Russian Literature, Modernism and the Visual Arts by Catriona Kelly (New College, Oxford)
In the Russian modernist era, literature threw itself open to influences from other art forms, most particularly the visual arts. Collaborations between writers, artists, designers, and theatre and cinema directors took place more intensively and productively than ever before or since. Equally striking was the incursion of spatial and visual motifs and structures into verbal texts. Verbal and visual principles of creation joined forces in an attempt to transform and surpass life through art. Yet willed transcendence of the boundaries between art forms gave rise to confrontation and creative tension as well as to harmonious co-operation. This collection of essays by leading British, American and Russian scholars, first published in 2000, draws on a rich variety of material - from Dostoevskii to Siniavskii, from writers' doodles to cabarets, from well-known modernists such as Akhmatova, Malevich, Platonov and Olesha to less well-known figures - to demonstrate the creative power and dynamism of Russian culture 'on the boundaries'.