The History of Time: A Very Short Introduction
  • Renaissance Art: A Very Short Introduction

Other books in the series

Very Short Introductions (1 - 10 of 543 books)
  • A Very Short Introduction to Everything
  • Classics: A Very Short Introduction
  • Music: A Very Short Introduction
  • Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction
  • Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction
  • Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction
  • Psychology: A Very Short Introduction
  • Islam: A Very Short Introduction
  • Politics: A Very Short Introduction
  • Theology: A Very Short Introduction

Nonfiction Deals

  • Masters of the Air: America's Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany
    $15.99 $3.99
  • The Monster of Florence
    $10.99 $2.99
  • The Westies: Inside New York's Irish Mob
    $9.99 $1.99
  • April 1865 (P.S.)
    $11.74 $1.99
  • Jesus Is ______: Find a New Way to Be Human
    $7.99 $0.99
  • Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership with a Search-and-Rescue Dog
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Lab 257
    $8.74 $1.99
  • How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype--and the Best Time to Eat Lunch, Ask for a Raise, Have Sex, Write a Novel, Take Your Meds, and More
    $14.99 $2.99
  • The Last Lecture
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived
    $12.74 $1.99
  • Not Tonight, Honey: Wait 'Til I'm A Size 6
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth's Past Mass Extinctions
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Feast: True Love in and out of the Kitchen
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology
    $12.99 $2.99
  • An Appetite For Wonder: The Making Of A Scientist
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience
    $27.99 $2.99
  • Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip-Confessions of a Cynical Waiter
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Dakota: A Spiritual Geography (Dakotas)
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Restless: Because You Were Made for More
    $7.49 $1.99
  • Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and The Dawn of the Modern Woman
    $10.24 $1.99
  • The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions
    $16.99 $2.99
  • Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After
    $13.99 $3.99
  • Man-Eater: The Life and Legend of an American Cannibal
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Pukka: The Pup After Merle
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Buddhist Boot Camp
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Flour: A Baker's Collection of Spectacular Recipes
    $21.99 $3.99
  • The Longest Day: The Classic Epic of D-Day
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Van Gogh
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Woman's Worth
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Do the Work
    $4.99 $1.49
  • The Lost Tribe of Coney Island: Headhunters, Luna Park, and the Man Who Pulled Off the Spectacle of the Century
    $4.99 $1.99
  • I Suck at Girls
    $10.74 $1.99
  • The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women
    $14.99 $2.99
  • A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives
    $18.99 $1.99
  • In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Prose
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Journal of a Solitude
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Living by the Word: Essays
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Peace Is Every Breath: A Practice for Our Busy Lives
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive Art
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Londoners: The Days and Nights of London Now--As Told by Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Left It, and Long for It
    $7.24 $1.99
  • The World's Last Night: And Other Essays
    $7.99 $1.99
  • A. Lincoln
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Tracks: One Woman's Journey Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman's Awakening
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Hell's Princess: The Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Life
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Seeing Further: The Story of Science and the Royal Society
    $13.24 $2.99
  • Grace, Not Perfection (with Bonus Content): Celebrating Simplicity, Embracing Joy
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Promise and the Dream: The Untold Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. And Robert F. Kennedy
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Through the Eyes of a Lion: Facing Impossible Pain, Finding Incredible Power
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Why We Run: A Natural History
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Edgar Allan Poe: The Fever Called Living
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple
    $12.99 $2.99