Please join us for a book talk with Dirk Uffelman (Justus Liebig University Giessen) about his book Vladimir Sorokin’s Discourses: A Companion (Academic Studies Press, April 2020).
Vladimir Sorokin is the most prominent and the most controversial contemporary Russian writer. Having emerged as a prose writer in Moscow’s artistic underground in the late 1970s and early 80s, he became visible to a broader Russian audience only in the mid-1990s, with texts shocking the moralistic expectations of traditionally-minded readers by violating not only Soviet ideological taboos, but also injecting vulgar language, sex, and violence into plots that the postmodernist Sorokin borrowed from 19th-century literature and Socialist Realism. Sorokin became famous when the Putin youth organization burned his books in 2002 and he picked up neo-nationalist and neo-imperialist discourses in his dystopian novels of the 2000s and 2010s, making him one of the fiercest critics of Russia’s “new middle ages,” while remaining steadfast in his dismantling of foreign discourses.
Dirk Uffelman's book is the first English-language monograph about Vladimir Sorokin. Vladimir Sorokin's Discourses: A Companion “introduces the reader to the works of one of the most imaginative and complex writers of modern Russia and will help both fans of Sorokin and his new readers to better understand the work of this always unpredictable and mercurial author, who managed to build a bridge from the Russian literary canon of the 19th and 20th centuries into the 21st century” (Evgeny Dobrenko).
Dirk Uffelmann is a Professor of Slavic Literatures and Cultures at Justus Liebig University Giessen, Hesse, Germany. He is the author of Russian Culturosophy (1999) and The Humiliated Christ—Metaphors and Metonymies in Russian Culture and Literature (2010), both in German, and Polish Postcolonial Literature (forthcoming, in Polish). He coedited fourteen volumes (in English, German, and Russian), including Vladimir Sorokin’s Languages (2013), the journal Zeitschrift für Slavische Philologie, and the book series Postcolonial Perspectives on Eastern Europe.