Abolishing Death: A Salvation Myth of Russian - download pdf or read online

By Irene Masing-Delic

ISBN-10: 0804719357

ISBN-13: 9780804719353

The belief of abolishing dying was once some of the most influential myth-making options expressed in Russian literature from 1900 to 1930, specially within the works of writers who attributed a "life-modeling" functionality to artwork. To them, artwork was once to create a existence so aesthetically geared up and excellent that immortality will be an inevitable final result. this concept used to be reflected within the considered a few who believed that the political revolution of 1917 might result in a revolution in easy existential proof: in particular, the assumption that communism and the accompanying strengthen of technology could finally be ready to bestow actual immortality and to resurrect the useless. in keeping with one version, for instance, the lifeless have been to be resurrected through extrapolation from the strains in their hard work left within the fabric international. the writer unearths the seeds of this awesome notion within the erosion of conventional faith in late-nineteenth-century Russia. prompted through the recent energy of medical inquiry, humankind appropriated quite a few divine attributes one by one, together with omnipotence and omniscience, yet finally even aiming towards the conclusion of person, actual immortality, and therefore intending to equality with God. Writers as varied because the "decadent" Fyodor Sologub, the "political" Maxim Gorky, and the "gothic" Nikolai Ognyov created works for making mortals into gods, reworking the uncooked fabrics of present fact into legend. The booklet first outlines the ideological context of the immortalization venture, significantly the effect of the philosophers Fyodorov and Solovyov. the rest of the publication comprises shut readings of texts via Sologub, Gorky, Blok, Ognyov, and Zabolotsky. Taken jointly, the works yield the "salvation application" that tells humans the way to abolish loss of life and dwell endlessly in an everlasting, self-created cosmos―gods of a legend that used to be made attainable via artistic artists, ingenious scientists, and encouraged employees.

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Masochistic impulses also played a legendary role in his life. 2 Stevenson once mused, with an uncharacteristic lapse of irony, that he R 1 The biographical account most alert to masochistic elements in this pilgrimage is Richard Holmes, Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer (1985; New York: Vintage, 1996), esp. pp. 38–58. 2 Good accounts are J. C. Furnas, Voyage to Windward: The Life of Robert Louis Stevenson (New York: William Sloane, 1951), pp. 151–75, and James Pope Hennessy, Robert Louis Stevenson (London: Jonathan Cape, 1974), pp.

I prefer to think of it as a rethinking of the relationship between self-negating practices and Victorian subjectivity, a relationship I tried to describe in that earlier book. I have come to recognize the rigidity of the libidinal model (drawn primarily from Georges Bataille) upon which my earlier work depended. I have had second thoughts, too, about the idealized form of social collectivity I endorsed— an idealization I used to critique what I described as antisocial models of desire in Victorian fiction (models that more recent criticism has elaborated in a variety of useful ways).

In their collaborative selfdestruction, the two characters could not represent magical and melancholic polarities more distinctly. James is a charismatic Machiavel, a brilliant performer and manipulator. ”12 His magical powers of self-invention are not limited by inner necessity; one character calls him “a man of pasteboard” (156).

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Abolishing Death: A Salvation Myth of Russian Twentieth-Century Literature by Irene Masing-Delic


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