The development of the literature of the first wave of emigration can be divided into two periods:
1920-1925 – the period of the emergence of literature of emigration, the hope of return. The predominant anti-Soviet, anti-Bolshevik themes, nostalgia for Russia, the civil war is depicted from the anti-revolutionary positions.
1925 – 1939 years. – intensive development of publishing activities, the formation of literary associations. Hopes for a return are lost. Great importance is acquired by memoir literature, designed to preserve the fragrance of lost paradise, childhood paintings, folk customs; a historical novel, usually based on the understanding of history as a chain of accidents that depend on the will of man; the revolution and the civil war are depicted already from a more balanced position, the first works on the gulag, concentration camps appear (I. Solonevich, “Russia in a concentration camp”, M. Margolin “Journey and the country
of Ze-Ka”, J. Bessonov “26 prisons and escape from Solovki “).
In 1933, the recognition of Russian foreign literature was the Nobel Prize Bunin “for the true artistic talent with which Bunin recreated the Russian character.”
The second wave of Russian emigration was generated by World War II. It consisted of those who left the Baltic republics, joined to the USSR in 1939; from prisoners of war who feared to return home, where Soviet camps could be expected; from Soviet young people hijacked to work in Germany; of those who associated themselves with cooperation with the fascists. The first place for these people was Germany, then the United States and Britain. Almost all the well-known poets and prose writers of the second wave have already started their literary activity in emigration. This poets O. Anstey, I. Elagin, D. Klenovski, I. Chinnov, T. Fesenko, Yu Ivask. As a rule, they began with social themes, but then went on to lyric and philosophical verses. Writers V. Yurasov, L. Rzhevsky, B. Filippov (Filipino), B. Shiryaev,
N. Narokov talked about the life of the
Soviet Union on the eve of the war, about repression, universal fear, about the war itself and the thorny path of the emigrant. Common to all writers of the second wave was the overcoming of the ideological orientation of creativity, the acquisition of universal morality. So far, the literature of the second wave remains little known to readers. One of the best accessible works is N. Narokov’s novel “Imaginary Values”, which tells about the fate of Soviet intellectuals who live according to the Christian laws of conscience in Stalin’s years.
The third wave of emigration is associated with the beginning of the dissident movement in the late 1960s and with aesthetic reasons proper. Most of the emigrants of the third wave were formed as writers during the Khrushchev “thaw” with her condemnation of the personality cult of Stalin.
With the proclaimed return to the “Leninist norms of life.” Writers breathed the air of creative freedom: one could turn to the previously closed topics of the Gulag, totalitarianism, the true price of military victories. It became possible to go beyond the norms of socialist realism and develop experimental, conditional forms. But already in the mid-1960s, freedom began to curtail, ideological censorship intensified, and aesthetic experiments were criticized. The persecution of A. Solzhenitsyn and V. Nekrasov began, he was arrested and exiled to forced labor I. Brodsky, A. Sinyavsky was arrested, the KGB intimidated V. Aksenov, S. Dovlatov, V. Voinovich. In these conditions, these and many other writers were forced to go abroad. In the emigration were writers Yuz Aleshkovsky, G. Vladimov, A. Zinoviev, V. Maximov, J. Mamleev, Sasha Sokolov, Dina Rubina, F. Gorenstein, E. Limonov; poets A. Galich, N. Korzhavin, Yu. Kublanovsky, I. Guberman, playwright A. Amalrik.
A characteristic feature of the third wave literature was the combination of the style trends of Soviet literature with the achievements of Western writers, special attention to avant-garde trends.
The largest writer of the realistic trend was Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who during the time of emigration wrote the multi-volume epic “The Red Wheel”, which reproduces the most important “knots” of Russian history. The realistic direction can be attributed to the work of Georgy Vladimirov (“Faithful Ruslan”, “The General and his Army”), Vladimir Maksimov (“Seven Days of Creation”, “Look Into the Abyss”, autobiographical novels “Farewell from Nowhere” and “Nomad to Death “), Sergei Dovlatov (stories of the cycles” Suitcase “,” Nashi “, etc.). The existential novels of Friedrich Gorenstein “Psalm”, “Atonement” fit into the religious-philosophical channel of Russian literature with its ideas of suffering and redemption.
Satirical, grotesque forms are characteristic for the work of Vasily Aksenov (“Crimean Island”, “Burn”, “In search of the sad baby”), although the trilogy “The Moscow Saga” about the life of the generation 1930-40-ies is a purely realistic work.
Modernist and postmodern poetics are vividly manifested in Sasha Sokolov’s novels The School for Fools, Between the Dog and the Wolf, and Palisanderia. In the mainstream of metaphysical realism, as defines the style of the writer, and in fact, in the vein of surrealism, Yury Mamleev writes, which conveys the horror and absurdity of life in the stories of the cycle “Drown my head”, “Russian fairy tales”, in the novels “Shatuny”, “Wandering Time” .
The third wave of Russian emigration gave numerous and diverse works of genre and style. With the collapse of the USSR, many writers returned to Russia, where they continued their literary activity.