Russian Literature

The history of Russian literature, its stages, tendencies, genres, and writers in an interactive timeline. The dates written are not the dates of birth, but the dates pointing the time framework within which a certain writer was or is worikng.

This timeline was made as a project for Multimedia Journalism class at the American University in Bulgaria by Diana Elagina.

0988-01-16 10:18:30

Introduction of writing in Russia

The introduction of writing in Russia is related to the Christianization of ancient Russia.

1000-01-16 10:18:30

Old Russian Literature

Old Russian literature was mostly represented by anonymous chronicles and oral folk epics.

1030-01-16 10:18:30

Sermon on Law and Grace

The Sermon on Law and Grace, written by Kievan Metropolitan Hilarion, is one of the earliest Slavonic texts available.

1110-01-16 10:18:30

The Tale of Bygone Years, or Primary Chronicle

The Tale of Bygone Years is a history of Kievan Rus' from about 850 to 1110.

1185-01-16 10:18:30

The Tale of Igor's Campaign

The Tale is an anonymous epic poem written in the Old East Slavic language. about a failed raid of Igor Svyatoslavich in 1202 against the Polovtsians.

1380-01-16 10:18:30

Zadonshchina, Battle of Kulikovo

Zadonshchina (the region beyond the Don River) is a Russian literary monument, which tells of the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380.

1466-01-16 10:18:30

A Journey Beyond the Three Seas

A Journey is a Russian literary monument in the form of travel notes, made by a merchant from Tver, Afanasiy Nikitin, during his journey to India.

1550-01-16 10:18:30

Bylinas, oral poems

Bylina is a traditional East Slavic oral epic narrative poem. It is loosely based on historical fact, greatly embellished with fantasy.

1650-01-16 10:18:30

Life of the archpriest Avvakum

Autobiography of the archpriest Avvakum is the first the first work written in colloquial Russian.

1700-01-16 10:18:30


The Formation of the modern Russian literary language appeared in the period of classicism. Ode is the most popular genre of the time.

1730-01-16 10:18:30

Mikhail Lomonosov, the father of Russian poetry

Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov is a scientist and a writer. One of his most famous odeas is Evening Meditation on the God's Grandeur.

1750-01-16 10:18:30

Gavrila Derzhavin, the father of Russian poets

Gavrila Romanovich Derzhavin worked in the office of state under Catherine the Great. He is also famous for his ode On the Death of Prince Meschersky.

1770-03-14 20:48:48


Sentimentalists intend to evoke a strong emotional response to characters and narrative. A conflict is always between a character and the outer world.

1780-03-14 20:48:48

Nikolay Karamzin, the founder of sentimentalism

N.Karamzin is best remembered for his 12-volume History of the Russian State and Poor Liza novel, a classic of Russian sentimentalism.

1800-01-16 10:18:30


The Golden Era of Russian literature. The natural conditions are predicting emotional states of the characters; psychology and literature unite.

1810-01-16 10:18:30

Alexander Pushkin, the Sun of Russian poetry

A.Pushkin has written more than 800 literary works, such as poems, novels, and faitytales. Eugene Onegin is one of the most famous poems.

1824-01-16 10:18:30

Mikhail Lermontov, poet of Caucasius

M.Lermontov has founded the tradition of the Russian psychological novel. A Hero of Our Time, written by him, became an example for other writers.

1830-02-14 20:48:48


Russian realism in literature consists of large works, mostly in prose with a close cooperation with psychology.

1830-03-14 20:48:48

Nikolai Gogol, master of grotesque

N. Gogol a Russian dramatist, novelist and short story writer. His works contain romantic sensibility, with strains of surrealism and the grotesque.

1840-12-25 20:48:48

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

F.Dostoyevsky was a Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, journalist and philosopher. 'Crime and Punishment' is his best-known work.

1850-12-25 20:48:48

Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

L.Tolstoy's War and Peace is considered one of the most influential works in the long history of Russian literature.

1880-03-14 20:48:48

Anton Chekhov,the father of modern short story

A.Chekhov was a Russian physician, playwright and author who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short stories in history.

1890-03-14 20:48:48

Silver Age

The Silver Age of Russian literature includes three main poetic groups: symbolysm, acmeism, and futurism.

1900-03-14 20:48:48


Symbolists believed in the cooperation of music and poetry and the importance of symbols.

1900-12-25 20:48:48

Alexander Blok, major symbolist poet

A.Blok's work is distinguished by the idealized mystical images, that helped establish him as a major poet of the Russian Symbolism.

1905-02-14 20:48:48


Acmeism teaches to seek beauty in the natural and physical world—to be industrious in language and vision to reflect the realness of the subject.

1905-03-14 20:48:48

Nikolay Gumilev and Anna Akhmatova

Together with Osip Mandelshtam, N.Gumilev and A.Akhmatova were the three main figures of acmeism.

1915-03-14 20:48:48


Russian Futurists were fascinated with the dynamism, speed, and restlessness of modern machines and urban life.

1915-04-14 20:48:48

Vladimir Mayakovsky, major futurist poet

V.Mayakovsky was a prominent figure of the Russian Futurist movement and signed Futurist manifesto, A Slap in the Face of Public Taste.

1916-04-14 20:48:48

OBERIU avant-garde group

OBERIU movement (the Union of Real Art) was a short-lived collective of Russian Futurist writers, musicians, and artists in the 1930s.

1916-12-14 20:48:48

Daniil Kharms, activist at OBERIU

Daniil Kharms was an early Soviet-era surrealist and absurdist poet, writer and dramatist, one of the members of OBERIU movement.

1917-01-14 20:48:48

Socialist Realism

Socialistrealsim showed a glorified depiction of communist values, such as the emancipation of the proletariat, in a realistic manner in USSR.

1917-03-14 20:48:48

Maxim Gorky, the predictor of revolution

M.Gorky (real name: Alexey Maximovich Peshkov) was a Russian and Soviet writer, a founder of the socialist realism and a political activist.

1940-03-14 20:48:48

Stayed apart from socialism: Mikhail Bulgakov

M.Bulgakov, the author of the novel 'Master and Margarita' could not see this grand novel published during his living because of the Khrutschev Thaw.

1950-03-14 20:48:48

Forced to decline the Nobel Prize: Yuri Pastenak

For writing 'Doctor Zhivago' masterpiece, Yuri Zhivago was rewarded a Nobel Prize in Literature which he decined due to a political pressure.

1955-03-14 20:48:48

Russian-American: Vladimir Nabokov

Nabokov's Lolita (1955) is often considered his finest work in English. It exhibits the love of intricate word play and synesthetic detail.

1970-03-14 20:48:48

''Strongly advised' to emigrate: Joseph Brodsky

J.Brodsky was awarded the 1987 Nobel Prize in Literature 'for an all-embracing authorship, imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity.'

1970-03-14 20:48:48

Being in love with Russia, writing from abroad: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

A Nobel Prize winner, Solzhenitsyn was expelled from USSR after raising global awareness of GULAG forced labor camp system in 'The Gulag Archipelago.'

1991-12-25 20:48:48

Post-Soviet era

The political and economic chaos affected the book market and literature heavily. The number of printed book copies dropped several times.

1996-12-25 20:48:48


Postmodernism in Russian literature consists in combination of opposite concepts: the sublime and the low, the fragments and integrity.

1997-12-25 20:48:48

Tatyana Tolstaya, postmodernist writer

T.Tolstaya is one of the most famous contemporary postmodernist Russian writers, coming from the famous Tolstoy family.

1998-03-14 20:48:48

Cyberfantasy: Viktor Pelevin

Pelevin's most famous book 'Generation P' was sold in over 3.5 million copies worldwide.

2010-12-25 20:48:48

The future of Russian literature

How will the authors continue the traditions set up by Lomonosov, Pushkin, and Tolstoy? Watch the video about Russian literature in XXI century.

Russian Literature

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