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Title: Liberation and the authority of the writer in the Russian, Czech and Slovak fiction of the Changes
Author: Chitnis, Rajendra Anand
ISNI:       0000 0001 0877 2126
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2003
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This dissertation represents the first comparative study of works by the 'writers of the Changes', those Russian, Czech and Slovak writers who, in the late 1980s and 1990s, presented themselves as 'liberators' of literature from its traditional function in Russian, Czech and Slovak culture as the ultimate authority on how to live. The 'fiction of the Changes' at once asserts the surrender of this position of authority and contemplates its consequences. In the introduction, the 'fiction of the Changes' is placed in the context of a longer retreat from this position of authority in sanctioned fiction. Chapter 1 compares novels by Venedikt Erofeev, Hrabal and Vilikovsky which reflect the defeat of literature's attempts to perfect the human being and the writer's desire no longer to be implicated in such attempts. In the works by Evgenii Popov, Placak and Pistemek discussed in Chapter 2, the writer ceases to be the voice of the collective, instead asserting his freedom to 'give shape to his fate'. Writing which no longer seeks to perpetuate the accepted shape of the external world, represents for Ivanchenko, Tolstaia and Mitana, discussed in Chapter 3, a futile but necessary escapism from existence. However, for Ajvaz, Hodrov Kratochvil and Jhym Topol, discussed in Chapter 4, it represents the energy of being as it passes. In Chapter 5, the aspiration to meaning in writing is, for Kolenic and litv futile, and for Sorokin, indicates a harmful desire for power that must be thwarted. Chapter 6 argues that, while Pelevin and Balia reject this defeat of creativity, Kahuda rejects the sentimental attachment to writing as to being in other Czech fiction of the Changes. The conclusion divides the writers of the Changes between those who 'fear speaking' and those who 'fear stopping speaking', and suggests how the writers of the Changes have sought to reconcile these positions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available