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RUSSIAN LITERARY JOURNALS
Russian Literary Journals, Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy in St. Petersburg, 1877
by Linda Mayhew
How to publish under censorship.
In Russian Literary Journals, Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy in St. Petersburg, 1877, editors, writers, censors, and business people will compete to produce a successful literary journal, which requires a nuanced understanding of political philosophies and writing styles as well as solid finances and social connections. Roles, including Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, give students the option of producing their own creative work, analyzing an existing work, or commenting on social issues in Elena Shtakenshneider’s literary salon. Then, writers must produce work that meets with a censor’s and editor’s approval and gets published. Editors and writers affiliated with the most successful journal will shape Russia’s literary and political future, receiving national recognition and meeting with Tsar Alexander II to make recommendations on future reforms. This interdisciplinary approach to studying literary journals allows students to explore a range of ideas leading up to the Russian Revolution: panslavism, populism, Russian Orthodoxy, women’s role in society, and the impact of these ideas on the literary community.
Using the Game
You can adjust the assignments to fit the desired learning outcomes of your class. This game can include traditional paper/research/thesis-driven writing, journalism, creative writing, and criticism. Not all roles are required to give formal speeches.
Reacting Consortium members can download all game materials below. You will be asked to sign in before downloading.
All students need a Gamebook, which includes resources and historical content. Members can download the Gamebook, and provide it to students for free or at cost.
Updated Feb 2022. .pdf file.
Students also need a Role Sheet, which contains biographical information, suggestions for further reading, and role-specific info or assignments.
Updated February 2022 .zip file
Linda Mayhew is the Humanities Program Coordinator at the University of Texas at Austin.
Reacting and Related Titles
"The author has chosen an ideal moment of tension between ideas and people! She certainly has a deep knowledge of the literary sphere of the late 19th century. If I had all the time in the world in a 19th century Russian history course, a course on political revolutions, etc., I would use this game as it sets up the Russian Revolution perfectly."
"I also appreciate that out of 24 characters, 7 of them are women and almost all of them are vital to the game. Of course, you can’t include women if they aren’t in the history but it would have been easy to make this game male dominated. "
"The source material is impressive and rich, and the focus of the game on the literary scene provides great insight into the politics and logistics of publishing. High art, radical politics, nationalism, and the business of publishing all appear here. There’s a lot of potential here. I’d love to see the game in action."