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Aleshkovsky's Post-Modern Treatment of the Soviet 'New-Man' and Soviet Reality

Title: Aleshkovsky's Post-Modern Treatment of the Soviet 'New-Man' and Soviet Reality.
Name(s): Wittman, Robert John, author
Efimov, Nina A., professor directing thesis
Wakamiya, Lisa Ryoko, 1969-, committee member
Romanchuk, Robert, committee member
Florida State University, degree granting institution
College of Arts and Sciences, degree granting college
Program in Interdisciplinary Humanities, degree granting department
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Master Thesis
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2018
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource (39 pages)
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: In Yuz Aleshkovsky's prose, the writer creates the literary image of the Soviet Union's 'new man' and his reflection on Soviet history. Representing the third wave of Russian Literature in immigration, Aleshkovsky published his samizdat works in the West. This thesis includes an in-depth coverage of three Aleshkovsky novels: The Hand and Kangaroo written in the Soviet Union and circulated in the underground, and A Ring in a Case, a work compiled and published in the United States which covers the intra-collapse era of the Soviet Regime. The goal of this argument is to explore through the prism of Bakhtin's carnival, Aleshkovsky's literary image of the 'new-man' versus the ordinary man as an alternative to the literary images of socialist realism; and discuss the depictions of history and historical figures as Aleshkovsky's post-modern response to the state-mandated socialist-realist aesthetic. In Aeshkovky's works the main protagonists suffer from the complication of sexual impotence. This artistic method provides Aleshkovsky the necessary framework to present his treatment of the theme of masculinity and how it was affected by the Soviet experiment, contrasting the 'new-man' with who is referred to as either a 'regular' or ordinary man. To depict the Soviet reality in which the 'new-man' lives, Aleshkovsky portrays Soviet history using mennipean satire. This thesis explicates Aleshkovsky's image of Soviet history by applying Mikhail Bakhtin's characteristics of the mennipea. This methodology illuminates how Aleshkovsky renders history as carnival, creating the inverted paradigm in which the grotesque and absurd allow the reader a truer depiction of the Soviet reality than any official history. Aleshkovsky's use of demonic imagery works to contradict the socialism and radicalism of the revolutionaries in his works. Those who created the Soviet state did so in service of the Ideal, Truth, and Purpose. They believed that their ends would justify their means. Portraying those who worked for the good of the people as demonic is the complete reversal of the official Party line, adding to Aleshkovsky's alternative yet parallel world omnipresent in his works. The absurdist depiction of the revolutionaries underscores Aleshkovsky's aversion to fanatical ideology, notably socialism. The man of the new type, being so possessed by the idea of historical necessity is concerned not with his own fate but the fate of the collective, and if the new-man is not concerned with his own fate how could he be with that of another? The men lack any sense of reason; unable to think for themselves, they believe to sit in prison is their duty in the building of socialism. To accomplish his rejection of the effects of communism on society and history within the Soviet Union and then the emerging Russian state, Aleshkovsky employs the literary devices of skaz and constructs a poetic, carnivalesque world in which the absurd and grotesque are more realistic depictions than any official history.
Identifier: 2018_Fall_Wittman_fsu_0071N_14953 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Thesis submitted to the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts.
Degree Awarded: Fall Semester 2018.
Date of Defense: November 16, 2018.
Keywords: absurd, Aleshkovsky, A Ring in a Case, Bakhtin, Kangaroo, The Hand
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Nina Efimov, Professor Directing Thesis; Lisa Wakamiya, Committee Member; Robert Romanchuk, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Slavic literature
Persistent Link to This Record:
Host Institution: FSU

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Wittman, R. J. (2018). Aleshkovsky's Post-Modern Treatment of the Soviet 'New-Man' and Soviet Reality. Retrieved from