Since the turn of the millennium, an increasing number of Russian-speaking émigrés, many of them of Jewish descent, have become successful writers in multiple languages, making “Russianness” a sought-after commodity in the global literary market. At the same time, a certain weariness seems to have settled in among some of the writers who are providers of this brand. Following the “classic” trailblazers of Russian immigrant literature in France, Germany and the U.S, a new kind of post-Soviet cultural production has arisen that challenges the established stereotypes of ethnic fiction. This talk will pay particular attention to the bilingual oeuvre of Soviet-born and U.S.-educated journalist, novelist, and screenwriter Michael Idov (b. 1976). While reflecting the cosmopolitan self-fashioning and multicultural and multilingual orientation that one can find among other “Global Russians” (and which, in fact, has been a feature of Russian elites since the 18th century), Idov goes further than most in his embrace of an individual cosmopolitanism that constructs itself out of the shards and pieces of various cultures and locations.
Adrian Wanner is Liberal Arts Research Professor of Slavic Languages and Comparative Literature at Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of Baudelaire in Russia (1996), Russian Minimalism: From the Prose Poem to the Anti-Story (2003), and Out of Russia: Fictions of a New Translingual Diaspora (2011). In addition he has published six editions of Russian, Romanian, and Ukrainian poetry in his German verse translation.