2009 年 2009 巻 38 号 p. 47-59
Russian society has been drastically changing for the past ten years, especially because of the terrible financial crisis that has struck the worlds’ economy in 2009. Due to this process of change, it is very difficult to provide a graphic illustration of today’s Russian literature and proffer a treatise on its future. It is nonetheless important and necessary to give a detailed analysis of the current state of Russian literature in order to investigate the direction in which the profound changes occurring in Russia and in Russian art are headed.
This paper is aimed at analyzing the novels of the most important Russian writers from the 1990s to the present day and examining how they are perceived by the public of readers in Russia. Many of these novels have yet to be translated into Japanese and are not widely known.
In the post-Communist era, a select number of Russian writers began to publish a myriad of works under the banner of “here and now”. These works were written using many expressions taken from everyday slang without any direct reference to classical literature. Rather, the writers aimed at representing what they saw “in front of their eyes” and depicted themselves in the micro-cosmos of their own literature.
Readers can access all of these works on the Internet. Literature has greatly changed from what we knew it to be a decade ago. Even the Internet has become a great library that anyone can approarch. For example, until the 1990s, writers would argue what the revolution meant for Russia, and politics were often discussed in their works. Nowadays, issues like these are not considered as important in contemporary literature.
It is possible to consider “post-realism” as the most appropriate definition of Russian literature from the 1990s hitherto. This concept has been proposed by N. Lejderman and M. Lipovitsky, who worked to combine realism and post-modernism.
In terms of analyzing the style of contemporary Russian writers, we can regard V. Erofeev and O. Slavnikova as the representatives of the 1990s and the 2000s. The text of “Overshoes” and “Encyclopedia of Russian Soul” by V. Erofeev, “2017” and “Love in the seventh Coach” by O. Slavnikova show that the same writers can compose in different styles. “Magic-realism”, observed in their novels, is also a characteristic of Russian literature which derives from the 1990s.
In addition to popular B. Akunin, L. Petrushevskaya, L. Ulitskaya and aforementioned authors, the most important Russian writers today must be D. Rubina, A. Gelasimov, V. P’etsukh, Z. Prilepin, and also M. Shishkin, E. Limonov as the writers of “diaspora”.
Traditionally, Russian literature has always tried to blaspheme authority, drawing largely on poetry and metaphors to slander establishment. Does today’s Russian literature dare to do this? Does censorship still exist in Russia? These are the questions for us to answer.