Discussions on national identity and on the future of Russia had traditionally taken place largely in the field of literature, where the Russian peasant and the peasant way of life had served as a point of reference for traditionalist-conservative imaginations of community. After the October Revolution, these traditionalist notions of ‘Russianness’ collided with the early Soviet endeavors to foster a new Soviet supra-national frame of reference for self-identification. Nevertheless, allusions to peasant life experience and hidden references to established russophile schools of thought still found their way into officially published literature. This research project examines how the peasant theme in Russian Soviet literature of the 1910s to 1930s therefore contributed to a perpetuation of conservative imaginations of ‘Russianness’ beyond the Russian Revolution, inscribing them into the new Socialist context.
Among others, the project focusses on works by the following authors: Aleksandr Chaianov (1888-ca. 1937), Sergei Esenin (1895-1925), Nikolai Kliuev (1884-1937), Sergei Klychkov (1889-1937), Leonid Leonov (1899-1994), Boris Pil’niak (1894-1938), Andrei Platonov (1899-1951), Aleksandr Tvardovskii (1910-1971).