Russian Minimalism

Paper Text – $34.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3565-9

Cloth Text – $79.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-1955-0
Publication Date
November 2017
Page Count
208 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Russian Minimalism

From the Prose Poem to the Anti-Story
Adrian Wanner

Challenging traditional concepts of poetry and narrative prose, the prose poem is by nature a "subversive" form--and as such has drawn extensive interest in literature and criticism during the past two decades. Russian Minimalism is the first book to apply the theoretical debate on the nature of the prose poem to the history of Russian literature. In it Adrian Wanner uses the notion of minimalism, borrowed from the realm of American visual arts, as a critical tool for a historical investigation of the genesis and development of the Russian prose miniature, going back to the nineteenth and early twentieth century.

The paradoxical genre of the prose poem, developed by the French poet Charles Baudelaire, provides Wanner with an overarching theoretical rubric for a variety of works of Russian literature, ranging from Ivan Turgenev's "Poems in Prose" to a host of decadent, symbolist, realist, and futurist miniatures, including Fedor Sologub's "Little Fairy Tales," Aleksei Remizov's dreams, Vasilii Kandinskii's prose poems, and Daniil Kharms' absurdist ministories. His book demonstrates how the negativity inherent in the form of the prose poem transformed the overwrought lyricism of fin de siècle prose into the ascetic starkness of the twentieth-century minimalist anti-story.

About the Author

Adrian Wanner is Liberal Arts Research Professor of Slavic Languages and and Comparative Literature at Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of Out of Russia: Fictions of a New Translingual Diaspora (Northwestern, 2011) and

has published six volumes of Russian, Ukrainian, and Romanian poetry in German verse translation.


"Recommended." —CHOICE

"Wanner's work is wonderfully ambitious, and his consideration of aesthetic linkages and parallels is deeply provocative." —Slavic Review