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From Rasputin to...
From Rasputin to...
and back again. Contemporary Russian 'village prose' writer Valentin Rasputin
and back again. Contemporary Russian 'village prose' writer Valentin Rasputin

Press Release - 24 October 2006

Free lecture: From Rasputin to Putin and back again

Local residents can hear a talk exploring Russian culture and its national search for an identity in a free lecture to be held at the University of Bath (Wednesday 1 November).

The lecture: From Rasputin to Putin and back again: in search of the Russian father will focus on the theme of fatherhood running through films and literature from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Professor David Gillespie, from the University’s Department of European Studies & Modern Languages, who will be giving the talk, said: “The theme of fatherhood as a symbol of political authority and legitimacy can be seen in both films and fiction from the Stalinist period to the Putin era.

“One of the interesting motifs in Russian culture of the last hundred years is the literal absence of the father-figure - many of the most prominent writers and film-makers lost their fathers at an early age due to political or historical upheavals, and the cult of the father has thus been replaced by the cult of the mother, or even grandmother.

”Fathers are seen in abstract terms as forces of destruction or dislocation, and masculinity subverted (or at least reinvented). In recent years Russian films in particular have posited an image of an emotionally immature or distant father, whose sons are better equipped to deal with the modern world.”

Professor Gillespie will discuss the work of a range of writers, including Valentin Rasputin, Iurii Trifonov, Fedor Abramov and Victor Astafev, and directors Sergei Eisenstein and Andrei Tarkovskii.

Professor Gillespie gained his BA Honours in Russian Studies at Leeds University in 1978. He then spent five years in Moscow and Leningrad as part of his doctoral studies, and was awarded his PhD at Leeds University in 1985 with a thesis on the work of the Russian 'village prose' writers Valentin Rasputin and Vasilii Belov. He has published eight books, over 50 journal articles and book chapters and has presented over 60 papers at conferences in the UK, USA, Canada, Belgium, Germany and Russia.

Free tickets for the talk are available from Shelia Willmott, tel 01225 386631, email Free parking is available in the West Car Park. The talk begins at 6.15pm in the lecture theatre 2 East 3.1 on the Claverton campus.

The University of Bath is one of the UK's leading universities, with an international reputation for quality research and teaching. View a full list of the University's press releases: