By Thomas Seifrid

ISBN-10: 0511519648

ISBN-13: 9780511519642

ISBN-10: 052102675X

ISBN-13: 9780521026758

ISBN-10: 052140522X

ISBN-13: 9780521405225

The Soviet author Andrei Platonov (1899-1951) belongs to a Russian philosophical culture that incorporates such figures as Vladimir Solov'ev, Mikhail Bakhtin, and Boris Pasternak. This research investigates the interrelation of issues, imagery, and using language in his prose. Thomas Seifrid exhibits how Platonov used to be fairly encouraged via Russian utopian considered the overdue 19th and early 20th centuries, and the way his global view used to be additionally formed by way of its implicit discussion with the "official" Soviet philosophy of Marxism-Leninism, and later with Stalinist utopianism.

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Sample text

Volchek is troubled by the same pained awareness of existence as the narrator, appearing more human than dog because he "lived and thought like all people... Like me, he couldn't understand and couldn't rest from his thoughts and from life" (21). What troubles Volchek in particular is his timid nature, which causes him to shy away from the kind of gross indulgence of his physical self in sex and procreation vilified in Fedorov's writings as a hindrance to Utopia. The local dogs all fight over a bitch named Chaika whenever she comes into heat, but Volchek feels no such desire because he is constitutionally incapable of aggression.

The well-known "pessimism" of the later works would instead appear to derive from the fundamental complexity of Platonov's world view, not merely from disenchantment with developments in Soviet society. Though the early writings, and the journalism in particular, differ from those later works by juxtaposing to their expressions of doubt militant proclamations that the age of "consciousness" will indeed arrive, their waverings nonetheless prefigure the failure to which Utopian endeavors routinely succumb in works like "Epifanskie shliuzy," Chevengur, and Kotlovan.

These assumptions are exemplified in Fedorov's notion of how, exactly, the resurrection of the dead would be accomplished. Fedorov believed the literal resurrection of the body would be possible once science had mastered all the mysteries of man's physical and metaphysical being. Following preparatory work on the creation of a "new" body, in which an encyclopedic knowledge of all the "metamorphoses of matter" would enable man to replace his ailing parts with prosthetic organs, science would master the technique of reviving the recently deceased.

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Andrei Platonov: Uncertainties of Spirit by Thomas Seifrid

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