20th-century Russian culture was not a monolithic system. The October Revolution and the civil war split Russia in two Russias, two cultures, one at home, the other abroad, in exile. Russia Abroad spread in diverse European (and non-European) centers interacting, each in its own way with the host country and the host culture. Russian Berlin, Russian Paris, Russian Prague, Russian Riga during the inter-war period have been studied in much depth, whereas the history of Russian Italy and Rome, the subject of my lecture, have for a long time been ignored.
In the aftermath of the October Revolution, the “Eternal City” became the setting for a brief, but important, flowering of a Russian community made up of both Revolutionaries and White Russians. In this period, Rome hosted a Russian Literary Circle, Russian theatres and cabaret and a Russian library. Russian émigrés founded a publishing house and independent press. In my lecture, I will outline the life and cultural topography of the Russian community in Rome in the wake of the October Revolution, up to the advent of Fascism (1922), when the situation within this community radically changed. I will discuss cultural activities of Russian emigres in Italy in the context of the Russian diaspora in Europe, their relations with the Italian political and cultural figures, and their reaction to Italian Fascism. My attention will focus on three major representatives of Russian emigre literature: Nina Petrovskaya, Alexander Amfiteatrov and Vyacheslav Ivanov.
Bianca Sulpasso is Associate Professor of Russian Literature and Culture, Vice-Director of the Department of Humanities, and Prorector for the Development of Linguistic Competences at the University of Macerata, Italy. Her research encompasses Russian literature from 18 to 21st centuries. She has published monographs and essays on 18th century satirical poetry of the Russian Old-Believers and on a remarkable figure of the Russian Symbolist epoch, the woman-writer Nina Petrovskaia. She has also published, in collaboration with Stefano Garzonio, a path-breaking volume on Russian-Italian cultural relationships (Oskolki russkoj Italii. Issledovanija i materialy, Moscow, 2011) and co-edited the collections Venok. Studia slavica Stefano Garzonio sexagenario oblata (2012) and Russkaia emigratsiia v Italii (2015). She is member of the editorial board of “Studi Slavistici” and has organized a number of international conferences, workshops, and exhibitions.