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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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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.

Translation Studies Expert Speaks at School of Philology

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.

Russian Sincerity Today – A Conversation with Professor Ellen Rutten

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.

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.

Professor Explores Links between Literature, Landscape and the Natural World

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.

HSE Tenured Professor Oleg Voskoboynikov Has Won the Prix Maurice Wachsmacher

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.

Cosmopolitanism, Exile and World Literature Today

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.

HSE Students Unravel the Riddle of Shakespeare

As part of the UK-Russia Year of Culture famous Russian critic and professor of literature, Igor Shaitanov delivered an open lecture at the HSE Nizhny Novgorod on questions of Shakespeare’s creative life.