- research of historical and theoretical issues in the field of literature and folklore studies;

- history, typology and poetics of foreign literatures: European, American, African and those of eastern countries;

- history and poetics of national literatures of the ethnicities of Russian Federation;

- preparing critical editions of literary monuments of world literature and folklore;

- collecting, systematization and complex research of Russian and foreign folklore;

- research of moral and aesthetic values and the historical evolution of Russian literature, preparing critical editions of complete works by the classics of Russian literature;

- replenishment, scientific processing, preservation and research of archives and museums’ funds;

- organization of exhibits and excursions; scientific, educational and cultural work; expert and referential bibliographical activities.

The innovative approach of IWL RAS is based on creative development of the needs of modern science from within and on traditions formed by the leading representatives of scientific schools of IWL RAS who were the driving force behind the outstanding achievements of Russian literature studies: academicians M.M. Pokrovskiy, Iu.B. Vipper, M.L. Gasparov, S.S. Averintsev, N.I. Balashov and B.L. Riftin; corresponding members of the RAS (and the AS of the USSR) S.I. Sobolevskiy, B.L. Suchkov, L.I. Timofeev, G.I. Lomidze, A.D. Mikhailov, etc.; and Doctors I.S. Braginskiy, E.M. Meletinskiy, P.A. Grintser, N.I. Nikulin, I.Iu. Podgaetskaia, A.P. Chudakov, I.D. Nikiforova, V.B. Zemskov, etc.

In recent years primary research areas of IWL RAS were coordinated by its representatives and members of the RAS: academician A.B. Kudelin (Oriental, Arabic and comparative studies), corresponding members V.V. Kornienko (textology of Russian literature), V.M. Gatsak (folklore studies), A.L. Toporkov (folklore studies, history of literature studies, historical poetics), F.F. Kuznetsov (history of Russian literature).

In 2015 two of the IWL RAS employees were elected professors of the RAS: M.Iu. Liustrov (ancient Russian literature) and V.V. Polonskiy (Russian literature of late 19th ‒ early 20th centuries, theory of literature, comparative studies).

Work on unique “History of Literature of the USA in 6 Chapters”, “History of German Literature of the 20th Century” and other fundamental works developed the heuristic and methodological potential of the “History of World Literature in 8 Chapters”, a one-of-a-kind project of IWL RAS that was rated by the international scholarly community as a milestone of modern literary studies.

Work on preparing new academic editions of complete sets of works of the classics of Russian literature, such as N.V.Gogol, D.I.Pisarev, L.N.Tolstoy, A.A.Blok, L.N.Andreev, A.M.Gorky, V.V.Mayakovsky, V.Khlebnikov and A.P.Platonov was especially important for the Russian literature studies of recent years. Along with the periodical “Textologicheskii Vremennik” (Textology Chronicle), which covered both general and particular textological issues of the 20th century literature, they reflect the dynamic development of the traditions of IWL RAS textological school, formed by the works of corresponding members D.D.Blagoi, L.D.Gromova‒Opul’skaia, D.Litt. A.L.Grishulina, etc.

The theoretical and literary research is based on developing the ideas of D.Litt. A.V.Mikhailov, one of the founders of the IWL RAS theoretical school, and followed the traditions of the Institute’s Department of Theory as the centre of research and academic publishing of M.M.Bakhin’s heritage (research on the historical poetics by L.A.Sazonova, works on literary aesthetics by S.G.Bocharov, Bakhtin studies by I.L.Popova, etc.).

The Departments of Folklore and Literature of Russia’s Ethnicities and the CIS Coutries successfully fulfill their unique task of integrating literary research of the former USSR ethnicities in diverse research centres of Russia and the near abroad, one that is in high demand considering the recent trend of dissociation between scientific communities. Due to their work it became possible to lay the groundwork for a renewed academic series “Epos of European and Asian Ethnicities”, which is supposed to succeed the classic IWL series “Epos of the USSR Ethnicities”, a key work for contemporary international studies of European and Asian epos.

The Department of Manuscripts of IWL RAS and the A.M.Gorky Archive laid the groundwork for carrying out novel projects: introducing the documents from IWL RAS archives into scholarly process via the “Codex manuscriptus” academic periodical; creating an international scholarly laboratory for developing the institutional history of the 1920s‒1930s on the basis of documents from literary organizations’ funds and unified archives of the Institute.


The process of digitizing the photography funds of A.M.Gorky Museum continues, along with work on creating digital backup copies of funds of the Department of Manuscripts and A.M.Gorky Archive.

The following novel primary research areas were formed in the Institute academic practice: Russian literature from a cross-cultural point of view and international Russian studies in the context of international exchange; a thesaurus approach to literature and folklore studies (conceptology in critic coverage, historical and functional research of “eternal imagery”, etc.); interdisciplinary synthesis of philological instruments utilizing the methods of sociology, philosophy, art and religion studies, etc.; renewing the source base of literature studies and its updating utilizing modern technology (database creation, new approach to systemizing, etc.); research of the ‘literature industry’, mass belles-lettres works and literature of “cultural demand” and social order; development of the institutional history of literature of the 20th century on the basis of archive materials.

Innovative activities both in research and scholarly-organizational spheres that were put in practice in IWL RAS in 2013‒2015 allowed to develop a radically new programme of the Institute development for the next 5 years. This programme was presented by D.Ltt. V.V.Polonskiy during the Institute director elections in November 2015 and it received support of the majority of the staff, making its author the new head of IWL RAS. One can become familiar with its main theses by following this link: http://imli.ru/images/pdf/osnovnyje-polozhenija.pdf