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HSE Develops Mobile App Based on Tolstoy’s War and Peace

HSE’s School of Linguistics, along with Samsung and the Leo Tolstoy State Museum, has developed a mobile application called ‘Living Pages,’ which offers users a new way of reading Leo Tolstoy’s novel War and Peace. The programme’s launch coincides with the Russia’s Year of Literature.

The interface of the application helps readers orient themselves faster throughout the novel. Users are also given access to commentary and explanations of fragments of text, as well as infographics and brain games. In addition, readers will be given the opportunity to navigate through the novel in alternative ways using interactive scenarios based on how the literary fates of the work’s characters intersect and on how the literary plot is projected on a historic timeline.

‘Work began on the project in March. Our group developed the content portion. We offer the reader a number of new ways to navigate through this complex and multi-layered work. All of the app’s interactive elements are connected with quotations from the book. By clicking on a fragment, the reader is taken directly to the text. Students of the Higher School of Economics also took part in the application’s development, and they will continue working on the project in the future,’ notes Anastasiya Bonch-Osmolovskaya, Associate Professor in HSE’s School of Linguistics.  

‘Everyone had extremely high ambitions in undertaking such a large-scale project. We used a massive literary work as the app’s foundation, which required linguistics experts, semantic analysis, and a truly scientific approach. We are therefore extremely grateful to the Higher School of Economics and the Tolstoy Digital group, which both joined in on the project,’ Sergey Pevnev, the Director of Corporate Relations at Samsung Electronics, comments.

Tolstoy Digital is a public interest group made up of scholars and public figures such as HSE Associate Linguistics Professors Anastasiya Bonch-Osmolovskaya and Boris Orekhov; Associate Professor at Dartmouth College, Mikhail Gronas; journalist Fyokla Tolstaya, who is also a member of the Tolstoy family; producer Maya Stravinskaya; and representatives of the Leo Tolstoy State Museum. The group’s academic research is connected with developing the semantic publishing of a full collection of Tolstoy’s works. This will include relevant textual and meta-textual information – facts, dates, quotations, connections, context – equipped with a computer-readable semantic markup.

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HSE University Joins Digital Archive Project of Silver Age Literature

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From HSE to the Sorbonne and Back

Alexey Lukashin, graduate of the HSE master’s programme ‘Comparative Studies: Russian Literature in Cross-cultural Perspective’, studies how real people often copy literary characters and how they themselves can become unusual characters. He is now writing a thesis on this at the Sorbonne and plans to go for his doctorate at HSE.

HSE Develops Interactive Web Version of Tolstoy’s War and Peace

The HSE School of Linguistics, along with Samsung Electronics and experts from the group Tolstoy Digital, has launched the web version of the project ‘Living Pages,’ which offers users a new visual and linguistic analysis of Leo Tolstoy’s iconic novel War and Peace.

Debating the Next Nobel Laureate

On October 8, 2015, the winner of this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature will be announced. The favourites among bookmakers are the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, Belarusian author Svetlana Alexievich, and Kenya’s Ngugi wa Thiong’o. HSE scholars share their opinions on the most likely contenders.