Mikhail N. Epstein

(1950 -)

An article for the forthcoming Dictionary of Russian Literature.


Thomas Epstein

Boston College



Mikhail Naumovich Epshtein (Epstein) is one of the leading cultural theorists of the past quarter century. He is also one of the most complex, having written on subjects as diverse as the American fascination with dinosaurs and the role of theological apophaticism in Russian culture; on the meaning of waiting in line in Soviet culture and the 'trauma' of the information explosion; on the 'mystery' of (former) Soviet hockey invincibility and the sophiological speculations of Daniil Leonidovich Andreev. He has been both a central analyst and publicist for Russian postmodernism as well as its pathologist, having declared it dead in the mid-1990s. He has written both under his own name and under a variety of heteronyms, including the sexual theorist Ivan Solovyov, the spiritual teacher Iakov Abramov, and the Communist sociologist of religion R. O. Gibaydulina. While inspired by Valdimir Sergeevich Solovyov's philosophy of "total-unity" (vseedinstvo) Epstein insists on the necessity of diversity and the importance, even sacredness, of the smallest object, the very detritus of society (for example, the used candy wrapper, a central object in his imagined Lyrical Museum and its related science of things, realogy). A Russian intellectual to the core of his being, he has made the Bakhtinian "crossing of borders," both intellectual and geographic, the center of his culturological project. While totally serious about his aims, he employs play, fantasy and humor as fundamental analytic-creative tools. Perhaps the best way to summarize the overarching spirit of his various investigations is to invoke the title of his latest book, which is a study and transformation of modal analysis: The Philosophy of the Possible.

            Mikhail Epstein was born in Moscow in 1950. He was graduated from the Department of Philology at the Moscow State University in 1972 and then worked for five years in the Department of Theory at the Institute of World Literature. While there he assimilated some of the methodology developed by the eminent culturologist Gregorii Dmitrievich Gachev and mastered the structuralism of Iuryi Mikhailovich Lotman. While engaged in this academic work Epstein struck out in two related directions: involvement with Moscow's "underground" poetry and art scene, establishing particularly close ties with the Conceptualists (especially Ilya Iosovich Kabakov) and Metarealists; and in the creation of a new type of cultural interaction and its institutions, a virtual 'laboratory' for what he calls transculture.

The encounter with Conceptualism was crucial for both sides; Epstein became one of its chief theorists and champions while Conceptualism's 'ideational' approach to culture and language resonated with, and influenced, his own. In 1982, attempting to expand interdisciplinarity and the "crossing" of intellectual borders (a central concern to this day), Epstein founded the Essayists' Club. Later, under glasnost', he started the association known as "Image and Thought" (1986-present), under whose aegis the "Bank of New Ideas and Terms" and "The Laboratory of Contemporary Culture" were formed (in Moscow). Unfortunately, glasnost' also brought with it a resurgence of anti-semitism: having become an object of threats and intimidation from the reactionary group Pamyat', Epstein emigrated to the United States in 1990. Happily, this painful experience did not mean — as it has for many — creative stagnation or irrelevancy in America: throughout the 1990s he not only continued to be a close observer of the Russian scene but wrote extensively about his American experience, joined the faculty of Emory University where he is now the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Cultural Theory and Russian Literature, engaged in a variety of cross-cultural activities, including an American version of Image and Thought, collaborated with the American cultural theorist Ellen Berry, and been active in a variety of Russian-American organizations. Perhaps the most significant aspect of Epstein's American period has been his intense involvement with the World Wide Web, culminating in his creation of the InteLnet (see below).

            Although his greatest legacy may be as a culturologist, Mikhail Epstein is to date best known as a theorist of Russian postmodernism. His extensive study of the subject has produced three primary areas of inquiry: its historical origins and prospects, its meaning and significance, and the achievements of its practitioners.

The question of the historical origins of Russian postmodernism is a thorny one.  As was the case with Soviet Communism, Russia seems to lack the "necessary" conditions for the development of the phenomenon in question: it was subject neither to the "cultural logic of late capitalism," (Jameson) nor to the tyranny of the image (Baudrillard). Moreover, the repression of Modernism in Russia, its seeming "incompleteness," would tend to negate the very possibility of the emergence of a postmodern culture. (The eminent cultural theorist Boris Groys has tried to "remedy" this second aporia by brilliantly describing Stalinism as the culminating embodiment of the Russian Modernist project.)

Mikhail Epstein has answers for both Jameson and Baudrillard. While embracing the latter's concepts of hyper-reality and simulation, he replaces image with idea: ideology replaces videology, producing the very same "logic" as described both by Jameson and Baudrillard. At the same time, Epstein argues for the deep historical roots of Russian postmodernism, emphasizing the simulative nature of Russian culture as such. Beginning with Saint Vladimir's "imitative" conversion of himself and his nation to Christianity, continuing with Peter the Great's forced, simulated Westernization of Russia, and perhaps culminating in Soviet Marxism, where the ideology of materialism replaced matter itself, Russia is depicted as a postmodern nation par excellence and avant la lettre. This is why he can argue that not only is postmodernism not alien to Russian culture but that it is indeed profoundly "native." Most radically (and against Groys), Epstein contends that Socialist Realism is itself a stage in the development of historical postmodernism (in this sense, Russia for once anticipates rather than follows a Western development). In his essay "The Origins and Meaning of Russian Postmodernism" Epstein identifies seven ways in which Socialist Realist practice coincides with Postmodernism: 1. It creates a hyperreality that is "neither truthful nor false but consists of ideas that become reality for millions of people"; 2. It  describes Modernism as an "obsolete" mode of "aesthetic individualism and linguistic purism"; 3. It abandons a specifically Marxist discourse to become a pastiche of numerous ideologies and philosophies, even combining materialism and idealism; 4. It abjures any specific artistic style, aspiring instead to a new, 'metadiscursive' level of culture that combines classicist, romantic, realist and futurist models; 5. It rejects what it calls 'subjectivist' and 'naïve' discursive strategies, replacing them with 'quotation marks' as a mode of hyperauthorship and hyper-personality; 6. It negates the opposition between elitist and mass culture; and 7. It attempts to "construct a posthistorical space where all great discourses of the past should find their ultimate resolution." (After the Future, pp. 206-207)

All that is lacking in this first phase of postmodernism is the irony and playfulness that mark "mature" postmodernism; and this is supplied in full measure by the Russian artists and writers of the Conceptualist School of the 1970s and 80s, in particular Ilya Iosovich Kabakov, Erik Vladimirovich Bulatov, Dmitry Aleksandrovich Prigov, Lev Rubinshtein, and Vladimir Sorokin.

No less original is Epstein's injection of spirituality into the Russian postmodern paradigm. He does this in his study of Conceptualism, equating its unveiling of the emptiness (lack of a signified) at the heart of (Soviet) discourse with the Byzantine apophatic tradition as expressed in Russian theology and society. For Epstein, Russia is caught in the middle, both geographically and historically: it is neither wholly Western nor wholly Eastern. It sees reality neither in Western terms of empiricism and self-creation nor in the Eastern way, as "a product interwoven of the many-colored veil of Maya, which must be cast off to reveal Absolute Nothingess." (After the Future, pg. 197) Russia's "solution" is the Christian Orthodox one, whose implicit motto is:

'it is necessary to begin but impossible to finish': such is the intermediate stance of the free Russian spirit, which is as alien to the Eastern contemplative practice of world-negation as it is to the energetic Western ethos of world-organization.

Indeed, even our cities and buildings, those that manage to arise from the heaps of garbage, from the muddy grave prepared for them in advance, appear to be dilapidated and decrepit. Brand-new structures can scarcely survive: in a matter of days, they will be broken down, plastered with leaflets, and splashed with slops, as they return willy-nilly to a state of being under construction (After the Future, pg. 199)


Such a condition, Epstein argues, is the visible form of apophatic spirituality, first articulated by Pseudo-Dionysius the Aeropagite. Russian postmodernism thus aspires neither to nihilism nor "mere" negation of meta-narratives but to apophatic, or negative, seeing. In it, God is approached not positively, through what "He [supposedly] is," but negatively, by sloughing off the conceptual schema that claim to make defining God possible. Apophaticism — and Conceptualism — enact their own inadequacy to name; yet paradoxically, in this neutralization of humanity's (poetry's) ability to encompass God (things) with positive concepts, God (the real) is approached indirectly, yet immediately, in Divine Silence and Invisibility. For Epstein, this is what precisely marks Russian Conceptualism: its "play," self-irony and neutralization create an opening to "elsewhereness."

As seen above, Epstein identifies this apophatic tendency, this compulsive confession of human inadequacy, not only with Russian culture but with Russian civilization as such. It also strongly marks contemporary spirituality, which he dubs the kingdom of "minimal [or poor] religion." Evocative of both Italian "arte povera" and Grotowski's "poor theater," "poor religion," apophaticism as a way of life, marks an entire post-asthetistic generation: lacking a visible church, this generation finds God only at the borders of the religiously intelligible.

            The third service that Epstein does for Russian postmodernism is to identify its leading practitioners and to analyze their methods and contributions. Along with the aforementioned Conceptualists, to whom he devotes the majority of his energy, Epstein also discusses (and in fact gives name to) two other leading Russian postmodern tendencies in poetry: metarealism and presentism.  By identifying the Conceptualists as the succesors to Futurism, the Metarealists (whose leading practitioners are Ivan Zhdanov, Olga Sedakova, Elena Andreevna Shvarts, Alexander Eremenko and Viktor Borisovich Krivulin) to the Symbolists, and the Presentists (Alexei Parshchikov, Ilya Kutik, Aleksei Korolev) to Acmeism, Epstein creates a new canon — one that in fact has held. Moreover, while acknowledging the fundamental differences between “metarealism” and “conceptualism,” he also identifies their unity, their shared treatment of phenomena "not so much as physical data or emotional conditions, but rather as a system of culturally established significations." (After the Future, pg. 22). This insistence on simultaneous difference and similarity marks much of Epstein's theorizing, both literary and cultural.

            Simultaneous with this work of analysis, advocacy, and explication, Mikhail Epstein was also making a contribution to postmodernist "creativity," in essay and treatise writing. This crossing of borders, from critic to creator and back again, is an organic part of his method; and the essay has proven to be one of the most productive vehicles for this activity.

 As mentioned above, Epstein created and directed the Essayists' Club in Moscow in 1982. Its purpose was to explore and inspire the growth of a genre that he considered the most appropriate to postmodern culture — appropriate because it is the genre "legitimated by its existence outside of any genre" (Russian Postmodernism, pg. 152), existing by its nature on the margins of all genres. Capable of marshalling the heart and the head, the lyric and the epic, the scientific and the poetic, it is myth-making without authority, mighty in its very weakness:


            Essayism is a mythology based on authorship. The self-consciousness of a single individual tests the limits of its freedom and plays with all possible conceptual connections in the unity of the world. In an essay, individual freedom is not negated in the name of a myth, with its tendency for depersonalization but flourishes in the right to the individual myth. This authorial, mythopoetic freedom, which includes freedom from the logic of myth itself, constitutes the foundation of the genre. The essay thus constantly vacillates between myth and non-myth, between unity and difference. Consequently, the particular coincides with the universal, image with concept, being with meaning. However, these correspondances are not complete, edges protrude. Creating uneven surfaces, disruptions and discrepancies. This is the only way in which the contemporary perception of the world can come to realization: aiming for totality, it at the same time does not claim to overcome difference in its constituent parts. (Russian Postmodernism, pg. 156)


Epstein's own version of essayism in impressively enacted in Bog detalei ("The Deity of Details ") and Na granitsakh kultur ("On the Border of Cultures"), the second of which takes up the encounter between Russia and America — self and other, on the level of national myths — from the point of the view of a new immigrant (Mikhail Epstein himself).

            Essayism as postmodern myth is further explored in two brilliant mock-treatises, Velikaia sov' (Great Owland) and Novoe Sektantsvo (an English translation, entitled Cries in a New Wilderness, is to be published by Paul Dry Books). The former, almost Swiftian in spirit, purports to be an anthropological study of an obscure "Northern people" who believed the Great Owl to be their holy ancestor and so became "owlish" in their souls: what results is a picture of the "deep structure" of the Soviet mentality. The latter book is a "scientific inquiry" into contemporary Russian sectarianism, carried out by the Institute of Atheism. Here myth, and its bearer language, prove to be "truer" than reality itself: although none of the sectarian groups described in the book are in fact real, the fantasy they describe captures the deeper reality of Russia's overdetermined ideological consciousness, both investigator and investigated.

            After his emigration to the United States, although continuing to follow closely and to comment on events in the former Soviet Union, Mikhail Epstein turned some of his enormous energies both to matters of interest to the American academy (in particular cultural studies and the future of the humanities), and to the worldwide web. However, both of these interests proved to have significant continuity with his earlier activities and tended to demonstrate that his postmodernism was subsumed by his culturology.

            Culturology, Epstein explains (Transcultural Experiments, pg. 15), is a Russian discipline, although its approach can be traced back to the German intellectual tradition, in particular to Goethe, Herder, Windelband, Simmel, and Spengler, all of whom treated culture as an integral organism. In Russia the culturological approach begins with the nineteenth century Slavophile thinker Nikolai Iakolevich Danilevsky, and in the 20th century is developed by figures as diverse as the theologian Pavel Aleksandrovich Florensky, the philosophers Mikhail Mikhailovich Bakhtin and Aleksei Fedorovich Losev, the semioticians Yurii Mikhailovich  Lotman and Vladimir Solomonovich Bibler, and the philosopher-culturologists Sergei Sergeevich Averinstev and Georgii Dmitrevich Gachev. The fundamental aim of this discipline is, as Epstein sees it, to be the "self-consciousness" of culture, to explore those borders between various isolated "cultures" (scientific, artistic, professional, etc.) in an attempt to locate their unity and to widen the possibilities of all culture and cultures.

            In order to carry this out Epstein uses the concept and methods of 'transculture,' the crossing of borders into a zone of "no culture" where identity and difference intersect. Epstein contrasts transculture with deconstruction and multiculturalism, "two principle aspects of postmodern theory that are increasingly found to be in fundamental disagreement." (Transcultural Experiments, pg. 80) Deconstruction, as is well known, is a critique of essentialism and the entire Western tradition of the metaphysics of presence and origin. Finding no moment in time or physical event in which to locate the origin of the being of beings, deconstruction sees language as a bearer of mere "traces," which are themselves at best the origin of the origin, the myth of presence. What is is in fact "different" from itself: everything is the play of these differences.

By contrast, multiculturalism tends to posit an essentialism in which "cultural production" is the expression of a definable origin, one that is often "hidden" by and from its producer and which the field of cultural studies purports to uncover. Rather than a free play of differences, or signifiers attached to no signified (the world of internal difference), multiculturalist theorists trace the sources of culture to various material origins, whether gender, race, class, age., etc (the world of external difference). The goal of multiculturalism is to validate and insure respect of these differences, to posit "each culture" as self-sufficient and equal to itself.

Epstein's transculture sees and rejects the one-sidedness of both these positions. Like multiculturalism, transculture accepts that cultures "do have origins and are indeed sustained and determined by these origins."  (Transcultural Experiments, pg. 83) However, for Epstein, this insight is but the point of departure for culture (i.e. it is nature); for the goal of culture is to liberate us from nature, in order to increase human possibility and freedom. This is where the liberating potential of deconstruction comes in. By historicizing deconstruction, that is by accepting the notion of real origins, "we can posit the goal of dis-organization, the flight from origins as an historical possibility" (pg. 83). The result is transculture, which is the acknowledgment by each individual of its state of inadequacy: each needs to cross over into the other. This is what he calls positive deconstruction, positive otherness: the multiplication of possible worlds as opposed to the negation (or affirmation) of a single presence. Its mode, and its mood, is the subjunctive.

This insight has been the guiding principle of Epstein's activities in the later 1990s. These include the rebirth of his "laboratory" model of transcultural activity on American soil (improvisational sessions at Bowling Green State University and Emory University in 1996 and 1998), the publication of the book "Transcultural Experiments" co-authored by Epstein and cultural theorist Ellen Berry, the crucial invention of InteLnet (http://comm.cudenver.edu/~inteLnet) for which he was awarded The Social Innovations Award in 1995 from the Institute for Social Inventions in London, a stream of articles in which his culturological approach is employed on a variety of topics, and the forthcoming publication of his study of modal philosophy, The Philosophy of the Possible.

 The InteLnet, or Intellectual Network, is in many ways the most perfect realization of Epstein's culturological aspirations. As he himself said:


For me, the InteLnet is analogous to the human mind, with its infinite conceptual links and associations. Now, retrospectively, I can interpret our attempts at collective improvisations in Moscow (1982-89) as a search for cyberspace within the more traditional space of a room and a roundtable. The idea of the InteLnet, an electronic community of creative minds, though in essence as old as the world, or at least as old as Plato's Academia, comes from my experience in that late-Soviet intellectual milieu. Together we tried to create integrated, "polyphonic" descriptions of certain cultural phenomena and to work out patterns of "translation" for different professional languages. Our improvisational community was a sort of pre-electronic InteLnet, which can now develop in a technologically more mature, global form. (pp. 276-277)


The InteLnet's purpose is as simple as it is all-encompassing: to link everything to everything else! A certain Conceptualist intention is evident here, a hint of self-parody that both undercuts and sustains the utopianism of this project. The InteLnet is currently comprised of five subheadings: the Bank of New Ideas, Aphorisms, Thinklinks, Intelnetics, The Book of Books. Each has its own, liberating aim: advancing new ideas, investigating connections between concepts, elaborating a methodology of a new humanistic metadiscipline, creating new intertextual bodies.

This growing emphasis on possible worlds and virtuality has stimulated Epstein to a reassessment of both the meaning of Russian postmodernism and the general prospects of Russian culture. His reassessment of Russian postmodernism began with his observation of its end, the catalyst for which he saw in the gradual overcoming of total irony (the "new sincerity," as he termed it). But how could there be an end to a movement that proclaimed itself "the last receptacle of everything that ever unfolded and took shape within history"? (After the Future, pg. 332) Did not such an assumption — like all other utopian illusions, including Socialist Realism — close off the indeterminacy of the future, of the possible? Perhaps more adequately understood, true postmodernism, a world of true possibility and a real future, is the entry into a broader period of culture (tentatively called the postmodern, as opposed to the postmodernist) that is better designated with the prefix "proto" or incipient.  In his welcome to the new century (Znamiia, no. 5, 2001) he in fact playfully described our debut de siècle as an "archaic" deposit of some future culture.

This process of 'opening up' the postmodern has led Epstein to various attempts at articulating a new overall paradigm for Russian — and perhaps world — culture.  Among them (see Zvezda, nos. 1 & 2, 1999) is one that he terms "troichnyi" ("ternary" or perhaps even better, "triune").  At its base is a culturological critique of Hegelian dialectical thinking, Artistotelian "median" thinking, and the project of "total unity" (ultimately Hegelian in outlook) that seduced — and continues to seduce — the Russian spirit. The dialectical path to unity, through synthesis of thesis and antithesis, is, for Epstein, limiting and ultimately destructive (it adds one to one and gets one instead of three: the totalitarian path). The Aristotelian solution — that of the "golden mean," the creation of a "neutral zone" of non-value, pure secularization — leads, in his opinion, to the spiritual mediocrity that marks contemporary Western life. His triune model (itself modeled on the Holy Trinity, three-in-one) is another form of "positive deconstruction": it strives neither to negate all identity nor to subsume identity within a single idea (the curse of all the metahistorical Modernist discourses, whether Marxist, Freudian, Nietzchean, etc.). His culturology instead attempts to maximize all forms of possibility, virtuality, imagination and openness: it allows for as many constellations of meanings as human culture can invent.


Mikhail Epstein's contributions to contemporary cultural discourse are many, some of which have been summarized above. As an intellectual figure he is in many ways the paradigmatic embodiment of the ideals of the 19th century Russian intelligentsia: a specialist of the universal. However, as distinct from his forebears, such as Nikolai Aleksandrovich Berdiaev and Dmitry Sergeevich Merezhkovsky, he is opposed to any and all "total solutions." The unity he proclaims is a unity ever in the making and unmaking.

On the other hand, from a Western point of view his postmodernism may be seen as too totalizing, too utopian and religious, too apolitical. It seems to give away too much. But this testing of ideas, exploring their limits, is very much at the heart of his experimental method. Moreover, in recent years Epstein has distanced himself from postmodernism in general, making the possible — what he calls possibilism — the measure of the new millenium.

His stance as a theorist is also ambivalent, complex. While learned and intellectually rigorous, Epstein sees science itself as a form of play; and play requires both fantasy and unexpectedness. His crossing of borders between theory, imagination, and science is as organic for him as it is unsettling for the reader who seeks a single privileged stance. Moreover, he freely asserts that literary theory should not so much aim for "cognition of truth" (pozananie istiny) but is rather a method for "widening our readerly and human experience." (Vera i obraz, pg. 123). It is to this goal that all his endeavors aspire.





Select Bibliography


A. Select Publications in English and Russian by Mikhail Naumovich Epstein (in library catalogs, the majority of publications are listed under the name Mikhail Epshtein)




In English:


1.Transcultural Experiments: Russian and American Models of Creative Communication (with Ellen Berry). New York: St. Martin's Press (Scholarly and Reference Division), 1999, 340 pp. (of 23 chapters, 16 are written by this author).


2. Russian Postmodernism: New Perspectives on Post-Soviet Culture (with Alexander Genis and Slobodanka Vladiv-Glover, in the series Studies in Slavic Literature, Culture, and Society, vol. 3). New York, Oxford: Berghahn Books, 1999, 528 pp. (of 24 chapters, 16 are written by this author). Hardcover and paperback editions.


3. After the Future: The Paradoxes of Postmodernism and Contemporary Russian Culture (a volume in the series Critical Perspectives on Modern Culture,  introd. and transl. by Anesa Miller-Pogacar), Amherst: The University of  Massachusetts Press,  1995, 392 pp. Hardcover and paperback  editions. Electronic edition, Boulder, Colo.: NetLibrary, Inc., 2000.


4. Relativistic Patterns in Totalitarian Thinking: An Inquiry into the Language of Soviet Ideology. Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, Occasional Paper, #243. Washington: The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 1991,94 pp.


In Russian



5. Filosofiia vozmozhnogo. Modal'nosti v myshlenii i kul'ture (The Philosophy of the Possible: The Modalities in Thought and Culture) S.-Petersburg: Aleteia, 2001, 334 pp.


6. Postmodern v Rossii: literatura i teoriia (The Postmodern in Russia: Literature and Theory). Moscow: LIA Elinina, 2000, 370 pp.


7. Vera i obraz. Religioznoe bessoznatel'noe v russkoi kul'ture XX veka (Faith and Image: The Religious Unconscious in Twentieth Century Russian Culture), Tenafly (New Jersey): Hermitage Publishers, 1994, 270 pp.


8. 'Priroda, mir, tainik vselennoi. . .' Sistema peizazhnykh obrazov v russkoi poezii ('Nature, the World, the Mystery of the Universe...': The System of Landscape Images in Russian Poetry). Moscow: Vysshaia Shkola [the central university press of Russia], l990, 304 pp.


9. Paradoksy novizny. O literaturnom razvitii XIX-XX vekov (The Paradoxes of Innovation: On the Development of Literature in the l9th and 20th Centuries). Moscow: Sovetskii Pisatel' [the central Russian press in literature and literary scholarship], l988, 4l6 pp.




10. Bog detalei. Narodnaia dusha i chastnaia zhizn' v Rossii na iskhode imperii (A Deity of Details: The Public Soul and Private Life at the Twilight of the Russian Empire).  New York:  Slovo/Word, 1997, 248 pp. 2nd, revised and expanded edition. Moscow: LIA Elinina, 1998, 240 pp.


11.  Na granitsakh kul'tur. Rossiiskoe - amerikanskoe - sovetskoe (On the Borders of Cultures: Russian - American - Soviet). New York, Slovo/Word, 1995, 343 pp.


12. Novoe sektantstvo: tipy religiozno-filosofskikh umonastroenii v Rossii, 1970-80-e gody (New Sectarianism: The Varieties of Religious-Philosophical Consciousness in Russia, the 1970s-1980s). Holyoke (Massachusetts): New England Publishing Co., 1993, 179 pp.  2nd edition, reprint,  Moscow: Labirint,  1994, 181 pp.


13. Velikaia Sov'. Filosofsko-mifologicheskii ocherk (Great Sov'. A Philosophical-Mythological Essay). New York: Word/Slovo, 1994, 175 pp.


14. Ottsovstvo (Fatherhood. An Essay), Tenafly (New Jersey): Hermitage Publishers, 1992, 160 pp.


15. Novoe v klassike. Derzhavin, Pushkin, Blok v sovremennom vospriiatii (The Classics Renovated: Derzhavin, Pushkin, and Blok in Contemporary Perception). Moscow: Znanie, l982, 40 pp.





16. The Philosophy of the Possible: On the Modalities of Humanistic Thinking Albany: SUNY Press (contract signed).


17. Russian Philosophical and Humanistic Thought since 1950. Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press (contract signed).





18. Cries in the New Wilderness: A Handbook of Nascent Sects (#11, trans. into English by Eve Adler), Paul Dry Books (Philadelphia), 2002. 







19. Main Trends of Contemporary Russian Thought. Paideia. Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy (Boston, Aug. 1999), vol. XII: Intercultural Philosophy. Stephen Dawson and Tomoko Iwasawa, Editors. Bowling Green, OH: Philosophy Documentation Center, 2001,  131-146.


20. The Role of The Humanities in Global  Culture: Questions and Hypotheses, in Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge (Bowling Green University, Ohio), No.2, 2001.



21. "Postmodernism, Communism, and Sots-Art,"  Endquote:  Sots-art Literature and Soviet Grand Style, ed. by Marina Balina, Nancy Condee, and Evgeny Dobrenko. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 2000, 3-31.


22. The Teachings of Iakov Abramov As Interpreted by His Disciples. Compiled, edited and commented by Mikhail Epstein. Transl. from Russian by Anesa Miller-Pogacar, in Symposion. A Journal of Russian Thought, Los Angeles:  Charles Schlacks, Jr., Publisher, University of Southern California, vol. 3, 1999, 29-66.


23. "On hyperauthorship: Hypotheses on Potential Identities of Araki Yasusada,"  Sycamore Review (Purdue University), Vol. 10, No. 1 Winter/Spring 1998,  71-81.


24. "Daniil Andreev and  the Mysticism of Femininity," The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture, ed. by Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1997, 325-355.


25. "Symposion and Russian Filosofia," in SUMPOSION / Symposion. A Journal of Russian Thought, Los Angeles:  Charles Schlacks, Jr., Publisher, University of Southern California, vol. 1, 1996, 3-7.


26. "The Phoenix of Philosophy: On the Meaning and Significance of Contemporary Russian Thought," SUMPOSION / Symposion. A Journal of Russian Thought, vol. 1, 1996, 35-74.                          




27. Commentary and Hypotheses, in Doubled Flowering: From the Notebooks of Araki Yasusada. Ed. and Trans. by Tosa Motokiyu, Oji Norinaga, and Okura Kyojin. New York: Roof Books, 1997, pp. 134-147.


28. "Letter to Tosa Motokiyu" [the problem of hyperauthorship],  Denver Quartely, University of Denver, vol. 31, No. 4, Spring 1997, pp. 100-105.


29. "Some Speculations on the Mystery of Araki Yasusada," Witz (Studio City, California), Vol. 5, No. 2, Summer 1997, 4-13.






30. Amerossiia. Dvukul'turie I svoboda. Rech' pri poluchenii premii "Liberty" (Amerossia: Biculturalism and Liberty. A Speech at the Reception of "Liberty Prize," New York, December 2000). Zvezda, 2001, #7, 221-227.


31. Mistika upakovki, ili Vvedenie v tegimenologiiu. (Mysticism of Packing: An Introduction to Tegimenology). Kommentarii (Moscow - S.Petersburg), #20, 2001, 249-261.


32. Début de siecle, ili  Ot Post- k Proto-. Manifest novogo veka (Début de Siecle, or From Post-  to Proto-:  A Manifesto for a New Century). Znamia, No.5,  2001.


33. Ateizm kak dukhovnoe prizvanie. Iz arkhivov Prof. R. O. Gibaidulinoi (Atheism as a Spiritual Calling: From the Archives of Professor R. O. Gibaidulina). Zvezda, No.4, 2001,  159-174.


34. Ot Interneta k InteLnetu (From Internet to InteLnet), in Rosiiskii internet: Nakanune bol'shikh peremen (Russian Internet: On the Eve of Large Changes). Moscow: IREX, 2000, 196-204.


35. Slovo kak proizvedenie: O zhanre odnosloviia (A Word as a Work of Art: On the genre of 'one word'."  Novyi mir, 2000, No.9, 204-215.


36. Odnoslovie kak literaturnyj zhanr (A Word as a Literarary Genre). Kontinent (Moscow-Paris), No. 104, 2000, 279-313.


37. Khronotsid. Prolog k voskresheniiu vremeni  (Chronocide: A Prologue to the Resurrection of Time). Oktiabr',  2000, No.7, 157-171.


38. Khasid i Talmudist. Sravnitel'nyi opyt o Pasternake i Mandel'shtame (A Khasid and a Talmudist: A Comparative Essay on Pasternak and Mandelshtam). Zvezda, 2000, No. 4, 82-96.


39. Informatsionnyi vzryv i travma postmodernizma.  (The Informational Explosion and the Trauma of Postmodernism). Zvezda, 1999, No. 11, 216 - 228.


40. Kniga, zhdushchaia avtorov (The Book Waiting for Its Authors). Inostrannaia literatura (Moscow), 1999,  No.5, 217-228.


41. Russkaia kul'tura na rasput'ie. Sekuliarizatsiia i perekhod ot dvoichnoi modeli k troichnoi (Russian Culture at the Crossroads: Secularization and Transition from the Binary Model to the Ternary). Zvezda (S.-Petersburg),  1999, No. 1, 202-220;  No. 2,  155-176.


42. "Iz totalitarnoi epokhi - v virtual'nuiu: vvedenie v Knigi knig" (From  the Totalitarian Epoch to the Virtual One: Introduction into the Book of books). Kontinent, No.102, 1999,  355-366.


43. "Internet kak slovesnost'" (Internet as Literature). Pushkin (Moscow),#1 (6-7),  May 1,  1998, 44-46.


44. "Sinyavsky kak Myslitel'" (Sinyavsky as a Thinker). Zvezda (S.-Petersburg), 1998, No. 2, 151-171.


45. "               " Nabroski k ekologii teksta ("        " Toward the ecology of text). Kommentarii. Moscow-St.-Petersburg, No. 13, 1997,  3-41.


46. "Proto-, ili Konets postmodernizma" (Proto-, or The End of Postmodernism) Znamia,  No. 3, 1996, 196-209.


47. "Esse ob esse" (An Essay on Essay),  Opyty. Zhurnal Esseistiki, Publikatsii, Retsenzii, Khroniki. No. 1. St.-Petersburg-Paris, 1994,  23-26.




July 1995-                Author of the Internet  sites and projects:

            The InteLnet (Intellectual Network, includes the Bank of Interdisciplinary             Ideas in the Humanities), The Gallery of Russian Thinkers; The Overview of             Russian Philosophy (the first web site devoted to Russian thought); Society             for the Study of Russian Religious Thought; InteLnet Journals in the             Humanities, Virtual Library  (in English and Russian), Symposion: A Journal             of Russian Thought;  The Range of Futurees: Techno-Humanistic Journal             (in Russian); A Gift of A Word: A Constructive Dictionary of Russian             Neologisms  (in Russian), and other  sites:

http://www.comm.cudenver.edu/~inteLnet                                           http://www.emory.edu/INTELNET/intelnet.html



http://www.emory.edu/INTELNET/rus_thinkers_gallery. html








February 2000.   Award/Web Listing M. Epstein's site InteLnet: Russian

Postmodernism   (web projects in the humanities) was selected for permanent inclusion in the Online Subject Catalog of Academic Resources: http://www.realsci.com/infobox.cfm?Key=http://www.rpi.edu/~sapief/intelnet/index.html



 B. Select Reviews and Interviews with and about Mikhail Naumovich Epstein (Epshtein)



1. Grigorii Tul'chinskii. Vozmozhnoe kak sushchee (The Possible as The Existent), in Mikhail Ep[stein. Filosofiia vozmnozhnogo, S-Petersburg, Aleteia, 2001,  7-24.


2. Ilya Kutik. After the Future. Hieroglyphs of Another World: On Poetry, Swedenborg and Other Matters, ed. by Andrew Wachtel.  Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2000,  31-35.


3. Viacheslav Kuritsyn. Russkii literaturnyi postmodernism (Russian Literary Postmodernism). M., OGI, 2000, 157-159, 194-196, 221-225.


4. Donatella Possamai.   Che cos'è il postmodernismo russo? Cinque percorsi

interpretativi  (the chapter "Michail Epstejn"), Il Poligrafo, Padova, 2000, 38-47.


5. From Internet to InteLnet: Electronic Media and Intellectual Creativity.  An Interview with Mikhail Epshtein, by Evgeny Shklovsky. ARTMARGINS: Contemporary Central and East European Visual Culture. August 1999,



6. Eric Naiman (review of After the Future). Slavic Review. vol. 57, No. 1, Spring 1998,  228-231.


7. Caryl Emerson. The First Hundred Years of Mikhail Bakhtin. Princeton (N. J.): Princeton University Press, 1997, pp. 12-17, 147-148, 194.


8. Victor Terras. "Sweet Moments of Recognition": Epshtein on Postmodernism. Slavic and East European Journal, vol. 41, No.3, Fall 1997,  477-481.


9. Anesa Miller-Pogacar. Mikhail Epstein's Transcultural Visions,  in Mikhail Epstein, After the Future: The Paradoxes of Postmodernism and Contemporary Russian Culture  Amherst: The University of  Massachusetts Press,  1995, pp.1-16.


10. Russian Critical Theory and Postmodernism: The Theoretical Writings of Mikhail Epstein.  Forum: Dale Peterson, Edith W.Clowes, Anesa Miller-Pogacar, Mikhail Epstein,   in Slavic and East European Journal, 1995, Vol.39, No.3, Fall 1995, 329-366:


11. Lev Anninskii. Sovki Minervy (Owls of Minerva),  Svobodnaia mysl', Moscow,  1995, No.9, 97-107.


12. Ellen E. Berry, Kent Johnson, Anesa Miller-Pogacar, "Postcommunist Postmodernism --- An Interview with Mikhail Epstein," Common Knowledge, Oxford University Press, 1993, Vol. 2, No.3, 103-118.


13. Sally Laird, "Life after Utopia: New Poets in Moscow," an interview with M.Epstein, Index on Censorship, London, January 1988, 12-14.