World of Science. Series: Sociology, Philology, Cultural Studies
World of Science. Series: Sociology, Philology, Cultural Studies

2021, Vol. 12, No. 1. - go to content...

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Rezhapova I.M. [«Village prose» as a key to understanding Russia by foreign criticism] World of Science. Series: Sociology, Philology, Cultural Studies, 2021, Vol. 12, No. 1. Available at: (in Russian).

«Village prose» as a key to understanding Russia by foreign criticism

Rezhapova Irina Mikhailovna
Kuzbass institute of the federal penitentiary system of Russia, Novokuznetsk, Russia

Abstract. The article provides an overview of the main approaches of foreign critics to the study of «village prose» as the most influential area of Soviet literature of the 1960–80s. With the advent of such significant works as «Brothers and Sisters», «Wooden Horses», «Matrenin Yard», «Familiar Business», «Last Term», it became clear that they were united not only by village themes, but also by a special aggravated moral attitude towards the world. The author points to the main features of the perception of the work of village writers in the West.

The author draws attention to the fact that foreign researchers followed not only the release of works of village prose, but also the literary discussions that they provoked. In general, the years known as the heyday of Russian village prose also became the time of the surge of critical thought in the USSR, and, in general, the rise of national identity in the second half of the 20th century.

It is emphasized that in the era of the closed nature of the Soviet Union, works of this particular direction significantly contributed to the creation of the image of the Russian national world in the West. According to some foreign researchers, not so much the village itself was significant as the gap between the city and the village, their confrontation and influence on people. They also note that no other period in the entire history of the Russian village was characterized by such amazing changes as the period that came after the revolution. The process of transforming society from patriarchal to industrial, the rapid pace of urbanization, the change of cultures gave rise to acute disagreements. The years of industrialization and urbanization were characterized by the fact that traditions were destroyed, not having time to change, generations of fathers and children were divided not by years, but by entire historical eras.

The author emphasizes the significant role of English-language literary criticism in expanding the dialogue about Russian traditionalist prose. Popularizing «village prose» abroad as a successor to the traditions of Russian classical literature, Western researchers proved that Russian culture, always a source of inspiration for other countries, did not stop missions in Soviet times.

Keywords: the direction of Soviet literature; village prose; Anglo-American Slavic studies; English-language literary criticism; patriarchal society; industrialization; urbanization; national identity; the image of the Russian national world

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