Literature in Post-Communist Russia and Eastern Europe: The by R. Chitnis

By R. Chitnis

This ebook considers Russian, Czech and Slovak fiction within the past due communist and early post-communist classes. It makes a speciality of the main cutting edge pattern to emerge during this interval, on these writers who, in the course of and after the cave in of communism, characterized themselves as 'liberators' of literature. It indicates how those writers of their fiction and important paintings reacted opposed to the politicisation of literature via Marxist-Leninist and dissident ideologues, rejecting the traditional belief of literature as ethical instructor, and redefining the character and function of writing. The e-book demonstrates how this quest, enacted within the works of those writers, served for plenty of critics and readers as a metaphor for the broader disorientation and concern triggered via the cave in of communism.

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Extra resources for Literature in Post-Communist Russia and Eastern Europe: The Russian, Czech and Slovak Fiction of the Changes 1988-98 (Basees Curzon Series on Russian & East European Studies)

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These differences arise not because Soviet literature functioned in an essentially different way from Western literature, but because Soviet writers were not allowed to experiment with style or express their political opinions openly. These restrictions did not, however, prevent Soviet writers from taking recourse to the same postmodern figures of thought as their Western counterparts. ) Eshelman suggests that mainstream sanctioned fiction, by failing in its attempts to repair or reconstitute the Marxist-Leninist ‘grand narrative’, constitutes the first stage in the development of a peculiarly Russian ‘postmodernism’.

Ji’í Holý, however, notes the proximity of the novel’s themes and motifs to the works of writers from the 1980s underground (see Lehár et al. 1998: 860). Moskva–Petushki and P’ íliš hlu‹ná samota have both been associated by critics with the mood of despair among intellectuals following the Warsaw Pact intervention in Czechoslovakia in August 1968, which Mark Lipovetskii and Konstantin Kustanovich, following a general tendency, suggest marked the symbolic end of hope not only in Czechoslovakia, but also in the Soviet Union (see Kustanovich 1997: 132 and Lipovetskii 1999a: 5).

The effacement of the spiritual dimension to existence is reflected in the treatment of Ha£t’a, who, with the advent of the new machine, is sacked from his job in the cellar and given the task of packing the blank paper. The process of modernization invades and destroys his ‘too loud a solitude’, leaving him to contemplate suicide. Vilikovský’s fiction is also marked by what Pynsent calls ‘despair at the contemporary lack of spirituality’ (Pynsent 1990: 126). Vilikovský’s treatment of the theme in Ve‹ne je zelený…, however, differs from that of Erofeev and Hrabal in Moskva–Petushki and P’íliš hlu‹ná samota in that this lack of spirituality is not opposed, but rather embodied by the narrator, an old man recounting his adventures as a spy in Central Europe before and after the First World War.

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