Andrei Platonov: Uncertainties of Spirit by Thomas Seifrid PDF

By Thomas Seifrid

The Soviet author Andrei Platonov (1899-1951) belongs to a Russian philosophical culture that comes with such figures as Vladimir Solov'ev, Mikhail Bakhtin, and Boris Pasternak. This learn investigates the interrelation of topics, imagery, and using language in his prose. Thomas Seifrid indicates how Platonov was once fairly encouraged by way of Russian utopian considered the overdue 19th and early 20th centuries, and the way his global view used to be additionally formed by way of its implicit discussion with the "official" Soviet philosophy of Marxism-Leninism, and later with Stalinist utopianism.

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Additional info for Andrei Platonov: Uncertainties of Spirit

Sample text

Two thinkers, however, influenced him so extensively that a discussion of their ideas is essential to an understanding of his works. The first is N. F. Fedorov (i 828-1903), an eccentric ascetic who for many years worked as a cataloguer in the library of the Rumiantsev museum (now the Lenin Library) and whose blend of positivist faith in the powers of science with the eschatological yearnings of Russian religious thought attracted a variety of Russian writers and thinkers from Dostoevsky and Solov'ev to Bogdanov, Maiakovskii, and Zabolotskii.

But the notion of resurrecting "being" by recreating its physical form foregrounds the "vulgar" materialism of Fedorov's thought: 24 Andrei Platonov the belief that an act performed on matter can directly cause the restoration of spirit. " What makes such a belief contradictory is that it hopes to derive a distinctly spiritual good from being's dependence on its material vessel (the overcoming of death is imagined as the rescuing of spirit from matter's domination, just as the unification of mankind in a single community is envisioned as restoring the moral and spiritual values lost to the workings of entropy).

No literary sophisticate tutored in the style of an elevated model, Platonov drew seemingly ad hoc on a variety of genres in the minor tradition of the grotesque or at the fringe of the Russian literary canon — Gogol's Ukranian tales, the satires of Leskov and SaltykovShchedrin, as well as folktales, the chronicles, science fiction, and Cosmist poetry — an eclectic tendency that has led some critics to speak of the "many-sidedness" of his Voronezh period and the "impressionability" (vospriimchivosf) of the author himself, who was impressed by such disparate sources (for example, Eidinova, " K tvorcheskoi biografii A.

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