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.
Marking Mikhail Sholokhov's 115th anniversary (1905-1984), linguists Boris Orekhov of the HSE and Natalya Velikanova of the Moscow State University confirmed his authorship of the epic novel about the Don Cossacks. The researchers were able to attribute the novel using the text distance measure proposed by John Burrows. Termed Burrows' Delta, it provides a simple and reliable method of attributing or confirming the authorship of various texts.
Autograph is a digital archive that grants researchers access to digitized manuscripts of Russian writers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Until now, the manuscripts were only available in archives that are closed to researchers and the public and located in different cities and countries around the world.
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HSE’s Preparatory Year Programme for international students includes not only intensive Russian language training but also subject specific courses. One such course is ‘Russian Literature’, which introduces international students to classic works by Russian writers such as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Chekhov. In the course, students read and discuss select texts in the original Russian, which helps them gain a better understanding of the Russian culture and history.
On September 26 and 27, the HSE School of Philology hosted Professor Brian Baer of Kent University (Ohio, USA) for a lecture entitled ‘The Translator’s Biography in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia: Art, Politics, Identity’, followed by a workshop on ‘Teaching Translation Studies’. Following his lecture and workshop, Professor Baer spoke with the HSE News Service about his career as a translator, the role of the translator in society and his recommendations for international readers looking for exposure to Russian literature.
On May 23, Ellen Rutten, Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies at the University of Amsterdam, delivered a lecture at HSE on her new book, ‘Sincerity after Communism’. An expert on Slavonic literature and culture, Professor Rutten is involved in numerous projects, including the Digital Emotions group, Sublime Imperfections, and ‘Russian Literature’, a journal where she serves as editor-in-chief.
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.
On May 15, Dr James Canton of the University of Essex will deliver a lecture at HSE on ‘Wild Writing’, a form of literature that emerged in the mid-twentieth century as a novel way of understanding the urban landscape and nature. The author of numerous publications focused primarily on British travel writing in Arabia, Dr Canton’s lecture will focus on a discussion of local Essex landscapes.
Associate Professor at the Department of Social History Oleg Voskoboynikov has won the Humanities Prize 2014 for his translation into Russian of French art historian Roland Recht’s Le croire et le voir: L'art des cathédrales, XIIe-XVe siècle (Believing and Seeing, The Art of Gothic Cathedrals) in a volume published by the HSE Publishing House. The prize was awarded by the French Ambassador to Russia, Jean-Maurice Ripert who signed a certificate at the ceremony for the winner to travel to France.
Galin Tihanov, George Steiner Professor of Comparative Literature at Queen Mary, University of London, will deliver a series of three lectures at the Higher School of Economics this week. His most recent research has been on cosmopolitanism, exile, and transnationalism. Professor Tihanov recently sat down with the HSE news service to speak about his research and teaching interests, including his work on Russian literature.