Online course: Contemporary Russian Literature

Dates: any time

Duration: 37 hours

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 out of 19 ratings (see top rating courses here)

Participating countries: any country

Apply here: Application form

Organizer: Saint Petersburg State University at Coursera


  • FREE
  • $49 with sharable certificate

Contemporary Russian Literature

We are going to talk about Contemporary literature specifically, but it doesn’t include only the literature of the most recent years. It is technically a course on the history of literature, but the history starting from the late Soviet period up until today. The goal is to show you the best writers’ names, so that you may remember them and read their works after the end of this course. The course will show you the tendencies that were developing in Russian literature in last 25 years, and finally to come to it’s present state, in this way forming a journey across the vast sea that is called Russian Literature. Good luck!


WEEK 1: 4 hours to complete

The Prehistory of Contemporary Literature

“The Question of the Boundaries of the Contemporary Literature”
“Unofficial Literature of the Late USSR and its Different Types”
“Mass Literature in the Soviet Era”
“The Phenomenon of Russian “Thick” Literary Journal”
“Literature in the Era of Perestroika”
“The Appearance and Development of Pop Literature”

WEEK 2: 4 hours to complete

The Origins of Contemporary Russian Literature

“Writers Ahead of Their Time. Venedikt Erofeev. The Myth about “Venichka””
“Biography of Venedikt Erofeev”
“Venedikt Erofeev’s Poem “Moscow to the End of the Line””
“The Biography and Autobiographical Legend of Sasha Sokolov”
“Sasha Sokolov’s Novel “A School for Fools””

WEEK 3: 4 hours to complete

The Birth of Russian Postmodernism

“Postmodernism as Interpreted by Philosophers and Critics”
“Conceptualism and the Deconstruction of Socialist Realism”
“Conceptualism in Prose. Vladimir Sorokin. From The Norm to The Novel”
“The Deconstruction of Various Genres and Styles in the Late Works of Vladimir Sorokin”
“Vladimir Sorokin’s Dystopias of the 2000s”

WEEK 4: 4 hours to complete

Development of Postmodernist Fiction. Victor Pelevin

“The Role and Image of Victor Pelevin in the Literature of 1990–2000s. The Lack of Biography”
“The Novel “Omon Ra” by Victor Pelevin”
“Early Short Stories and Novellas by Victor Pelevin”
“The Novel “Generation P” (Babylon; Homo Zapiens) by Victor Pelevin”
“Later Works by Victor Pelevin”

WEEK 5: 4 hours to complete

Between Postmodern, Liberal and Pop Literatures. Boris Akunin

“Introduction. Biography of Boris Akunin”
“The Adventures of Erast Fandorin”
“”The Winter Queen” by Boris Akunin”
“The Adventures of the Master” and “Sister Pelagia” series by Boris Akunin”
“The History of the Russian State” and “The Family Album” series by Boris Akunin”

WEEK 6: 4 hours to complete

Between Postmodernism and “Human” Literature: Tatiana Tolstaya and Mikhail Shishkin

“Tatiana Tolstaya: Biography and Creative Work”
“Early Short Stories by Tatiana Tolstaya”
“Tatiana Tolstaya’s “The Slynx””
“Life and Works of Mikhail Shishkin. The Calligraphy Lesson Story”
“Mikhail Shishkin’s Novels”

WEEK 7: 4 hours to complete

Literary Situation of 2000s

“Main Trends in Russian Literature of 2000s”
“The Concepts of “Utopia” and “Dystopia””
“Boom of Dystopias in mid-2000s”
“Political and Alarmist Dystopias”
“Imperial Dystopias”

WEEK 8: 4 hours to complete

The New Realism of 2000s

“Waiting for Realism”
“Biography and Works of Roman Senchin”
“Biography and Works of Zakhar Prilepin
“The Novel “Pathologies” by Zakhar Prilepin”
“The Novel “Sankya” by Zakhar Prilepin”
“The Novel “Abode” by Zakhar Prilepin”1

WEEK 9: 3 hours to complete

Current Literature. New Names and Trends, part 1

“History and Fiction: Dmitry Bykov’s Works”
“History through the Eyes of a Child: “Christened With Crosses” by Edouard Kochergin”
“History through the Eyes of Women: “The Women of Lazarus” by Marina Stepnova”
“History through the Eyes of Women: “Zuleikha Opens Her Eyes” by Guzel Yakhina”
“Autobiographical Stories: “People in Naked” by Andrei Astvatsaturov”

WEEK 10: 4 hours to complete

Current Literature. New Names and Trends, part 2

“Alexey Ivanov’s Life and Works”
“The Novel “Tobol” by Alexey Ivanov”
“3 History and Mythology through the Eyes of a Scholar: Evgeny Vodolazkin”
“Neo-Mythological Prose of 2000–2010s”
“Alexey Salnikov: Returning to Postmodernism through Realism”