The summer school “Literature of the Russian Diaspora: Persons, Fates, Books” was organized at Minin university with financial support from the Centre for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Understanding.

The aim of the school was the development of international scientific cooperation of undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students whose research interests are related to the study of relevant issues in the sphere of Russian literature, especially the phenomenon of Russian literature abroad.

The school participants enriched their knowledge and discussed issues related to the life and work of Ivan Bunin, Boris Zaitsev, Leonid Zurov, Ivan Shmelev, Mark Aldanov, Mikhail Artsybashev, Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

Cultural program of the school was very eventful: visits to Nizhny Novgorod museums, rare library collections, visits to the ancient Russian city of Gorodets, etc. Also our guests got acquainted with the literary sights of Nizhny Novgorod, including the first private museum of emigrant writer Yevgeny Chirikov.

The first day of the summer school "Literature of the Russian Abroad" was rich on activities and events.

In the welcoming speech rector of Minin university, Prof. Alexander Alexandrovich Fedorov highlighted the importance of this school for all interested parties. The content and topics of school has updated the scientific dialogue between leading Polish universities, Russian research centers, pedagogical community of the Republic of Poland and their colleagues from Nizhny Novgorod.

Dr. Monika Sidor, the vicfe-dean of the Faculty of Humanities at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, made a speech on behalf of Polish participants.

The main theme of university and faculty leaders speeches was the necessity of further expansion and deepening of interaction, mutual understanding, knowledge of partners in all areas of our scientific, educational activities and, of course, Russian-Polish dialogue, harmony and friendship between our students.

Participants of the summer school from the Polish side included 15 undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students from Warsaw University, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz, Pomeranian University in Słupsk, Adam Mickiewicz University (Poznan). Minin university was represented by undergraduates, graduate and postgraduate students of the Faculty of Humanities.

In the afternoon, our guests visited the hall of rare and valuable publications of the Minin university library to see unique collections of the 17th – 19th centuries books on Russian history, jurisprudence, books by M. M. Shcherbatov, N. M. Karamzin, V. O. Klyuchevsky, editions by A. I. Herzen and works of the Decembrists, collected works of A. Mitskevich.

A fascinating lecture “Walking with Theophile Gauthier ...” was given by Ms. Yulia Marinina, associate professor of the Department of Russian and Foreign Philology.  Later, one more lecture was held at the book museum of Minin university. School participants got acquainted with the notes and thoughts of famous foreign travelers who visited Nizhny Novgorod at different times: ironic observations of Astolf de Custine, a look at the city of Theophilus Gauthier, the journey of Lewis Carroll, artistic sketches of Frederic Begbeder.

The day ended up with a great bus sightseeing tour around the historic places of Nizhny Novgorod. The guests saw and visited the temples of Nizhny Novgorod, enjoyed the magnificent panoramas of our city, its ancient and modern architecture, heard a breathtaking story about the city, its history and residents.

 

The day was dedicated to literary studies presented in the lecture given by Dr. Patrick Vitchak (Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz). The lecture on the works of M. Aldanov and P. Artsybashev was full of associative connections and references to mythological poetics.
Russian participants of the school expressed their gratitude to the lecturer for interactive work, excellent knowledge of the Russian language and high professionalism of the Polish expert.
In the afternoon students visited the first private museum of emigrant writer Yevgeny Nikolayevich Chirikov. (1964-1932). E. N. Chirikov belonged to the circle of famous literary scholars and artists of the beginning of the century - M. Gorky, L. N. Andreev, N. D. Teleshov, F. I. Chaliapin, V. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko. # literary capital
The main peculiarity of the museum located in the Avtozavodsky district of Nizhny Novgorod, is a genuine family, homely atmosphere, which has been kept by the author’s great-grandson Mr. Mikhail Alexandrovich Chirikov, one of the founders of the museum. It was he who met school participants and conducted an excursion.
Being an emigrant Evgeny Nikolayevich Chirikov lived in Prague. His daughter Valentina Evgenievna Chirikova later returned to Nizhny Novgorod, the city where her grandfather had once lived while in exile. Cultural and educational activities of the Chirikov family allowed not only restore the memory of the famous writer and his work, but also maintain and constantly expand knowledge about Russian literary emigration of the first wave, its cultural and spiritual life abroad.
School participants, in turn, got acquainted with the descendant of one of the representatives of this very “temporarily allotted stream of Russian literature” and Russian life, which is now being studied and explored as the most important period in the development of Russian literature. Through this excursion students got an opportunity to feel the spirit and atmosphere of that time.
Communication outside the classroom among all the participants was very friendly and informal. Important contacts and, what is more important, long-lasting friendship have been established there.
 
This day was, perhaps, one of the most informative and difficult in terms of professional communication. School participants studied three waves of Russian literary emigration through attending lectures conducted by three professors.
The second half of the day was held with participation of Minin University teachers, who took part in a round-table program "Relevant problems of modern emigration." A deep analysis and an attempt to discover the complexity and inconsistency of I. Brodsky texts were made in the report of the associate professor Mr. Sergei Gennadievich Pavlov.
Ms. Anna Leonidovna Latukhina, an associate professor, organized a dialogue with the Polish part of the audience. The lecture of an experienced teacher, who has been working at the school for 21 years, and at the same time is one of the emigrant researchers, highlighted new issues related to the literature of Russian Abroad.
For us, these days will be associated with the atmosphere of August and a wonderful spirit of cooperation.
Since childhood the glorious city of Gorodets has been enchanting visitors with its magnificent atmosphere. Our meeting began with a traditional Russian round loaf Karavai, circular chain dance called Khorovod and original Russian games. After that we walked along the sunny streets of the ancient city with a tour guide who drew our attention to the delights of Gorodets craftsmen ( architrave, balconies, unusual glazing technique). A special treasure of the city is a monastery in honor of The Feodorovskaya Icon of the Mother of God, where Alexander Nevsky died. The monastery, all covered with flowers and decorated with icons, impressed not only students from Poland, but also students and professors of Minin university. Today’s trip was very rich on emotions: the whole city is one big exhibition which, like a stained glass drawing, consists of fragments that create an integral picture of ancient Russian life. Local history museum, the Panin museum, the samovar museum, the children's crafts museum, “Gorodets on the Volga”, the gingerbread museum - all these were shown to us by researchers who were enthusiastic about their work. In the city of craftsmen, we ourselves joined the working days of architects and made whistles from clay with our own hands. The city also gave us an opportunity to try ourselves as barge haulers, to experience all difficulties of this share. However, we can definitely say that due to hospitality of Gorodets we found ourselves in a fairy tale and plunged into the realm of goodness and joy. This was a wonderful day that will remain in our memory for a long time.
On August 23, the academic part of the summer school program ended with a lecture by Dr.hab. Monica Sidor "Revolution and Geography: Nizhny Novgorod Land in the novel “The Red Wheel” by Alexander Solzhenitsyn." Ms.Anna Latukhina, candidate of philological sciences, conducted a lecture on the topic “Genius loci: Russian writers in Nizhny Novgorod”. The interactive part of the lesson was formed as an association game with two groups of Russian and Polish participants. It turned out that our students perceive Nizhny Novgorod, its smells, sounds, interaction of people in urban space almost the same way. Hospitality was the main word in several series of associations. On the same day the sociocultural workshop continued with a visit to the Museum of the rare book of the regional library, where students got acquainted with copies of publications that preserved writers’ handprints. For instance: poems by Marina Tsvetaeva that she by herself wrote, collected and sewed into a notebook.
The closing ceremony of the school was conducted by our graduate student Ekaterina Tashchilina from Minin University and Dorota Walczak, a graduate student at the University of Warsaw. The rector of Minin university Prof. Alexander Fedorov congratulated all guests and students of the school on the successful completion of their work. The director of the Centre for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Understanding Ms. Alexandra Golubova also greeted the participants. Gratitude for organization of the school and its realization was expressed by the professor of the Pomeranian University in Słupsk, Ms. Galina Nefagina. She also expressed the main idea of the ceremony that cooperation should be continued and developed.
All participants received certificates confirming their participation in this important cultural and educational event.
In the evening, school participants visited a gala dinner that ended up with presentation and tasting of a large cake with symbols of the Centre for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Understanding. The cake was dedicated to completion of the school’s work.
 

 

The academic part of the program came to an end, but school experts continued consultations at the project session, developing plans for further interaction. The project session was attended by Ms. Anna Valerievna Chernova, press secretary of the Center for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Understanding. The session participants decided to join forces in order to create the Russian-Polish youth scientific association “Russian-Polish Philological Dialogue”. Candidate of philological sciences Ms. Julia Marinina (Minin university) and candidate of philological sciences Mr. Patrick Witcak (Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz) were chosen to be responsible for coordinating the organization of the association and its documents. Dr. Monika Sidor and Dr. Galina Nefagina suggested discussing the possibility of creating internship programs for Polish and Russian teachers who specialize in the field of teaching Russian as a foreign language. Programs are supposed to be hosted by Polish partner universities and Minin university. Participants of the event noted the importance of developing contacts and a significant step that has been made in promoting the idea of joint educational and cultural projects of our universities. This day was filled with visits to Nizhny Novgorod museums. The tour to the museum-apartment of M. Gorky (19 Semashko St.) was conducted by the head of this museum Ms. Alla Markovna Lebedeva. She introduced school participants to the life of M. Gorky’s family in his last Nizhny Novgorod apartment. Ms. Lebedeva also told about the genuine objects and atmosphere of the house that were collected by the wife of M. Gorky, Ekaterina Pavlovna Peshkova. On the same day, school participants visited the "house-palace" of Sergei Mikhailovich Rukavishnikov. Interiors of the house were depicted in the novel "Cursed Family" written by Ivan Rukavishnikov, one of the representatives of Nizhny Novgorod richest industrialists and entrepreneurs. The museum gives an idea about life of this rich merchant family at the turn of the XIX-XX centuries. The architecture and interiors of the building were planned and made by well-known Russian masters: architect P. S. Boytsov, sculptor M. O. Mikeshin, painter F. G. Toropov. In the evening school participants went on a river cruise along the Volga.

 

 

  The cultural program ended with a visit to the Russian collection of the Nizhny Novgorod State Art Museum. Participants were impressed by N. Roerich and K. Malevich rare paintings that constantly travel around the country and the world. The museum tour guide showed our guests halls of ancient Russian icon painting, expositions of classic painting, art of the period of romanticism and realism, paintings of the Russian avant-garde, paintings of the creative “ World of Art” association, a collection of works by I. Levitan, K. Korovin, B. Kustodiev. School experts noted that personal meeting with canvases of Russian artists is very important for students studying Russian culture and literature at universities in Poland. The rich collection of the Nizhny Novgorod State Art Museum became another discovery of the Nizhny Novgorod text of Russian culture for experts and school participants. Late in the evening of August 25 and early in the morning of August 26, we said goodbye to foreign participants of the school. We hope that meetings and philological dialogue in a similar format will continue, and new initiatives will be developed in line with the work of our summer school.