Raisa Orlova’s “Bridges: Russian-American Literary Connections” Half a Century Later
- УДК / UDK: 82-991
- Author: Valeria N. Abrosimova
- About the author:
Valeria N. Abrosimova (PhD., independent scholar)
Raisa Orlova began her work Bridges. Russian-American Literary Relations in the mid-1970-s. The idea of this work had been gradually developing during many years. While preparing the book Raisa Orlova corresponded with American and Soviet writers asking them to answer several questions about Russian or American literature in their lives. For this purpose Raisa Orlova wrote over 50 letters to American writers and critics in October-December 1974 and February-May 1975. In each case it is not a standard mail-out but a personal letter addressed to the particular author (many addressees were Raisa Orlova’s personal acquaints). The surviving documents show that in each case Orlova prepared carefully and made a thorough study of the writer’s works, both fiction and nonfiction, his or her biography, social activities, worldview and Soviet contacts. Having received the responses, it became clear that it was necessary to make a simultaneous study of the ways American writers assessed Russian literature and the Soviet writers’ ideas of American literature. Unfortunately, the project wasn’t completed and remained unrealized. However, R.D. Orlova managed to get 60 answers from the Soviet writers and 10 letters from the American authors before her emigration from the USSR. The paper devoted to Raisa Orlova’s project is provided with the publication of her selected correspondence with American authors. The documents published herewith come from RGALI (Russian State Archive of Arts and Literature) funds and the personal archive of Maria Orlova, Raisa Orlova’s daughter.
- Keywords: Raisa Orlova, American literature, American writers, Russian-American literary connections, Russian literature, correspondence, history of American literary studies, archived materials.