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Vyacheslav IVANOV


Course in UCLA Department of Slavic Languages and literatures, Winter 2007

The course gives a survey of the Russian science fiction literature mainly on the base of the writings of the XXth century authors. The course begins with a  short sketch of the prehistory of the genre in connection to classics of the XIXth century . The link to fantastic realism in the Modern Russian literature is studied. Students are supposed to read the outstanding examples of this genre, to watch movies screening science fiction plots and to participate in discussions on them. Each student has to write two papers : one (about 10 pages; to be finished by the middle of February) on the science fiction literary masterpieces (and/or cinema based on science fiction literaryworks) by  either Zamyatin or Alexej Tolstoy. Another one (approximately 15 pages; to be finished by the  beginning of March) has to deal with  topics discussed in the Russian science fiction such as for instance social conflicts in  Bulgakovs fantastic stories orthe spatial dimensions of a personal world in Krzhizhanovskiis  writings or the  evolutionary time in the novel Plutonia  by Obruchev . On February 12 there will be a midterm class work on the period including  Andrei Belys fantastic novels (the first 10paragraphs of the syllabus). Grading will be based on successes in the two papers, on the midterm work and onthe participation in discussing texts to be read and movies to be watched.

The main sections of the course:

1. Theoretical stand-point; science fiction, fantasy and the Russian fantastic realism in its relation to the Latin American magic realism (Gabriel José García Márquez , Vargas Llosa) and the Central European philosophical and/or fantastic novel of Musil, Kafka, Meyrink and Broch (Kundera on the novel, discussion between Kundera and Brodsky). Science, invention and imagination. The predictive power of the science fiction: the example of spaceflights. The individual inventor or discoverer in his/her relation to the scientific/scholarly and public community.

2. The early period. The Russian prose of the second half of the XVI I I century: a utopian work Voyage to the land of Ophir by Mr. S., a Swedish nobleman (1783-1784, published in 1896) by Prince Mikhail Shcherbatov (1733-1790) famous for his criticism of the moral and social conditions and the whole state of Russia in his time. In his utopian manuscript an ideal stratified society ruled by the nobility is described. The work has traces of the influence of Rousseau: the simple life of non-European people is praised.  Different genres of the fantastic literature of the beginning of the XIX century: utopia, fantastic tales such as A Lonely Cottage on the Vasilyevsky Island (Pushkins oral story written down by  his young friend and published by him   in 1829) and Queen of Spades (1834) by Pushkin (Alexander Sergeevich, 1799-1837): gambling and Pushkins probabilistic view of life; as he had studied the probability theory to Pushkin (as for the modern science) The Chance was the God-Inventor. He unites this idea  with some hints of Svedenborgs mysticism. Other fantastic stories about St.Petersburg; fantastic element in Petersburg text of Pushkin and his followers. Romantic and post-romantic literature of the XIXth century. Prince V.F.Odoevsky (1804-1869). His early period: the circle of Russianphilosophers-lyubomudry and the influence of Shellingsphilosophy. Prince Odoevskys Cosmorama (first published 1840): a magicaldevice (partly similar to Camera obscura: an optical apparatus in which painted objects and characters appear lifelike when viewed through glass) predicting future and showing same persons in another world. Discussion of new scientific equipment and light (and color) that helps to see unusual objects in Prince Odoevskys text. Other mystical writings by Odoevsky based on the occult and alchemic tradition (The Sylph) and on the legends of Finnish-speaking people (Salamander where also objects with magical power are described ). Utopian works by Prince Odoevsky (partly included in his Russian Nights). In a fantastic composition The Year 4338: letters from Petersburg (partly published in 1840; the full edition appeared in1926), a vision of a technological progress of Russia in the distant future is depicted. Many inventions described by Odoevsky (who himself was successfully working on some of them as a telephone) add to his story features that look quite realistic now. Among interesting concrete predictions one may stress the one concerning renaming St.Petersburg.  Bulgarins fantastic writings (Plausible fantasies, or, A journey in the 29th century first published in 1824, 2 ed. 1830) contain some details of new technical inventions that seem interesting but can be partly due to the influence of Swift (as machines writing prose and verses, compare the inventions of the scientists in Laputa in Gullivers Travels) Bulgarins explanation of the journey to the future as a result of a very long sleep is similar to a device used in a novel by Herbert Wells. From the linguistic point of view it seems worth noticing that in Bulgarins imagined world Arabic has become the main language offashion and diplomacy.

3. Nikolai Vasilyevich Gogol s Petersburg Tales; fantastic and absurd/surrealist elements in them (The Diary of a Madman, The Nose, The Portrait with motifs anticipating later Oscar Wildes story). From Gogol (Nikolai Vasilevich, 1809-1852) to Dostoevsky (Fyodor Mikhailovich, 1821-1881) whose early works contain elements of parody of Gogol. Dostoevskys anti-utopian stories; A Dream of a Ridiculous Man (1877) by Dostoevsky in which an dystopian journey to another planetwas described. The story of the Great Inquisitor told by Ivan Karamazov (Russian literature on the topic is very large). Dostoevsky on Edgar Poe in his preface to a Russian translation of Poestales in a journal published by Dostoevsky; the notion of fantastic realism introduced by Dostoevsky and its development in the XX century. Dostoevskys geometrical knowledge: Riemanns space in his writings (as later in Ulysses by Joyce). Another type of Utopia; a dream of a woman-hero of Chernyshevskys novel What isto be done?(1863). 

4. Sluchevsky, Konstantin Konstantinovich (1837-1904) an almost forgotten greatlyrical poet and a gifted prose author. Sluchevskys Professor of Immortality (1891); theoretical talks on the modern science and the immortality of the soul. The fashionable exaggeration of the philosophical importance of the second law of thermodynamics: the problem of expanding Entropy. The plot of the story (a sudden death of the wife of the Professor of Immortality) is relatively simple and used for an alternative  theological evaluation of a modern idea (immortality as participation in the quiet state of the universe) expressed in the first part of the short novel.

The influence of Jules Verne: Captain Nemo in Russia by Sluchevsky: the Arctic zone of Russia as a place of meeting of Nemo and an Australian scientist; the description of new technical devices (the micro-phonograph) invented and used by both of them. Comparison to continuation of Jules Verne in the later Russian tradition (Captain Nemo in Joseph Brodskys poem).

The interest of the Russian authors of the late XIX century/ early XX century for technological advances:Neither Fact nor Fantasy: an Electrical utopia (1895) by V.Chikolev and The Self-Propelled Petersburg-Moscow Underground Railway (1902) by A.Rodnykh. The works by V.Uminsky (The Unknown World, 1897, and To the South Pole, 1898) and V.Semenov (Kings of the Air, 1909) influenced by Jules Verne.

The influence of Herbert Wells on the Russian science fiction: a connection to anti-utopia showing social oppositions of the oppressed and the rulers; the role of a single inventorand of his invention.

A parody The Liquid Sun(1913) by the famous prose writer Alexander Kuprin (1870-1938). Kuprins novella Every wish (1917) also shows Wells influence on him.

5. Russian cosmic philosophy. The great grotesque play-writer Sukhovo-Kobylin   (Aleksandr, 1817-1903). and his philosophy: the idea of All-the-World; parallels to his concepts in modern Russian space-science; there might be 3 main types of civilizations: the first one exploiting the energy of the Earth, the second one using the energy of the whole Solar System and the third one based on the energy of the Galaxy (of  the whole nebula).

The philosophy of science of the great Russian religious philosopher Fedorov, Nikolai Fedorovich (1828-1903).  Fedorovs idea of the common task of the mankind and of  the modern science: a physical resurrection of the dead (in one of his last letters Dostoevsky praises the idea). The role of the cosmic space for such a project.

The union of a scientist and a writer as a characteristic feature of the Russian science fiction of the early XX century.

Tsiolkovsky, Konstantin Eduardovich (1857-1935). Tsiolkovskys ideas of space travels (starting in 1878), his engineering projects (Tsiolkovsky and his most important follower Korolev, Sergei Pavlovich, 1907-1966); Tsiolkovskys first treatises on the space flight and on the spaceships operated by jet propulsion  of liquid-fuelled rockets (Free  Space,1883; How to protect fragile and delicate objects from jolts and shocks, 1891, The Probing of Space by means of jet-devices, 1903) and his science fiction: On the Moon (1893) and Beyond the Planet Earth (1920) in which a project of an international spaceship is described. The importance of Tsiolkovskysphilosophy of nature for the Russian literature; his influence on the great Russian poet Zabolotsky (originally a member of the Oberiu group). The mystic element in Tsiolkovskys view of his own role in the history of the mankind.

Different areas of spiritual and material culture and history in which Tsiolkovskys influence can be found; the science fiction on rockets used as spaceships; the construction of real spaceships and (international) space interplanetary stations being planned and constructed, projects of flights (of robots and/or humans) to the Moon and Mars; the influence of Tsiolkovskys philosophy.

Alexander Bogdanov (Malinovskii) (1873-1928). His general scientific theory (Bogdanovs general tektology: a new science viewed upon as a predecessor of the general theory of systems and ofcybernetics), his science fiction The Red Star (1908) in which predictions on the communist society of the future were made, and his political activity (Lenin as Bogdanovs political and philosophical opponent in the pre-Revolutionary Bolshevik party). It is interesting to compare visions of the space flight with destination Mars in Bogdanovs Red Star to that of visualized by Alexei Tolstoy in Aelita and to other science fiction tales on Mars and space expeditions to it..

Chizhevskii, Aleksandr Leonidovich (1897-1964). Chizhevsky.s ideas on the role of the Sun and the solar energy: Chizhevskys science fiction writings.

6. Anti-utopia in the Russian tradition of the Symbolist and post-Symbolist periods. Fantastic elements in prose writings of Valerii Bryusov (The Republic of the Southern Cross, 1904-1905: a story of a psychic illness that ruined a city where dictators ruled ; The last martyrs); Fedor Sologub (A little demon[ a mysterious evil creature Nedotykomka is similar typologically to The Damned Thing in Ambrose Bierces story and in Horla by Maupassant]) and other symbolists.

K.S.Stanislavskys novel on the future fate of the mankind.

Attempts to fuse science and occult traditions: the Swedish writer Strindbergs Inferno was seen as an example of suchfusion by the great poet Alexander Blok and some other symbolists. Ouspensky, Petr Demianovich ( 1878-1947) and his Russian books (on the 4th dimension, on Taro cards, on alchemy) written before his emigration;  Ouspenskys  Englishwritings (The New Model of the Universe); a fantastic screenplayby Ouspensky ; his later association with Gurdzhiev (pay attention to the existence of a large archive of the letters of Gurdzhievs pupilsin Yale collections). The topic of other dimensions (4,5,n) in Russian futurism, Kulbin. Cubist painters and modern geometry (L.Hendersons study).

Russian futurism and pictures of (utopian) future. Khlebnikov, Velimir, 1885-1922. Khlebnikovs prose scientific fiction : description of new technical devices such as a combination of an airplane, an amphibian and a cross-country vehicle. Lobachevskys curves (of the Non-Euclidean geometry) adorning a city of the future in Khlebnikovs poems. An attempt to create mathematics of history and predictions based on equations and the idea of temporal cycles (a parallel to Vision by Yeats). The role of imaginary numbers in Khlebnikovs writings as well as in the treatise by P.Florensky (Zamyatins notes on Florenskys book). A possible comparison to Musil.

7. Zamyatin (Evgenii Ivanovich,1984-1937) as an author of articles on Herbert Wells andmodern science. Zamyatins antiutopiaWe (1924). A correct prediction of  a social position of the space researcher (a comparison to Korolevs biography). The role of the female heroes in the Russian science fiction of the twenties. The problem of the state regulation of sex relations in a future society. Possible traces ofan expressionist style in Zamyatins novel. The influence of Zamyatins anti-utopia (=dystopia from Greek dus- "bad"+ top-o-V place) on later works of the Western dystopian tradition originated by Aldous Huxley (Brave New World) and continued by Arthur Koestler (Darkness at Noon) and George Orwell (1984).

Other examples of anti-utopia in the works of  the Russian Serapion brothers (a literary group of early twenties influenced by Zamyatin); The Apes are coming, a play by Lev Lunts. Luntz and his teacher, the famous founder of the formalist school Victor Shklovsky on the necessity to use a plot of the type of the Westernnovel of adventures (polemical attitude towards the prose without a plot). Mandelstam on the plot in the Serapion brothers writings.

8.  AndreyPlatonovich Platonov (1899-1951). Andrey Platonov science-fiction stories (1921-1926): Markun, Descendents of the Sun, A Moon Bomb, The Ether Way. In these early works the influence of Fedorovs cosmic philosophy and of Bogdanov can be found.Much later Platonov wrote an article on Čapeks scientific fiction (The War with the Newts, 1937). Platonov is one of the main representatives of the Russian fantastic realism. Fantastic element is present in Platonovs Chevengur and The Foundation Pit as also in hisDzhan (a story of a small tribe in Central Asia ).

9.Alexei Nikolaevich Tolstoy (1882-1945); his science fiction: Aelita (1922), a story of a space flight to Mars; there a former Red Army soldier Gusev who has come from the Earth helps to organize an unsuccessful revolt of the oppressed population . The influence of the Russian symbolist style on the description of the love story and on the mythopoetic tales on the prehistory of cultures of Mars and the early Earth told by Aelita (the daughter of the main ruler of Mars). The film Aelita was staged (on the base of Tolstoys novel) in 1924 by the film director Protazanov ; the famous actor Igor Ilyinskiy (of Meyerholds theatre) participated as well as the actress Solntseva; the expressionist screen sets were made by the woman-painter Alexandra Exter (well-known for her worksmade for the Tairovs  Chamber Theatre).

Tolstoys short story The Union of the Five (=The Seven Days that robbed the World, 1925): the idea of the union of the multi-millionaires and their use of the interplanetary rockets to establish dictatorship. The Moon as an object of afinancial adventure. These topics are developed in another Toltoys science fiction Engineer Garins Death Ray (or Death Box,1926-1927; new chapters were added in 1937 as Tolstoy was forced to adjust his fantasy to the rules of the growing Soviet political censorship). There a kind of a prediction is made on the use of the future lasers in thewars. The economic interplay of the American capitalism and that of Europe is one of the subjects of the novel. Social problems of the nascent fascism in Europe were visualized in this novel particularly in the last chapters on Garin as a dictator. Other possible predictions in Tolstoys novel on Garin; the doubles, the detective search in different European capitals. Zoya: a female adventurer as one of the main heroes of the novel. Elements of a thriller and a detective story in the novel.

Alexei Tolstoys dynamic style; short sentences, mystically depicted landscapes.

Fantastic new weapons are mentioned in adventurous early Soviet prose writings by Marietta Shaginyan, Valentin Kataevand other authors.

Several writers wrote socialist-oriented utopias describing fantastic technological inventions of the future: Tomorrow (1923) by Ya. Okunev,One Thousand Years Hence (1927) by V.Nikolsky, Happy Land (1930) by Ya.Larri. Viktor Shklovsky and Vsevolod Ivanov wrote a parody of  fantastic Soviet novels on a terriblenew weapon (gas) to be used in the Third World War: Iprit (first published in 1925, 1929, never reprinted until the quite recent new edition of 2005).

10. Andrei Belys novels on Moscow: the scientific discovery of professor Korobkin and its possible military misuse. The image of the great symbolist writer Andrei Bely (=Boris Bugaev, 1880-1934) as a prophet (prediction of the atomic bomb explosion in an autobiographical poem The First Encounter, the view of the rising German fascism in his essay of the early 1920-ies , tortures of an intellectual in the last Moscow cycle of novels) and his fate in Stalinist Russia. The place of Bely in Russian and world literature and humanities. Bely and  Joyce; Bely and Kafka (Nabokov on Bely as one of the 4 great prose authors of the XX century). Moscow prose cycle; the genre of science fiction and the idea of the fate of an inventor and his invention in modern society. Moscow (Korobkin) cycle (the idea of a secret international society and the problem of Dr. Rudolf Steiners antroposophic movement). Language of Belys prose. Dialectal words and Belys inventions. The influence of Russian futurist style. Trans-rational language in the description of hallucinations. Surrealistic features of Bely and violence as a topic in his novels.

11. Mikhail Bulgakov (1891-1940). His short science fiction novel The Fatal Eggs influenced by Herbert Wells. A story of a fatal mistake in buying eggs from which monsters appear. The parody of the Soviet bureaucracy in its relations to the West. Bulgakovs medical education and intuitive prediction as manifested inanother science fiction story The heart of a dog. The idea of transplantation of the brain of a dog being implanted in a corpse of a perished man. Social conflicts of the post-revolutionary Russia as seen in the novel. An average Soviet hooligan Sharikov (with a brain of the dog Sharik) is opposed to the Professor who has performed the implant.

Bulgakovs fantastic realism in his last novel Master and Margaret.

12. The visions of the future: the great futurist poet Vladimir Mayakovsky  (1893-1930): The Laboratory of Human Resurrection in the final part of his long poem About This is explained as an attempt to realize Fedorovs ideas (the great painter Chekrygin as a link between Fedorovs ideas and Mayakovsky).His satirical play The Bedbug as a parody of a Soviet bureaucrat being exposed in a zoo of the future city.

13. Obruchev, Vladimir Afanasievich (1863-1956) as a geologist and traveller adds valuable geological details to a plot connected to the idea of a journey to the past. . Two science fiction novels by Obruchev: Plutonia (1915/1924) and Sannikovs Land(1926). In the first a story of the lost world (foundto the North of Alaska) is given where the ancient reptiles are aliveas in Conan Doyles novel The Lost World of 1912. In the second science fiction novel by Obruchev an archaic race is discovered in a volcano close to the Northern Pole.

A great anthropologist and linguist V. G. Bogoraz-Tan  (famous through his studies of the Chukchee and Siberian Eskimo tribes) has expressed his knowledge of early mythology in his novel Sons of the Mammoth and other writings (originally he had been a revolutionary sentby the Tsarist regime to the Arctic areas because of his political activities; there he turned to scientific studies of the native cultures)..

Ivan Antonovich Efremov (1907-1972). A paleontologist by his education, he wrote both on topics close to his scientific profession (A Meeting over Tuscarora, Stories) and also on space flights with social implications (The Andromeda Nebula, 1959).

14.Vsevolod Ivanov (1895-1963) was close to fantastic realism in his novels The Kremlin and Upublished posthumously and in a cycle of Fantastic tales also published after the death of the author. In the English edition of his Stories two novellas are from this cycle: Sisyphus, son of Aeolus and The falcon . The first of themis similar to a text by Camus composed approximately at the same time and also referring to the myth of Sisyphus reinterpreted from the point of view of the existential absurdist philosophy. An occult part of Vsevolod Ivanovs early experience connected to the yoga studies was described in his autobiographic The adventures of a fakir (the first American English ed. of 1935):   The poor Arthur Gordon Pim from a fantastic novel by Edgar Poe  had been the main image with whom the future writer tried to identify himself in his early years ofhis vagrant life in the Western Siberia and Central Asia. A story of a specialist in Buddhism in theshort narrative The Return of Buddha ends in a tragedy.

15. The popular science fiction of the 1920-ies/1930-ies and of the later period. Alexander  Belyaev (1884-1942): the Amphibian (1928) is a novel on an attempt at biological transformation of human beings that would make it possible to live under the sea; The Struggle in Space (1928) is one of the first examples of a cosmic epic story in which many fantastic inventions take place. Belyaevs Professor Dowells head(1925) belongs to famous pieces of Russian Science fiction.

Alexander Kazantsev: a book on the Tunguska meteorite of the beginning of the XXth century as a possible coming of an extraterrestrial spaceship. Scientific investigation of this hypothesis. Kazantsev screenplay of a film on the flight to Venus.

16. Krzhizhanovskii, Sigizmund, 1887-1950; most of  his works have been published quite recently only posthumously: quite an original fantastic author with a new notion of spatial dimensions in literature. In a short story Quadraturin (written in 1926, first published in Russian in 1988/ the English translation of 2006) a parody of an advertising of a new technical device is used to show in a grotesque manner the terrible living conditions of intellectuals in the early Soviet period. In The Yellow Coal the problem of psychology of hatred is studied to show the link between theuse of energy and human emotions. The unusual vocabulary of Krzizhanovskii.

17.Daniil Kharms (1905-1942) and other Oberiu (=A Union for the Real Art) absurdist fantasy authors. Kharms play Paw, the influence of Khlebnikovs works on Kharms. Oberiuts (members of Oberiu) and Chinari - specialists in mathematical philosophy (Lipavsky, Druskin  ). Kharms notion of a cis-finite (this- finite) moment (cf.trans-finite-beyond finite- in mathematics) as espressed in his poems. Kharms combination of the  rational and  the trans-rational (=beyond rational in Khlebnikovs sense). Kharms occult interests. Gustav Meyrink  (1868 1932, Der Golem, 1915) as the favorite prose author of Kharms. Possible comparison of Meyrink (who has now become quite famous after the recent rediscovery of his works) to Bulgakov. Is it perhaps true to see in these authors the real literary heritage of the irrational and non-realistic XX century?

18. The brothers Strugatskis  as the most popular authors of the science fiction of 1960-ies-1980-ies.. Main periods of their development. The first period describes explorationshownin an optimistic way (for instance, in a novella Destination, Amaltheia, 1960,  and Noon , 22 century, 1962). With Far Rainbow (1963) a sense of an impending catastrophe grows. Social problems appear in Strugatkis antiutopian works asHard to be a God (1964).  To the dark period of Strugatskis work belong Monday begins on Saturday (1965), The Snail on the Slope (1966-1968), The Second Martian Invasion (1968). The last somber period is seen in Prisoners of Power (1978) and Roadside Picnic (1972) in which a vision of Chernobyl-like catastrophe might be recognized. Tarkovskys movie Stalker as based on the latter Strugatsis s novel: the differences between the film and the novel are evident particularly in the change of the type of the main hero - the Stalker.

19. Non-Soviet and anti-Soviet scientific fiction and fantastic authors. Abram Terz (=Andrey Sinyavsky)s fantastic Tales; Pkhents: an extraterrestrial living as if he was a normal Soviet citizen in a communal flat (there is an interesting parallel in Quadraturin by Krzhizhanovskii); his difficulties in getting enough water (in reality he is a plant). A device of estrangement; his seeming similarity to a hunchback. Social themes of Sinyavsky.  Nikolay Arzhak (Yuli Daniel)s novel Moscow is speaking (a anti-utopian fantastic political satire on the day of the Open Murder). The trial of Sinyavsky and Daniel (the winter of 1965). Other non-official authors: Dudintsev and his New Year Tale. Poetry: ironic poem on extraterrestrials by David Samoilov.

Voinovichs fantastic novels. Fantastic elements in Aksyonovs novels; The Island Crimea: imaginary pseudo-real history (comparison to Llosa).

20. Fantastic genres in  the prose of the Russian emigration. Fantastic elements in Nabokovs Russian and English writings. The philosophic parable in An Invitationfor an Execution by Nabokov; a possible comparison to Kafka. Nabokovs lecture on Kafka. The influence of Edgar Poe (a novel on Arthur Gordon Pim) on the description of a sea journey in the novel Apollon Bezobrazov by the Russian émigré surrealist author Poplavsky.

21. Fantastic elements in the recent works of Russian authors. A parody of the Soviet space achievements in Omon Ra by Pelevin. Genre of fables revived in his The Life of the Insects. Buddhist symbolism and modern technology in later novels by Pelevin. The image of the Other World viewed by an old woman in a novel by Ulitskaya.

22.Films based on science fiction (see above on Aelita and The Stalker). The great Russian cinema director Tarkovskii, Andrei Arsenevich, 1932-1986. Andrey TarkovskysSolaris (1972, based on Stanislaw Lems novel), Alexei Germans not yet fully realized but widelyknown and discussed project on Hard to be a god (based on Strugatskis novel).

23.Time as a main topic of fantastic stories starts with Khlebnikovs essays on the subject. The hero of Krzhizhanovskiis short novel Memories of the Future has been devoted to the study of the problem of Time since his childhood (remarks of Einstein on his early impression of the name of this notion are in a way similar). In Master and Margaret by Bulgakov the devil (Voland) remembers different epochs. In Bulgakovs play Ivan Vasilievich a Soviet citizen is put into the epoch of Ivan the Terrible. In a similar manner in the famous cinema director Sergei  Eizensteins grotesque screenplay MMM an Old Russian top church official together with fabulous birds appears in Modern Moscow. A partly comparable plot isrealized in Vsevolod Ivanovs play The Caesar and the Comedy Actors (The Inspiration). Such journeys through time were described in several other works of Vsevolod Ivanov. In his last long story Generalissimus Menshikov, the favorite official of Peter the Great had been buried frozen in the permafrost and was awakened in Stalins time (both he and Stalin had been given the honorary titles of Generalissimus in the XX century known alsothrough such leaders as Franco and Chang Kai Shec). In Amosovs novel a similar story of a frozen man is used to compare two different periods of the XXth century.

Parallels to the idea of the time machine in the world literature are numerous (Wells whosenovel was severely criticized by the hero of Krzhizhanovskiis work;Jarry etc.).The earliest works on the fantastic shift of historical time: Mark Twain sYankee at the Court of king Arthur (1889). J.B.Priestleys Time Plays and his essay on time. Priestley on the influence of Ouspenskys New Model of the Universe on his understanding of Time.

Frozen time in Tarkovskys concept of cinema.


The texts that are advisable to read for the course are marked by one *; first of all every student should read:

1. * Red Star by A.Bogdanov;

2.*We by E.Zamyatin;

3.  *Aelita by Alexei N. Tolstoy;

4. * Engineer Garin and his death ray by Alexei N. Tolstoy (Temporarily Shelved at College Library Circulation Desk 2-Hour Reserves)

5.*Heart of a Dog by M.Bulgakov;

6. *The Fatal Eggs by M. Bulgakov (the book is supposed to come to our bookshop by the beginning of February)

7. *Plutonia by V. Obruchev (the book is supposed to come to our bookshop in 3 weeks)

8. * Seven stories by S.Krzhizhanovskii; 

the other texts that are particularly important for neighboring problems of the Russian literature at largeare marked with two **; the reading of all the rest is optional and depends on tastes and interests of each individual student.


**Bely, Andrey, Kotik Letaev. Translated by Gerald Janecek. Ann Arbor , Mich. : Ardis, 1971.

**Bely, Andrey,  The christened Chinaman,   translated, annotated, and introduced by Thomas R. Beyer, Jr.: Tenafly , N.J. : Hermitage Publishers, 1991.

Bogdanov, A. (Aleksandr), Essays in tektology . English translation by George Gorelik.2nd ed. Seaside , Calif. : Intersystems Publications, 1984. Series: The Systems inquiry series.

*Bogdanov, A. (Aleksander),  Red star : the first Bolshevik utopia ; edited by Loren R. Graham and Richard Stites ; translated by Charles Rougle.    Bloomington \: Indiana University Press, c.1984.  Series: Soviet history, politics, society, and thought .Contents: Red star -- Engineer Menni -- Martian stranded on Earth (or other editions).  

Bogoraz, V.G. Sons of the Mammoth, translated from the Russianby Stephen Graham. New York : Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, 1929

*Bulgakov, Mikhail Afanasyevich. The fatal eggs and other stories. Ed.M.Ginzburg, London : Quartet, 1993.

*Bulgakov, Mikhail Afanasyevich. The heart of a dog and other stories. Transl.K.Cook. Moscow, 1990 (or other editions).

**Dostoyevsky, Fyodor,.  The brothers Karamazov : a novel in four parts and an epilogue, translated with an introduction and notes by David McDuff. London ; New York , N.Y. : Penguin, 2003. Series: Penguin classics.

**Dostoyevsky, Fyodor,  White nights ; A gentle creature ; The dream of a ridiculous man ; translated by Alan Myers . (or; Dostoyevsky, FyodorThe dream of a queer fellow, and The Pushkin speech. Translated by S. Koteliansky and J. Middleton Murry. London : G. Allen & Unwin; New York , Barnes & Noble, [1961] Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1995).

Dutt, V.L. (ed.) A visitor from outer space. Science fiction stories by Soviet writers. Moscow , 196-.

Dutt, V.L. (ed.) Soviet Science fiction. NY, 1962.

Efremov, Ivan Antonovich. A Meeting over Tuscarora. Transl. by M. and N. Nicholas. London-NY, 1946.

Efremov, Ivan Antonovich. Stories. Transl. O.Gorchakov.Moscow, 1954.

Efremov, Ivan Antonovich. The Land of Foam . Transl. G.Manna. Moscow , 195-.

Fedorov, Nikolai Fedorovich, What was man created for? : the philosophy of the common task : selected works; translated from the Russian and abridged by Elisabeth Koutaissoff and Marilyn Minto.[ London ] : Honeyglen, 1990.

**Gibian, G. (ed.) The man with the black coat : Russia s literature of the absurd / selected works of Daniil Kharms and Alexander Vvedensky ; edited and translated by George Gibian. Evanston , Ill. : Northwestern University Press, [1997] .

**Gogol, Nikolai Vasilevich,  Diary of a madman, Nevski prospect. London : L. Drummond limited, 1945.

**Gogol, Nikolai Vasilevich. The complete tales of Nikolai Gogol / edited, with an introduction and notes, by Leonard J. Kent. 2 v. ; Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1985.

**Ivanov, Vsevolod Viacheslavovich,   Selected stories. Moscow : Raduga, 1983. Series: Russian and Soviet story. 

**Ivanov, Vsevolod Viacheslavovich,  The adventures of a fakir . Westport , Conn. : Hyperion Press, 1975 (1 ed.1935).

Kazantsev, Alexander Petrovich. The Destruction of Faena. Moscow : Raduga, transl. A.Miller. !989.

**  Khlebnikov, Velimir, 1885-1922.  The king of time : selected writings of the Russian futurian ; translated by Paul Schmidt ; edited by Charlotte Douglas. Cambridge , Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1985.

*Krzhizhanovskii, Sigizmund, 1887-1950.  Seven stories    Moscow : Glas, 2006.   208 p. ; 20 cm. Series: Glas new Russian writing : contemporary Russian literature in English translation ; v. 39 Glas (Moscow, Russia). English ; v. 39. Contents: Introduction -- Map of the Arbat -- Quadraturin -- In the pupil -- The runaway fingers -- Autobiography of a corpse -- The unbitten elbow -- The bookmark -- Yellow coal -- Notes. Subject(s)

Kundera, Milan.The art of the novel / by Milan Kundera New York : Grove Press, 1988.

Last door to Aiya; a selection of the best new science fiction from the Soviet Union . Edited and translated by Mirra Ginsburg. New York : S. G. Phillips, 1969.

** Mayakovsky, Vladimir,  The bedbug [a play] and selected poetry ,  edited with an introd. by Patricia Blake ; translated by Max Hayward and George Reavey  Midland Book ed. Bloomington : Indiana University Press, 1975.

The Molecular cafe: science-fiction stories. Translated from the Russian. Moscow : Mir, 1968.  

More Soviet science fiction / with an introd. by Isaac Asimov.: New York : Collier Books, 1962,. Series: Collier books science fiction ; AS295V. From the contents: Introduction / Isaac Asimov -- The heart of the serpent / Ivan Yefremov   -- Six matches / Arkady and Boris Strugatsky.

New Soviet Science Fiction. Introduction by T.Sturgeon. Transl. H.S.Jakobsen. New York : Macmillan, 1979.

*Obruchev, Vladimir Afanasyevich Plutonia . Amsterdam , the Netherlands : Fredonia Books, 2001. 

Obruchev, V. A. (Vladimir Afanasyevich),  Sannikov land. [Translated from the Russian by David Skvirsky]. Moscow : Foreign Languages Pub. House, [1955].

**Odoevsky, Vladimir. The Salamander andother Gothic Tales,transl. Neil Cornwell, Bristol Classical Press, 1992..

**Odoevsky, Vladimir. Russian Nights. Transl. O.Koshansky-Oleinikov and R. Matlaw. Evanston :   NW  University  Press, 1997 (or: NY 1965).

Ouspenskii, P. D. (Petr Demianovich), . Talks with a devil; translated by Katya Petroff ; edited and introduced by J.G. Bennett. 1st paperback ed. Wellingborough;  Turnstone Press, 1980, c1972.

Ouspenskii, P. D. (Petr Demianovich),    A new model of the universe. London : Arkana, 1984.

Path into the unknown; the best of Soviet science fiction. Introd. by Judith Merril. New York : Delacorte Press, [1968] Fromthec ontents:  --An emergency case, by A. and B. Strugatsky.--Wanderers and travellers, by A. Strugatsky .

Pelevin, Viktor.  Omon Ra; translated from the Russian by Andrew Bromfield. New York : New Directions, 1998.

**Platonov, Andrei. Chevengur. Transl. A.Olcott. Ann Arbor , Mich. : Ardis.1978.

**Platonov, Andrei. Collected Works. Pref. J.Brodsky. Ann Arbor , Mich. 19078 .

**Platonov, Andrei. Finist, the falcon prince. A Russian tale. Transl. L.Regehr. Minneapolis , Minn. , 1973.

**Platonov, Andrei. The foundation pit. Transl. R.Chandler and G.Smith, London; Harvill Press, 1996 (or: transl. M.Ginsburg, NY, 1975)

Pre-Revolutionary Russian science fiction : anthology (seven utopias and a dream) / edited and translated by Leland Fetzer. Ann Arbor , Mich. : Ardis, 1982. Contents: Plausible fantasies, or, A journey in the 29th century / Faddei Bulgarin -- The year 4338: letters from Petersburg / V.F. Odoevski -- Vera Pavlovnas fourth dream / Nikolai Chernyshevski -- Red star, a utopia / Alexander Bogdanov (Malinovski) -- A toast ; Liquid sunshine / Alexander Kuprin -- The Republic of the Southern Cross ; The last martyrs / Valeri Briusov.

Prokofyeva, R. (transl.)The heart of the serpent. Transl. R.Prokofyeva. Moscow, 1966.

**Pushkin, Aleksandr Sergeevich, : Complete prose fiction / translated, with an introduction and notes, by Paul Debreczeny Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, 1983.

Russian science fiction; an anthology. Translated by Doris Johnson. [ New York ] : New York University Press, [1964] From the contents: Invisible light, by A. Belyaev.-- Shadows of the past, by I. Efremov.--Cor serpentis, by I. Efremov.-- .--A new years fairy tale, by V. Dudintsev.--On the Moon, by K. Tsiolkovsky.

Russian science fiction, 1968; an anthology. Compiled and edited with an introd. by Robert Magidoff. Translated by Helen Jacobson. New York : New York University Press, 1968.  

Science fiction and adventure stories by Soviet writers. Moscow : Progress Publishers, [1970]Compiled by E. Krichevskaya and N. Ostroumova.

Shcherbatov, Mikhail Mikhaĭlovich,.  On the corruption of morals in Russia [by] Prince M. M. Shcherbatov; edited and translated [from the Russian] with an introduction and notes by A. Lentin.: London : Cambridge U.P., 1969.

Sinyavsky, Andrei Donatovich. Fantastic stories, by Abram Tertz. [Translated from the Russian] New York : Pantheon Books, [1963]Contents: You and I. The icicle. Translated by M. Hayward.--Tenants. At the circus. Graphomaniacs. Translated by R. Hingley.

Sologub, Fyodor,The little demon ; translated by Ronald Wilks.: London ; New York : Penguin Books,1994.  

Strugatsky, B. and A. Beetle in the Anthill. Trasl.A.Bouis. NY 1980.

Strugatsky, B. and A. Definitely maybe: a manuscript discovered under unusual circumstances. Transl. A.Bouis. NY: Macmillan, 1978.

Strugatsky, B. and A. Far Rainbow. Transl.A.Bouis. NY : Macmillan, 1979.

Strugatsky, B. and A. Hard to be a god. Transl.W.Ackerman. NY : Seabury Press, 1973 (or; NY: Daw Books, 1974).

Strugatsky, B. and A. Noon, 22nd century. Transl. P.Mc Guire. NY, 1978.

Strugatsky, B. and A. Space Apprentice. Transl. A. Bouis. NY: Macmillan, 1981.

Strugatsky, B. and A. The final circle of the Paradise. Transl. E.Renen. London : D.Dobson, 1979.

Strugatsky, B. and A. Roadside picnic ; Tale of the troika; translated from the Russian by Antonina W. Bouis ; introduction by Theodore Sturgeon. New York : Macmillan, 1977.

Strugatsky, B. and A. The snail on the slope. Transl. Alan Meyers. London ;V. Gollanz, 1980.

Strugatsky, B. and A. The Time Wanderers. Transl. A. Bouis. NY 1986.

Strugatsky, B. and A. The Ugly Swans. Transl. A. And S. Nakhimovsky. NY, 1980.

Tarkovskii, Andrei Arsenevich, 1932-1986.  Collected screenplays / Andrei Tarkovsky ; translated by William Powell and Natasha Synessios. London ; New York : Faber and Faber, 1999.Contents: The steamroller and the violin -- Ivans childhood -- Solaris -- Light wind (Ariel) -- Mirror -- A white, white day -- Hoffmanniana -- Stalker -- Sardor -- Nostalgia -- The sacrifice.

The ultimate threshold : a collection of the finest in Soviet science fiction,edited and translated by Mirra Ginsburg. Harmondsworth , Eng. ; New York : Penguin Books, 1978. 

*Tolstoy, Aleksey Nikolayevich,. Aelita  ; translated from the Russian by Antonina W. Bouis ; introduction by Theodore Sturgeon.: New York : MacMillan, c1981 (or another American edition:Tolstoy, Aleksey Nikolayevich,  Aelita, or, The decline of Mars /    Ann Arbor : Ardis, c1985)..

Tolstoy, Aleksey Nikolayevich,  Engineer Garin and his death ray   ; [translated from the Russian by George Hanna]Moscow : Raduga Publishers, c1987 (a previous edition: Tolstoy, Aleksey Nikolayevich,  The Garin death ray [Translated from the Russian by George Hanna]: Moscow : Foreign Languages Publishing House, [1955]).

*Zamyatin, Evgenii Ivanovich. We. Transl. M.Ginzburg. NY, 1999 (previous ed. of  this transl.: NY: Viking Press, 1972; also- either: transl. C.Brown, NY: Penuin Books, 1993. or: transl.B.G.Guerney. London : Cape , 1970, or: transl.G.Zilboorg. NY: Dutton, 1924).


Alexander Bogdanov and the origins of systems thinking in Russia, edited by John Biggart, Peter Dudley, Francis King. Aldershot , England ; Brookfield , Vt. : Ashgate, 1998.

Alexandrov, Vladimir E. Andrei Bely, the major symbolist fiction Cambridge , Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1985. 

Anatomy of wonder : a critical guide to science fiction , edited by Neil Barron ; contributors, Thomas D. Clareson ... [et al.]. 2nd ed. New York : Bowker, 1981. Physical description: xiv, 724 p. ; 24 cm. From the contents: Introduction / by Neil Barron -- The emergence of science fiction / by Thomas D. Clareson -- Science fiction between the wars, 1918-1938 / by Brian Stableford -- The modern period, 1938-1980 / by Joe De Bolt and John R. Pfeiffer --   -- Russian / by Patrick L. McGuire --   Science fiction on film and television / by Neil Barron -- .

Baran, HenrykOn the Poetics of a Xlebnikov Tale: Problems and patterns in Ka.- 

In: Structural Analysis of Narrative Texts: Conference Papers, ed. by M.Conolly,  

A.Kodyak, K.Pomorska, N.Y.University Slavic Papers. Columbus , Ohio . 1980.

Baran, HenrykTemporal Myth in Xlebnikov: From Deti Vydry to Zangesi- In: Myth in Literature, New York University Slavic Papers, vol. V, ed. A.Kodjak et al., Columbus, Ohio: Slavica, 1983, pp.63-88.

Baran, Henryk Majakovskis Holiday Poems in a Literary-Cultural Context.- In:

Studies in Poetics. Commemorative Volume Krystyna Pomorska (1928-1986).Ed. E.

Semeka-Pankratov. Columbus , Ohio : Slavica Publishers, 1995 , pp. 161-190.

Baxter, John, and Thomas Atkins The fire came by : the riddle of the great Siberian explosion , introd. by Isaac Asimov. Garden City, N.Y. : Doubleday, 1976.

Bulgakov : the novelist-playwright , edited by Lesley Milne. Luxembourg : Harwood, 1995.  From the contents:   -- Bulgakov, Stalin and autocracy / A. Colin Wright --   Barbara Henry -- Fatal eggs and Adam and Eve : disruption and restoration of the natural order / Phyllis W. Powell -- Story "morphine" : an attempt at analysis in the context of Bulgakovs creative biography / Marianne Gourg -- Gospel according to Woland and the tradition of the wandering Jew /Kalpana Sahni -- Diaboliad -- Kafkiad?   Masters of the satanic : Mikhail Bulgakov, Salman Rushdie and Umberto Eco / Nina Baranova -- Devil of a similarity : The satanic verses and Master i Margarita. 

Cooke, R. Velimir Khlebnikov: A Critical Study. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press. 1987.

Cornwell, Neil.  Vladimir Odoevsky and romantic poetics . Providence, RI: Berghahn Books, 1998.  ix, 174 p.

Daniil Kharms and the poetics of the absurd : essays and materials /, edited by Neil Cornwell. Published/distributed: New York : St. Martin s Press, 1991. Physical description: xvi, 282 p. ; 23 cm. From the contents: Introduction : Daniil Kharms, Black miniaturist / Neil Cornwell --  Daniil Kharms in the context of Russian and European literature of the absurd / Jean-Philippe Jaccard -- The anti-world of Daniil Kharms : on the significance of the absurd / Anthony Anemone --   -- Elements of the fantastic in Daniil Kharmss Starukha / Rosanna Giaquinta --   Yelizaveta Bam : a dramatic work : a new translation from the definitive text by Neil Cornwell / Daniil Kharms -- Beyond the turning-point : an afterword / Robin Milner-Gulland -- Selected bibliography / Neil Cornwell and Julian Graffy.

Fetzer, Leland. H.G.Wells First Russian Admirer.-Foundation, 11/12, 1977 (on Kuprin).

Glad, John. Extrapolations from dystopia : a critical study of Soviet science fiction. Princeton , New Jersey : Kingston Press, 1982.

Grebens, G. V.   Ivan Efremovs theory of Soviet science fiction ; illustrated by Candice Kensing. New York : Vantage Press, c1978. Physical description: xviii, 135 p. : ill. 

Griffiths, John Charles.   Three tomorrows : American, British and Soviet science fiction Totowa , NJ : Barnes & Noble Books, 1980. 217 p. 

Henderson, Linda Dalrymple,  The fourth dimension and non-Euclidean geometry in modern art : Princeton , N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1983.

Howell, Yvonne,   Apocalyptic realism : the science fiction of Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. New York : P. Lang, c1994.x, 170 p.

Leighton, L.C. Numbers and Numerology in 'The Queen of Spades- Canadian Slavonic Papers, 19, 1977, N 4, 417-443.

Livingstone, A,A Look of Andrei Platonov s Science Fantasy Tales in the Light of his developing Style.- Essays in Poetics, Literary History nd Linguistics, ed. Vigasin,A.A. a.o.. Moscow : OGI, 1999, pp. 374-381.

McGuire, Patrick L. Red stars : political aspects of Soviet science fiction. Ann Arbor , Mich. : UMI Research Press, 1985. 

*Nicholls, Peter (ed.) The Science Fiction Encyclopedia. New York : Dolphin Books, 1979.

 Potts, Stephen W.,The second Marxian invasion : the fiction of the Strugatsky brothers . San Bernardino , Calif. : Borgo Press, c1991.

Pratt, Sarah.   Nikolai Zabolotsky : enigma and cultural paradigm /   Evanston , Ill. : Northwestern University Press, 2000.Series: Studies in Russian literature and theory ...: Includes bibliographical references (p. 293-306) and index.  

Reading for entertainment in contemporary Russia : post-Soviet popular literature in historical perspective , edited by Stephen Lovell and Birgit Menzel. Muenchen : Sagner, 2005.Series: Arbeiten und Texte zur Slavistik, 78. From the contents-- Russian science fiction and fantasy literature (Birgit Menzel).

Sucur, Slobadan. Poe, Odoyevsky, and purloined letters : questions of theory and period style analysis . Frankfurt am Main ; New York : Peter Lang, 2001. Series: European university studies. Series XVIII, Comparative literature, v. 99 = Europäische Hochschulschriften. Reihe XVIII, Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft ; Bd. 99. 

Suvin, Darko. Criticism of Strugatskii brothers.- Canadian-American Slavic Studies. N2, 1972.

Suvin, Darko. The literary Opus of the Strugatskii brothers.- Canadian-American Slavic Studies, 1974, N3.

Todorov, Tzvetan,  The fantastic : a structural approach to a literary genre translated from the French by Richard Howard ; with a foreword by Robert Scholes. Ithaca , N.Y. : Cornell University Press, 1975,1ed.1973.

Vroon, RonaldMetabiosis, Mirror images and negative Integers: Velimir 

Chlebnikov and his Doubles.- In: Weststejn , Wilhelm (ed.) Velemir Chlebnikov (1885-1922). Amsterdam Symposium on the Centenary of Velemir Chlebnikov. Ed.. Amsterdam : Rodopi 1986, pp. 243-290.

Young, George M. Nikolai F. Fedorov, an introduction: Belmont , Mass. : Nordland Pub. Co. , 1979.


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