Russian Modernism in the Memories of the Survivors: The Duvakin Interviews, 1967–1974
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Soviet philologist, literary dissident, and university professor Viktor Duvakin made it his mission to interview the members of the artistic avant-garde who had survived the Russian Revolution, Stalin’s purges, and the Second World War. Based on archival materials held at the Moscow State University Library, Russian Modernism in the Memories of the Survivors catalogues six interviews conducted by Duvakin. The interviewees talk about their most intimate life experiences and give personal accounts of their interactions with famous writers and artists such as Vsevolod Meyerhold, Sergei Eisenstein, and Marina Tsvetaeva. They offer insights into the world of Russian emigrants in Prague and Paris, the uprising against the Communist government, what it was like to work at the United Nations after the Second World War, and other important aspects of life in the Soviet Union and Europe during the first half of the twentieth century.
Archival photographs, as well as hundreds of annotations to the text, are included to help readers understand the historical and cultural context of the interviews. The unique and previously unpublished materials in Russian Modernism in the Memories of the Survivors will be of great interest to anyone who wants to learn more about this fascinating period in Soviet history.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 248 pages
- Illustrations: 30
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
"Between 1967 and 1974, Viktor Duvakin recorded hundreds of interviews with key figures of Russian modernism, unfolding details that have been forgotten and relations that have been erased. Passionate, biased, and purposefully idiosyncratic, these conversations bring back the energy and audacity that shaped the Russian avant-garde. Accompanied by exhaustive commentaries and archival photographs, this indispensable volume is a perfect companion for anyone interested in Russian culture."
Serguei Alex. Oushakine, Professor of Anthropology and Slavic Languages and Literatures, Princeton University
"This exciting collection of interviews, available for the first time in an excellent English translation, will be an invaluable source of information to scholars and students alike, as well as anyone with an interest in Russian twentieth-century culture. While these interviews reflect the spirit of the 1920s–30s, they also demonstrate that oral history played a crucial role in the preservation of modernist values in Soviet times."
Alexandra Smith, Reader in Russian Studies, University of Edinburgh
"This book affords us an intimate and personal view of one of the most momentous, combative, incendiary, and far-reaching events in the history of literature and art. Making these interviews with first-hand witnesses to and active participants in the ‘moment’ of Russian modernism accessible to the non-Russian reader is a truly remarkable literary and cultural achievement. A rare, informative, indispensable, entertaining, and highly readable book."
Michael Eskin, Co-founder and Vice President, Upper West Side Philosophers, Inc.
"’I am working for the twenty-first century,’ Viktor Duvakin told Roman Jakobson in August 1967. Duvakin's century has indeed arrived: in the last few years, his interviews with Bakhtin and Shklovsky have appeared in English, and now Gratchev, Marinova, and Evdokimova are offering us his conversations with Jakobson and Viktor Ardov, amongst others, on Yesenin, Russian émigré literature, Mayakovsky, Tsvetaeva, and Isaac Babel. A most gratifying reading experience awaits those who want to get a sense of the turbulent times and remarkable personalities recollected in this book."
Galin Tihanov, George Steiner Professor of Comparative Literature, Queen Mary University of London
Author InformationIrina Evdokimova is an independent scholar and a lawyer who used to work as a Criminal Prosecutor for the Attorney General Office.
Slav N. Gratchev is a professor of Spanish at Marshall University.
Margarita Marinova is a professor of English and Comparative Literature at Christopher Newport University.
Table of contents
List of Illustrations
Dialogue I: Victor Ardov (1)
“How Sergey Yesenin recited poems, about one version of his suicide, and why fame cannot be trimmed by administrative means”
Dialogue II: Victor Ardov (2)
“On working with Vsevolod Meyerhold, and on bohemian life in Moscow in 1920s–1930s”
Dialogue III: Vladimir and Ariadna Sosinsky (1)
“On the failed duel in defense of Marina Tsvetaeva, and on the life of Russian emigrants in Prague and Paris”
Dialogue IV: Roman Jakobson
“On my friendship with Vladimir Mayakovsky”
Dialogue V: Vladimir and Ariadna Sosinsky (2)
“On meetings with Pasternak and Babel, German captivity, the uprising on the Oleron island, and working at the UN”
Notes on the Photo Collection
About the Contributors
Subjects and Courses