Boris Pil'niak and the crisis of subjectivity : an intertextual approach
By demonstrating the limitations of selected models of intepretation employed to date in the analysis of the works of Boris Pil'niak, this thesis explores the role of the subject both as textual protagonist and reader, recasting the texts under discussion as expressions of both the nature of the dual status of the individual as both object and subject, and the attempt to come to terms with this condition. In so doing it draws on a variety of intertextual sources. Chapter I is devoted to an appraisal of the value of inter-media modelling in the light of the concept of Modernism, and chapters 2 to 5 investigate further aspects of modelling both in terms of analytical strategy, and the fictionalization of personal existence. Chapter 2, through an analysis of Iseldia zhizn', introduces the question of the inescapability of subjectivity in the compulsive modelling process. Chapter 3, devoted to Ivan-da-Maria, exposes the frustration that inheres in the incommunicability of subjectivity, and chapter 4, through the medium of Tretia stolitsa, discusses the question of isolation that is a function of that incommunicability. The analysis of Ivan Moskva which comprises Chapter 5 explores the nature of the exertion required to construct a viable, objectifying model of existence, and the consequences of the degradation of the will to maintain faith in it. Chapter 6 expands on the limitations of language in the process of communication, self-determination and integration. Using Heidegger's concept of inauthentic existence as a descriptive tool, the thesis concludes that, although the diagnosis of inauthenticity is appropriate to the mode of existence portrayed in the texts discussed, textually there is no viable alternative, and existence can be prosecuted only through a personal illusion of objectivity.