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Title: Textual fragmentation as a response to time in Russian modernist prose after the Revolution
Author: Sykes, Timothy Martin James
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2006
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The starting point of this thesis is the hitherto under-explored relationship between Russian apocalypticism and formal fragmentation in Russian literary modernism, both prominent in an early twentiem-century climate of heightened religiosity and aestheticism. The project borrows Joseph Frank's theory of 'spatial form', which demonstrates how a text's temporal coordinate is suppressed by disruption of order, and postulates that this technique stems from the modern mood of existential crisis, attracted to the otherworldly and timeless. This analysis encounters more concrete resonances when applied to the eschatological perceptions of time and aspirations for religious experience via art in contemporary Russia. The project focuses on post-Revolutionary prose, taking Babel"s Konarmiia, Platonov's Chevengur and Zoshchenko's Pered voskhodom solntsa as case studies. Given that the Revolution was widely depicted as an apocalyptic end, the subsequent 'post-apocalyptic' condition raises narratological and philosophical problems for texts, such as these, that engage with inherited, transformative models. Although the eschatological paradigm continues to play a crucial part in understanding the Revolution, it is inevitably affected by the passage of the purported End from future into past, as well as by the need to incorporate an atheistic twist into a myth deeply rooted in Orthodox Christian traditions. Such redefinitions of the apocalyptic paradigm can also be manifested in textual fragmentation. In this context the project draws on Frank Kermode's description of how increased non-linearity in narrative structures reflects a rise in the complexity of experience and scepticism toward the biblically-derived narrative, with an absolute beginning and end. Kermode thus offers an alternative to Frank's theory. Together, the two provide a framework for exploring the extents to which the collision of Russian messianism with the Revolution is experienced by modernist writers as a transcendent moment of timelessness, or a stimulus to deconstruct the paradigm.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available