Monday, August 4, 2014

1. Russians' Attitudes Towards Literature

Pushkin. Tolstoy. Dostoyevsky. Chekhov. Lermontov. Turgenev. Gogol. Gorky. Bulgakov. Nabokov. The list goes on. Russia has a wealth of writers, and one thing that surprises and impresses me is the number of students, both teenagers and adults, who say that they genuinely like reading classic Russian literature. Last week a twelve-year-old told me that she had been reading Pushkin before English class that day.

Lermontov Statue in Stavropol. Taken from Voices From Russia, Too.

I even read an article about a city, Novosibirsk, that offered free metro rides back on 6 June to people who could recite at least two verses from any poem penned by Pushkin. How cool is that? Stavropol can't commemorate great Russian writers with free metro rides, but it does have a few statues. I walk past Lermontov nearly every week and past Pushkin about once a month. I'll have to ask my colleagues and students if there are any more writers hanging out in Stavropol.

Pushkin Statue in Stavropol.

Anyway, I greatly admire Russians' interest in classic literature, and I hope that literature is able to maintain its position within Russian society even though younger generations are increasingly enticed by mind-numbing games and other technological distractions.

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