From an unprintable to a printable language of literature? Russian obscene language in late and post-Soviet literary cultures
Taylor & Francis
In: Russian Journal of Communication, 6(2), 113-126
The aim of this article is to trace the evolution of Russian obscene language from an unprintable to a printable language of literature in late and post-Soviet literature. Drawing on Iurii Lotman's notions of fear and shame as fundamental mechanisms regulating culture, the article discusses the role(s) of the ‘unprintable’ word in literature. The introductory section gives a brief overview of the status of obscene language in literature before the Revolution. The article then moves on to discuss verbal obscenity in a Soviet context and its evolution to a printable language of literature. Given that Russian obscene language has always been strongly determined by its correlation with ‘literary language’, the question arises as to what extent the emergence of verbal obscenity in literary texts has led to a re-definition of the perception of literary language in contemporary Russia.
Russian obscene language
late and post-Soviet literature