WordPress database error: [Got error 28 from storage engine]
SELECT t.*, tt.*, tr.object_id FROM wp_terms AS t INNER JOIN wp_term_taxonomy AS tt ON t.term_id = tt.term_id INNER JOIN wp_term_relationships AS tr ON tr.term_taxonomy_id = tt.term_taxonomy_id WHERE tt.taxonomy IN ('category', 'post_tag', 'post_format') AND tr.object_id IN (200882) ORDER BY t.name ASC

Bwog » Literature Of The Diaspora: Perelman’s “Vremya I My”

WordPress database error: [Got error 28 from storage engine]
SELECT t.*, tt.* FROM wp_terms AS t INNER JOIN wp_term_taxonomy AS tt ON t.term_id = tt.term_id INNER JOIN wp_term_relationships AS tr ON tr.term_taxonomy_id = tt.term_taxonomy_id WHERE tt.taxonomy IN ('post_tag') AND tr.object_id IN (200882) ORDER BY t.name ASC

Menu CATEGORIES

Connect with us

CATEGORIES Menu

Literature Of The Diaspora: Perelman’s “Vremya I My”

On Thursday, Russian-speakers from the New York and Columbia communities gathered to discuss Viktor Perelman’s life and his groundbreaking magazine Vremya i My.

Russian literature is well-known to most: Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, and Akhmatova are just some of the names that come to mind when discussing the rich literary history of Russia. But what happens when oppression and censorship drive the most creative minds out of the USSR, out into the Western world?

Viktor Perelman (1929-2003) is an iconic figure in diaspora literature history. He was a one-man publishing company, starting and running a print of the magazine Vremya i My for 152 issues. With over 25 years of print, and over two thousand different authors, the magazine was a pioneering force in Russian literature. In 1973, he left the USSR and immigrated to Israel, where he began Vrema i My in 1975. He later moved to New York, and spent the rest of his life and publishing career in the United States.

On Thursday, February 27th 2020, Perelman’s family, along with Russian diaspora literature experts came together for a panel discussion on life and literature titled “Remembering Viktor Perelman’s Vremya i My”. The panel was moderated by Prof. Mark Lipovetsky of Columbia University, and consisted of Alla Perelman and Irina Perelman-Grabois (respectively, Viktor Perelman’s wife and daughter), along with Aleksandr Genis (a well-known Russian-American author) and Yasha Klots (an assistant professor of Russian and Slavic studies at Hunter College). The event was conducted almost entirely in Russian.

The discussion began with a short introduction by Lipovetsky, followed by some historical background from Klots. He described the idea of the “metropolitan” vs the “diaspora”, and the Russian diaspora as being seen as the zapastnaya rossiya, literally “spare/backup Russia”. When situation in the home country became tense, much of that tension was eased by artistic expression in the diaspora, where censors and politics mattered less. Klots described how in the 70s, around the time Perelman immigrated out of Russia, there were only a few prominent literary magazines. The most prominent, Continent, was unlike Vremya i My in its staunch political stance and strong anti-Soviet sentiment. Lipovetsky provided more specific details as to Russian texts at the time and the nuanced differences between publications across the diaspora.

The next speaker was Alla Perelman, who added some personal context to Viktor Perelman’s life. She described how he was a hard-working man, a self-made man, who believed in independence above all else. He prided himself on running his own affairs although it was often hard to find funding or support.

After Alla Perelman, Genis gave some literary context. He himself was published in the magazine many times, and was a close friend and collaborator of Perelman’s. He told a short story about his discovery of Vremya i My – his first time abroad, he accidentally picked up a copy that had been resting on a table. It was the 16th issue, and he read two essays, which got him hooked. His first publication in the magazine was “We are from Brighton Beach”, a collaboration about his experience in the Russian mecca of New York.

Genis discussed the literary situation in the USSR at the time: it was a translator’s game, as native Russian authors were “writing things such as ‘Love Poem to Mariana’, where Mariana was a textile machine”. As foreign novels slowly took over intellectual circles, the only viable option for writers remained tamizdat – sending work abroad to be published by non-Russian companies. Genis described how Vremya i My became a third alternative for Russian-speaking authors. They were no longer barred by Soviet censors, or by foreign opinion and markets. This magazine gave Russians a chance to write about Russians, for Russians.

The discussion was concluded by the presentation of a memorial/archival website, created by Viktor Perelman’s daughter, Irina Perelman-Grabois. She guided the room through pages of content, from copies of Vremya i My, which is now available online to read free of charge, to a collection of New York Times articles published by Perelman, to a short biography of Perelman’s life. The website, both in Russian and English, is available at https://dririnaperelman.wixsite.com/viktorperelman.

Image via Columbia Harriman Institute

Write a comment

Your email address will not be published.

 

Have Your Say

What should Bwog's new tagline be?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Popular This Week

WordPress database error: [Got error 28 from storage engine]
SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `wp_options`

WordPress database error: [Got error 28 from storage engine]
SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `wp_options`

WordPress database error: [Got error 28 from storage engine]
SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `wp_options`

WordPress database error: [Got error 28 from storage engine]
SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `wp_options`

  1. Class Of 2024 Regular Decision Results Have Been Released
  2. How To Recreate Columbia Culture From Home
  3. What To Listen To, Read, And Watch If You Miss New York
  4. Cooking With Bwog: Fettuccine Alfredo
  5. Housing Reviews 2020: Carlton Arms

Recent Comments

I would recommend CUNY professor William Helmreich's "The New York Nobody Knows." It's a great work of urban sociology (read more)
What To Listen To, Read, And Watch If You Miss New York
March 31, 2020
how did the group name 'beta fish fight club' not make this list (read more)
March Madness: Housing Edition
March 30, 2020
Every Ivy had a decline in applications. There are fewer high school seniors every year as well as fewer international (read more)
Class Of 2024 Regular Decision Results Have Been Released
March 30, 2020
This answered so many questions for me. Thank you. (read more)
In Defense of Calling The Milstein Center “Millie”
March 30, 2020

Comment Policy

The purpose of Bwog’s comment section is to facilitate honest and open discussion between members of the Columbia community. We encourage commenters to take advantage of—without abusing—the opportunity to engage in anonymous critical dialogue with other community members. A comment may be moderated if it contains:
  • A slur—defined as a pejorative derogatory phrase—based on ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, or spiritual belief
  • Hate speech
  • Unauthorized use of a person’s identity
  • Personal information about an individual
  • Baseless personal attacks on specific individuals
  • Spam or self-promotion
  • Copyright infringement
  • Libel