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Russians no one reads

January 26, 2013

There is a tumblr of Writers No One Reads; here are the writers tagged “Russian”:


  • Aleksei Remizov
  • Nikolai Minskii
  • Valerii Briusov
  • Sasha Chernyi
  • Leonid Andreev
  • plus a maybe to Daniil Kharms.

A pretty good list! Here’s how not-read they are: Briusov is the only name that makes it onto an 18-page list of what graduate students studying Russian literature should have read. Andreev finds himself lumped in with the middlebrow and not quite literary. In 2005 an edition of Minskii came out in the New Poet’s Library series, but where most Great Poets get their own book, he had to share one with Aleksandr Dobroliubov. People read about Sasha Chernyi when they read Maiakovskii, and read about Remizov when they read Andrei Belyi (and would the tumblr say that anyone reads Belyi?).

My own dissertation subject is mentioned, but only in relation to another writer no one reads, to say that no one reads mine either. That’s kind of a double honor.

After seeing this I’ll have to finally read Remizov, who’s the only one on the list I haven’t read anything at all by, even though I think his talent is written about most reverently by scholars. Here Pavel Basinskii (who wrote a book about Tolstoi) interviewing Mikhail Seslavinskii last year, the 135th anniversary of Remizov’s birth.

Hat tip to Obooki’s Obloquy; when I got to the site it seemed familiar and I realized I’d also read about it on Languagehat.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 26, 2013 9:12 am

    I recommend Remizov’s Взвихренная Русь, available in “fragments” here; I have the nice compact 1990 Overseas Publications Interchange edition, with very useful notes identifying all the innumerable personages, known and forgotten, whom Remizov (who knew everybody) met in his dreams (it’s a dream book). I’ll probably never sit down and read the whole thing, but I love dipping into it and savoring his savory linguistic cuisine, with its odd and piquant spicing.

    • January 28, 2013 12:34 pm

      Thanks for the recommendation! I almost started reading the wrong part of the text you link to, but when I found Взвихренная Русь, it did look like an interesting read, if not initially as unconventional as I expected. And for some reason I’m pleased the first female name in it is Евпраксия, the same as the latest character introduced in the main book I’m reading, Взбаламученное море (which title is also oddly similar to Remizov’s).

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