Philologist Masha Nesterenko About Her Favorite Books

A life 2023

Table of contents:

Philologist Masha Nesterenko About Her Favorite Books
Philologist Masha Nesterenko About Her Favorite Books
Video: Philologist Masha Nesterenko About Her Favorite Books
Video: НИЧТО НЕ СЛУЧАЕТСЯ ДВАЖДЫ. Серия 1. 2019 ГОД! 2023, February

IN THE HEADING "BOOKSHELF" we ask the heroines about their literary preferences and publications, which occupy an important place in the bookcase. Today the philologist, editor of the common place, author of the Gorky portal Masha Nesterenko tells about her favorite books.

INTERVIEW: Alisa Taezhnaya

PHOTOS: Alena Ermishina

MAKEUP: Anastasia Pryadkova


Masha Nesterenko


Long time

I couldn't imagine

that reading books can become a profession, because everyone can read


Reading has always been encouraged in my family. When I learned to read, I don’t remember exactly, but I do remember that the first word I read was “kolobok”. And everything started spinning - as Averchenko wrote. I methodically re-read all the books that interested me in the house. Among them I came across medical reference books of my grandmother the doctor, for some reason I really liked them. A trip to the library was a real treat: I just adored the smell of old books, to which the smells of freshly painted floors and the scent of autumn flowers are mixed in my memories. I wandered with pleasure between the huge shelves, sorting through the books, and then began to go to the library alone. It was the small regional libraries that I liked - they are so cozy, in contrast to the front central one.

I have always loved reading, but for a long time I could not imagine that reading books can become a profession, because everyone can read, and a profession is something special that needs to be learned. Therefore, after the ninth grade, I entered the music school as a choir conductor, but did not last long and went to the literary class of the pedagogical lyceum.

I spent my teenage years with Remarque, Borges, Marquez and the Silver Age poets. The summer before entering the pedagogical institute was remembered by the fact that it was necessary to re-read a huge array of books that were included in extracurricular reading. That summer it was hellish heat, I sat in the country and voraciously read Trifonov, Dombrovsky, Sasha Sokolov and Dovlatov. There was a feeling of absolute happiness, the soundtrack for it was the AuktsYon group, whose furious fan I was at that moment.

Three years after graduation, I entered the doctoral program at the University of Tartu. The choice was not accidental: Lotman's works were a kind of pass to the world of philology. The dream of getting into the University of Tartu pursued me from the third year, but few people knew about it, it seemed impossible for a student of the Taganrog Pedagogical Institute. Now my reading is determined by my dissertation and work.

My relationship with modern literature did not work out well. The last book that caught my eye was Lyttell's Benevolent. It is even more difficult with Russian-language literature. Previously, I tried to write about her and, therefore, read a lot, and then I realized that if it doesn’t go, why torture myself - and it doesn’t go, because modern authors have merged for me into one monotonous hum of intellectual writing. The only exception was with Ksenia Buksha and her novel “Zavod“Svoboda”", where she turned to the tradition of the twenties, and Maria Galina, whom I really follow.

A couple of years ago, the common place publishing house, a volunteer DIY project, appeared in my life - and this is the best thing that could happen to me. In February last year, we launched a special series "Ѳ" dedicated to fiction and memoir prose of forgotten Russian writers of the 19th and 20th centuries. Several books have already been published in it: “Authors and Poets. Women's Criticism: 1830-1870”,“A Quilt of Rags”by Lyubov Kopylova,“Anichkina's Revolution”by Natalia Venkstern,“Front”by Larisa Reisner. I read a lot and am looking for new forgotten "authoris", now there are several more books in the works, and we have big plans.

Modern authors have merged for me

into one monotonous hum of an intellectual letter


Alexander Kondratyev

On the banks of Yaryn

I got acquainted with this novel at the age of eleven, in the wake of my fascination with the mythology of different countries - it came down to the Slavic one. It seems that the book from the series "I get to know the world" (I'm not sure) recommended fiction on the topic. This is how I learned about the "Kiev Witches" by Orest Somov and Kondratyev.

Alexander Kondratyev is now half-forgotten poet and symbolist writer, creator of mythological novels on ancient and Slavic subjects. "On the banks of the Yaryn" could be called an encyclopedia of everyday life of evil spirits. The protagonists of the novel are goblin, mermaids, mermaids, witches, drowned people of varying degrees of freshness and other evil spirits. If a person appears in their world, it is more often as a guest. This is not at all an amusement reading, the fates of the heroes are rather tragic, although their problems differ little from those of ordinary mortals. The novel is full of literary allusions, starting with Gogol and the aforementioned Somov, ending with the works of contemporaries, and it is a separate pleasure to catch references.

Yuri Dombrovsky

Faculty of unnecessary things

I love both Dombrowski's poems and his other prose, but the main things are the novels of the dilogy "Keeper of Antiquities" and "The Faculty of Unnecessary Things". For me, this book is primarily about how simple and difficult it is to be truly free at the same time, that you cannot make deals with the devil, whoever he pretends to be and whatever benefits he promises. It is for this feeling of freedom that I love him.

The Faculty is a wonderful late modernist novel, whimsically and complexly arranged: where needed, written dryly, and where needed - motley, like suzane. In my edition, bookmarks lie in many places, but the book itself opens in two places - on the stage of the interrogation of the protagonist by a young investigator (where she says that he studied at the faculty of unnecessary things, and she was taught to establish the truth) and on the description of the Almaty market: “There are a lot of trucks. There are watermelons in the trucks. They lie in bulk: white, gray-gray, black, striped. Above them, fellows in T-shirts and cowboy shirts are bending - they grab one, the other, easily toss it up, jokingly catch it, lean over the side to the buyer and shove it in his ear: “Do you hear how it is cracking? Eh! Look, beard, I won’t take money! “- a knife is thrust into the black-green striped side with a flourish, a crunch is heard, and a red triangle flutters above the crowd at the end of a long knife - a scarlet living tissue flowing out with juice, all in pink veins, cells, grains and crystals ". Incidentally, I am surprised that this novel has not yet been filmed, it would seem that it is asking for it.

Vladimir Odoevsky

4338th year

Vladimir Fedorovich Odoevsky is one of my favorite writers and characters in general of the 19th century. Love began in childhood - with "Town in a Snuffbox". He was an amazing person who was engaged not only in literature, but also in music - he was quite successful as a composer and was one of the founders of Russian musical criticism. He was also fond of the occult, for which he received the nickname "Russian Faust" and "your metaphysical lordship." "Year 4338" is perhaps now my favorite work with him, an unfinished novel in the form of letters.

It takes place in the distant future - in 4338 - a comet is about to fall on the Earth, Petersburg and Moscow were united into one city, only ruins remained from the "ancient Kremlin", Vasilievsky Island turned into a garden-reserve, where huge horses, and the main character moves on a galvanostat - the prototype of an airplane. Even in the story, you can see the foreshadowing of the Internet: "… between familiar houses, magnetic telegraphs are arranged, through which those living at a distance communicate with each other." The novel is very unusual for its time, because it was created in 1837, when there was no science fiction in the current sense.

Larisa Reisner


One day a colleague from the common place asked me: "Listen, have you read Reisner?" And I - no, I haven't read it.That is, of course, I knew who Larisa Mikhailovna Reisner was, that, among other things, she was also a writer. I found her lyrics - first "Front" and "Afghanistan" - and just fell in love. It turned out that this is my favorite type of prose of the twenties: a kind of journalistic essay, a strong mixture of naturalism and expressionism. It's, as you might guess, about the everyday life of the Civil War.

Reisner does not hide behind the figure of the narrator, but, surprisingly, it is very difficult to grasp it. She seemed to be all turned into sight, hearing, smell - a strict fixation of the events taking place. Then I found her "Autobiographical Novel" (it was not finished), some critical essays - and we made a book, named it according to one of the texts. Philosopher Alla Mitrofanova wrote a wonderful introduction. For me, it turned out to be a very personal thing, because in the process of work I fell deeply in love with both prose and the very image of Reisner - a woman commissioner nicknamed Ionic Curl, who, more than anything else, loves organ music, ice cream and gnawing cabbage stumps. This is how I remember her.

Alisa Poret

“Notes. Drawings. Memories"

Once I had a long, rather difficult period, during which the only entertainment I saw was a sixteen-hour dream. I could neither read, nor watch a movie, nor listen to music - everything was so bad. Once I decided to make myself a present: I bought a book by Alice Poret, first the first part. And - lo and behold - funny stories and vivid pictures gradually returned my interest in reading and everything else.

Poret worked on Notes in the late 1960s, many years after the events described. On each page of the book there is a small anecdotal or lyrical story. Poret writes about his childhood, days of study, the white dog Hokusai, friendship with Kharms, who once specially brought bedbugs to the house of Ivan Ivanovich Sollertinsky, and many others. Reading these memories, you fall into a wonderful world where there is no sorrow and grief.

Victor Duvakin

“Conversations with Eugenia Lang. Memories of Mayakovsky and the Futurists "

Memoirs are one of my favorite types of literature, I read a lot and constantly. I especially love to find them in literary archives - at this moment there is a feeling that you have a precious treasure. Conversations with Eugenia Lang came out this summer. The main line of the conversation between Duvakin and Lang is her relationship with Mayakovsky, but the artist's memoirs are remarkable not only for this, and not even for her meetings with Einstein and Steiner. Lang is interesting in itself, in one of her life as many as three fit: before the revolution, emigration and return already in the fifties and, of course, her creative activity, about which not much is said in the book.

What surprises Lang in his recollections is the absolute absence of a posture characteristic of many memoirists. After reading, a surprisingly light feeling remains: Lang tells many funny and touching stories - about how he and Mayakovsky bought pies and ate them in the bell tower, about how they rode around Moscow in a camel-pulled sleigh with Durov, and the boys shouted to them followed by: “Camel-y-yud! Mayak-o-ovsky! Doo-u-level!"

Yuri Lotman

Conversations on Russian Culture

What can I say - the basis of the basics. I first got to know Conversations in the form of a series of programs that used to be often played on Kultura. I remember that day very well. I came home from school, the TV was working in the kitchen, my mother warmed up the soup. And I stared at the screen and could not tear myself away: I was mesmerized by this face, intonation. I simply could not believe that one could speak about history and literature in such a way that in general they have such a dimension: everyday life, culture - all this seemed to be separate. At school, history was taught quite traditionally: there are key figures, and there are masses, well, for example, peasants. Literature - rather from some moral ethical standpoint (whether Katerina did well or not, etc.).

Frozen with a spoonful of soup at my mouth, I thought that, in fact, I did not understand anything at all, even in my favorite literature. And the main thing is that Lotman talked about all this as if everyone could easily seize this knowledge - it was contagious, and this is very important. Lotman in his works is not fenced off from the reader by a veil of snobbery. Then there were "Comments to Eugene Onegin" and much more. To this day, rereading Lotman's works, I feel a sense of gratitude for the ability to speak about complex things in a simple and easy language. He seems to be winking because of the book: "You can do that too."

Vladislav Khodasevich


In adolescence and adolescence, I had a huge number of favorite poets: from Basilisk Gnedov to the Soviet poet Leonid Martynov - I found something to profit from everyone. But the older I get, the fewer poets I want to re-read constantly, and Vladislav Khodasevich is one of such authors. About poetry, at least for me, it is difficult to say why one and not another. In short, I like Khodasevich's sad, sometimes sullen intonation. I sentimentally dragged the volume of his poems from Taganrog when I moved to Moscow, and then to Tartu.

Toril my

Sexual / Textual Politics

This book has become my personal guide to the history of feminist literary criticism, although it itself has long been a part of this story, since it was written back in the eighties. This is one of the classic works of feminist literary criticism. I am writing a dissertation on the professionalization of women's literary work in 19th century Russia, but I rarely use feminist tools. However, the topic obliges to understand the history of the issue.

Mine talks about two main schools: Anglo-American and French. In the first case, the term "politics" is important, which is interpreted as the implementation of relations of domination and subordination. This direction was developed mainly by researchers of the English-speaking world. The second grew out of European philosophy and developed in France. In my opinion, there is no better book to understand these issues: despite the fact that feminist criticism has developed further, what Toril Moy writes about is the base.

Franco Moretti

Further reading

HAm philologists are lucky that this book has been translated into Russian. "Further reading" is not even a manifesto, but a program to update the methodology of studying literature. Moretti's approach may be unfamiliar to some, as it suggests studying literature as a species. The main pathos of "Distant Reading" is directed against what can be called the sacralization of the canon - which personally impresses me very much, since I myself am engaged in poetesses who are not included in the classical canon.

Perry Anderson

Reflections on Western Marxism

Perry Anderson is a historian, sociologist and political scientist, one of the leading Marxist intellectuals of our time and the main theoreticians of the "new left" movement, brother of Benedict Anderson, the very one who wrote the beloved book "Imaginary Communities". Reflections on Western Marxism, recently republished in the common place, is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the currents of Western Marxism, you can take it as a very understandably written textbook. Anderson views Marxist philosophy as a single intellectual tradition. I reread it often to refresh my memory. Recently, Anderson's book "The Vicissitudes of Hegemony" was published in Russian, I have not read it yet, but I really want to.

Popular by topic