Cover Osteuropa 5/2010

In Osteuropa 5/2010

Life Cycles
Russian Realism and Its Heroes

Klaus Städtke

Deutsche Fassung


The content and form of literary works are inseparably linked to one another. The heroes in the novels of the flourishing era of classical Russian realism during the 19th century are young men. As a rule, they are rebelling against society, but then grow into it after all. Older persons appear mostly as supporting figures. Socialist realism takes over the idealistic pathos of its predecessor. The heroes are again young men who now, however, cast off the old and heroically move into the new world. This romanticizing representation came into an indissoluble conflict with Soviet everyday life. In the late-Soviet village prose, old women are the protagonists. The closeness of their death heralds a dual ending: that of the Soviet Union and that of Russian realism.

(Osteuropa 5/2010, pp. 143–158)