Thursday, January 26, 2012
Professor Marina Balina of Illinois Wesleyan University presents "Literary Representations of Childhood in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia"The genre of childhood memoirs in Soviet literature emerged out of a conflict between two literary models, Tolstoy's "happy childhood" and Gorky's "hard childhood." The latter vision prevailed in Soviet literary portrayals of pre-revolutionary childhood, and was later carried over into post-Soviet memories, which now focused on the "hardships" of growing up under the pressure of communist ideology. In her talk, Professor Balina will explore the latest transformation of the Soviet model in Russian childhood memoirs, such as the works by Bulat Okudzhava, Dina Rubina, Yuri Karabchievskii, Pavel Sanaev. Marina Balina is the Isaac Funk Professor of Russian Studies at Illinois Wesleyan University. She is the author, editor and co-editor of numerous volumes, including most recently the co-edited volumes Russian Children’s Literature and Culture (with Larissa Rudova, 2008), Petrified Utopia: Happiness Soviet Style (with Evgeny Dobrenko, 2009,) The Cambridge Companion to Twentieth Century Russian Literature (with Evgeny Dobrenko, 2011,) and Constructing Childhood: Literature, History, Anthropology (2011, in Russian.) Her main area of investigation is children’s literature in Soviet Russia, its historical development, and its theoretical originality.