Cover Osteuropa 11/2008

In Osteuropa 11/2008

Megalopolis versus Province
Russian contrasts in fiction

Karlheinz Kasper

Deutsche Fassung


Provincial towns, a recurring theme in Russian literature since the mid-19th century, have always stood in tension to the two capitals Moscow and St. Petersburg. They reflected the bureaucratic hierarchy of administrative centres, appeared as a place of refuge for people who had failed in the big city, or were depicted as preserves of alarming intellectual parochialism. In recent times, several novels have taken up tensions between the megalopolis Moscow and real or fictitious provincial towns and produced critical analyses of Russian society. These include Sergeev i gorodok by Oleg Zaionchkovskii, Matiss by Aleksandr Ilichevskii, and Bluda i MUDO by Aleksei Ivanov.

(Osteuropa 11/2008, pp. 129–195)