Russian Literature

Explore centuries of Russia’s rich literary history through Houghton’s vast collections.
Eugene Onegin: scene design: [duel scene] View Details.
Houghton Library

Houghton Library's Russian literature collection is one of the largest outside of Russia. It includes first editions and first appearances-in-print of some of Russia’s most beloved literary treasures such as War and Peace, Crime and Punishment, and Eugene Onegin.

The collection spans the 18th century to the present, with particular strengths in the work of Alexander Pushkin, Silver Age authors, and the avant-garde,  with holdings of scarce works of poetry and artist books.

The lists of authors below contain links to HOLLIS that show book and manuscript holdings for each author. These lists represent the tip of the iceberg for the library’s holdings. Researchers may find The Kilgour Collection of Russian Literature, 1750-1920, the catalog describing the foundation of Houghton’s collection, useful for their research.

Houghton also holds several significant collections of personal papers, including those of the family of 20th-century novelist Vladimir Nabokov, the 19th-century novelist Ivan Turgenev in the Pauline Viardot-Garciia collection, and the papers of the 20th-century poet Elizaveta Mnatsakanova.

Finally, the library has extensive holdings in samizdat (self-published works circulated clandestinely in the Soviet Union) and tamizdat (works published illegally abroad and smuggled into the Soviet Union). Many of Houghton’s samizdat titles are listed via this search in HOLLIS, but patrons should reach out if they are interested in learning more about the library’s holdings in this genre.

18th Century

Handwritten manuscript page in Russian
Бригадир [Brigadir] Manuscript View Details.
Houghton Library

19th Century

20th and 21st Centuries

Blue book cover with Russian title, large red star in the center and tree scene near the bottom
Doktor Zhivago, Front cover View Details.
Houghton Library

Accessing These Materials

All material is available for use in Houghton Library’s reading room.