For citation:

Zhitenev A.A. Interpretation of “Novelty” in the Theory of Russian Avant-guard (“LEF”, “Novy LEF”). Studia Litterarum, 2019, vol. 4, no 3, pp. 10–27. (In Russ.)

DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2019-4-3-10-27

Author: Aleksandr A. Zhitenev
Information about the author:

Aleksandr A. Zhitenev, DSc in Philology, Associate Professor, Voronezh State University, Universitetskaya pl. 1, 394018 Voronezh, Russia.

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-6365-4138

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Received: February 09, 2019
Published: September 25, 2019
Issue: 2019 Vol. 4, №3
Department: Literary Theory
Pages: 10-27

UDK: 82.0
BBK: 83
Keywords: novelty, the history of novelty, aesthetic novelty, LEF, Novy LEF.


The article seeks to find approaches to the study of “novelty” as a category of aesthetic consciousness of the “non-classical” era. To achieve this goal, it analyzes all the contexts where this category was used in the magazines LEF and NOVY LEF. The essay argues that “novelty” is central for the aesthetics of LEF yet is conceived as a permanent rather than a transient state. Innovation is a result of collective, not individual efforts, and pursues the goal of improving human nature. LEF makes a paradoxical attempt to preserve the “new” as the new and at the same time to achieve its wide public recognition. Its value is directly associated with revolutionary ideals. The “novelty” correlates with utopianism, and with creation of speculative models. The opposition of the “old” content and the “new” form is replaced with the triad “form — material — target.” Thus, for LEF, “new literature” turns out to be the “target literature,” a response to the “social order.”


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