A memorable time : the prose of Vladimir Makanin, 1987-1995
Spanning over three decades, the prose of Vladimir Makanin bears witness to the extraordinary changes SovietlRussian society and literature have undergone, and to which he, as a writer, has been continually exposed. The focus of the thesis is Makanin's abiding concern with the condition of man; man as individual and man as a collective term. The position of man in time (contemporaneity), out of time (the eternal memory of man), and through time (the past, present and future). Despite this apparent central concern, the author's prose is constantly changing, and what seemed previously to be absolutes are subverted. In this unstable environment the author continually expresses the reality in which he perceives man to be, until the concepts of 'reality' and the nature of 'man' are themselves destabilised. Chapter 1 provides an introductory overview of Makanin' s literary career and critical reception. The five core chapters examine different presentations of man's condition. Chapter 2 discusses the tension of the individual amongst the collective, with particular emphasis on the spatial representation of this dilemma. The third chapter is an examination of the incorporation of parables, myths and legends, revealing attempts to depict a 'higher reality' and also the author's means of overcoming socialist realism's censorship constraints. In Chapter 4, the author's concept of 'genetic memory' is considered as a temporal and spatial construct for examining man's individuality and condition in contemporary society. This chapter additionally highlights the author's move from his early social realist depictions revealed in the first two chapters, to his later interest in Russian postmodern theories found in the following two chapters. In Chapters 5 and 6 Makanin's ideas on narrative, history, and man's postmodern condition are analysed. The final text to be discussed, Kavkazskii plennyi, is examined as an innovation in Makanin's philosophy and postmodem prose.