Lost (m)otherland. The October Revolution and the Civil War in Interwar Russian Émigré Literature

01 October 2014 → 30 September 2019
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Literatures in Russian
    • Humanities and the arts not elsewhere classified
Interwar Russian Émigré Literature
Project description

The Revolution of 1917 and the Civil War (1917-1922) forced many Russians to

flee Russia. Like in other diasporas, the exilic condition sharpened the Russian

émigrés’attention for issues of identity and memory. One of the main things to

remember, one would assume, were the events that forced the émigrés to leave

their homeland –the Revolution and the Civil War. However, these events never

became major literary topics, despite the émigré community’ obvious interest in

the events –hence the many non-literary texts on the topic. This project aims to

study those scarce prose and poetic texts telling (parts of) the traumatic events of

1917-1922 which were published in Europe during the interwar period. The project

will examine how these literary texts present the key events, figures and places of

the Revolution and the Civil War, on the one hand, and the homeland, Russian

culture and Russian identity, on the other. Additionally, the project will scrutinize

what makes this specific type of war literature, “iterature of loss” different from or

similar to other war literatures (e.g., of WWI) and why this genre was so unpopular

among émigré writers and critics. The study will build on studies dealing with

émigré culture and literature, on the one hand, and with (mythologizing)

representations of historical events, figures and places in literary texts, on the

other. Additionally, it will draw on studies on diaspora, trauma and collective