Call for Papers. The Department of Art History Invites You to Take Part in the Conference ''Esotericism and Russian literature''

School of Arts and Cultural Heritage

On the 30th and 31st of March 2022, the international conference ''Esotericism and Russian literature'' will take place. It will explore a complex variety of relations between Russian literature and esotericism. 

Various esoteric currents left their mark on Russian culture and Russian literature is a good point to start a discussion about their significance. Relations between esotericism and Russian literature changed under the influence of diverse factors ranging from political censorship to the digital environment of new media. Moreover, the borders between the esoteric and the fictional are fluid: fictional texts may acquire esoteric meanings and, vice versa, esoteric texts may be interpreted in a fictional way. Literary genres thus served as a tool for the transmission of esoteric knowledge, occult novels are an obvious example, while esoteric images and themes have been used as vehicles for artistic expression. Last but not least, fiction was a source of inspiration for esoteric communities, and well-known Russian writers were inspired by esoteric traditions.

Issues to be discussed include:
➢ Representations of esoteric images and themes in Russian literature;
➢ Russian literature as a tool for the dissemination of esoteric knowledge;
➢ The interpretation of esoteric texts as fictional and vice versa;
➢ Oriental esoteric themes in Russian literature;
➢ Masonry and Russian literature;
➢ The Silver Age in Russian Literature and Esotericism;
➢ The impact of esotericism on early Soviet fantastic and utopian literature;
➢ Esoteric literature of the Russian emigration;
➢ Literature, counterculture, and esotericism in the late Soviet Union;
➢ Modern Russian literature and esotericism;
➢ The influence of Russian literature on western esotericism.

The conference will be held at European University at St Petersburg.
Online attendance will be possible.

The deadline for submission of proposals is 20 February 2022. Paper proposals must include an abstract of 150-200 words. Notification of acceptance will be made by the 1st of March 2021.

Please send your proposal to the following address: 
We look forward to receiving your submissions.


Organizing Committee
Ksenia Butuzova (University of Oxford), Elena Glukhovskaya (European University at St Petersburg), Anastasia Maklakova (Institute of Scientific Information, RAS), Julia Mannherz (University of Oxford), Vladislav Razdyakonov (RSUH), Alexandra Naumova (European University at St Petersburg)

Image Credit: «Lifeline» by Andrei Bely. Courtesy of Museum Apartment of Andrei Bely, Moscow, via  
© Государственное бюджетное учреждение культуры города Москвы «Государственный музей А. С. Пушкина» (ГБУК «ГМП»)