causa artium logo

Art is one of the ways people communicate with one another. Every work of art brings the viewer to into a special kind of relationship, both with whoever has created or is creating the art and also with everyone else who—together with him, or before or afterwards—is subject to that
artistic impression.
—Leo Tolstoy

It would be a mistake to ascribe this creative power
to an inborn talent.
In art, the genius creator is not just a gifted being, but a person who has succeeded in arranging for their appointed end, a complex of activities, of which the work is the outcome, requiring an effort.
—Henri Matisse

Art is so varied that to reduce it to any single purpose, be it even the salvation of mankind, is an abomination before the Lord.
—Nikolai Gumilev

Conception, my boy, fundamental brain work,
is what makes all the difference in art.
—Dante Gabriel Rosetti

Art is art.
Everything else is everything else.
—Ad Reinhardt

It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance…
and I know of no substitute whatever
for the force and beauty of its process.
—Henry James

It's not what you look at that matters,
it's what you see.
—Henry David Thoreau

Primary Sources

The New Russian Literature Arrives

RUSSIA HAS ALWAYS FASCINATED THE WEST. Russia: sometime friend and frequent foe, Europe and Asia, home of militant atheism and spiritual depth, land of political extremism and literary genius.

Hidden for the West is how crucial this historical moment this is in the art and life of the Russian civilization, one of the world's great cultures. The Soviet and immediate post-Soviet generations had much in common, both obsessed with the heritage of the Soviet epoch. But now they are being displaced by a new generation, one for which the Soviet Union is mere history.

This generation has been raised in a new and different world, a Russia at once more and far less familiar to the West. They have a new set of hopes and fears, with different lives and aspirations. Theirs is a complex new Russia, one it is incumbent upon the West to understand.

Now this new generation of Russian writers comes to NYPL. Four young authors, finalists of the Debut Prize, read their works and discuss art and freedom in the world's most vast and volatile nation. Joining them is a leading figure in Russian letters, novelist and Debut coordinator Olga Slavnikova.

For over a decade, the Debut Prize has sought out young Russian-speaking literary talent the world over. Receiving as many as 70,000 submissions annually, Debut is a landmark in the Russian literary calendar. Come meet four of the prize's most exciting discoveries.