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Language on Display

Writers, Fiction and Linguistic Culture in Post-Soviet Russia

Ingunn Lunde

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How did Russian writers respond to linguistic debate in the post-Soviet period?

Post-Soviet Russia was a period of linguistic liberalisation, instability and change with varied attempts to regulate and legislate language usage, a time when the language question permeated all spheres of social, cultural and political life.

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Note on transliteration and translations

Introduction: sociolinguistic change and the response of literature

Part I. Post-Soviet language culture

Chapter 1. Newspeak, counterspeak and linguistic memory

Chapter 2. Challenging the standard

Part II. Language, writers and fiction

Chapter 3. Languages and styles of post-Soviet Russian prose

Chapter 4. The literary norm

Part III. Writers on language: telling and showing

Chapter 5. Pisateli o iazyke: writers’ reflections on language

Chapter 6. Abanamat: reactions to the ban on profanity in art (2014)

Part IV. Language on display

Chapter 7. Confronting linguistic legacies: Evgenii Popov and Vladimir Sorokin

Chapter 8. Language, time and linguistic dystopia: Tatiana Tolstaia and Evgenii Vodolazkin

Chapter 9. Language ideologies and society: Valerii Votrin and Mikhail Gigolashvili

Conclusion: Towards a theory of performative metalanguage



About the Author

Ingunn Lunde is Professor of Russian in the Department of Foreign Languages at the University of Bergen.


Like few others among her contemporaries, Lunde expertly bridges the disciplinary divide between language and literary studies. Language on Display is a rare philological gem that offers as much sociolinguistic insight into the complicated fate of the Russian language after the collapse of the Soviet Union, as it does critical illumination of the role writers play in both articulating and pushing the boundaries of language standards and norms.

- Michael S. Gorham, University of Florida

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