Cover Osteuropa 4-5/2008

In Osteuropa 4-5/2008

Idyll – Commodity – Eco-System
The Forest in Russian Literature

Vera Meyer

Deutsche Fassung


The forest is a central motif of Russian literature. It reflects concepts of the relationship between man and nature typical to a particular era. In the first half of the 19th century, the forest was the place for individual self-discovery. In addition, the forest itself becomes an individual, as it were. From this evolves an understanding for ecology, which in literature, however, only achieves a breakthrough when the emerging capitalist order turns the forest into a commodity and then an object of a ruthless over-exploitation. Although the Socialist novel celebrates the appropriation of the forest as a metaphor for the collective, the topic of protecting the forest does not disappear from literature. Official works supporting the Stalinist re-forestation campaign and critical novels from the Brezhnev era criticise the destruction of the forest.

(Osteuropa 4-5/2008, pp. 95–106)