This site is dedicated to Russian Literature as a philosophy. The
main objective of my site is inviting for conversation anyone who is amazed
by Russian Literature and keen on sharing his or her point of view within
the framework of the discussions proposed below. This means exchanging ideas
and hey, who knows, may be even developing joint projects on line but not
only... Sure, students are also very welcome...
Let’s start from the formal introduction… I'm Professor of philosophy,
PhD. Currently working for the Institute of Sociology of Russian Academy
of Science. My professional interest could be formulated like ‘Russian
Writer as an analyst of Russian Culture’. Hopefully it does not sound
way too complex and foggy. We shall talk more about later on… I have been
studying Russian Literature of XIX-XX-XXI centuries as a Philosophy
for more then 20 years and still enjoy it. Both in terms of research and teaching... The author of five
books and more then 100 papers
on theory and methodology of analysis of Russian Classics and Modern Literature.
My awards (Please, do not take those too seriously, but let’s accomplish
my formal introduction…) :
2002 Winner of the award "Silver Asyk" granted by Khazakhstan association
"Gold Age" and Literature and cultural journal "Tamyr" for a series of
articles on Russian and Khazakh literature
1994 Winner of the Central Europe University International Contest
on Philosophy for the methodology of analysis of the Russian society via
the logic of the Russian Literature. GRANT № 94ХCEUХRSS (Central
European University, Soros Fund)
Eighties Mongolian and Bulgarian medals for lecturing and organisational activities
1978 Honor medal of the University
of People's Friendship for lecturing
Research interests (details):
- Literature: nineteenth, twentieth and twenty first centuries including
Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Goncharov, Turgenev, Tolstoj, Dostoevskij,
Chekhov and Bulgakov as well as T. Tolstaya, V. Sorokin, V. Pelevin and V. Erofeev.
- Methodology of analysis via interface between culture (general) and
society (particular) or as I call this “sphere in between”
List of subjects proposed to discuss:
Subject of study - Russian culture in vision and interpretation
by Russian Writers; Russian Writer as an analyst of the Russian culture.
XIX century: Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Goncharov, L. Tolstoy, Dostoevsky.
XX century: Chekhov, Bulgakov. XXI century: Tolstaya, Sorokin, Pelevin, Erofeev. Literature and society. "Social" literature.
Russian Literature as social and cultural investigation of human reality.
Russian Literature as a social philosophy. Works of Russian Writers - cultural
wealth of Russia, a way of Russian man to go out of historically formed
cultural frames and a search for an adequate measure of this go out. The
central theme of Russian Literature - change of the type of the Russian
culture, the central problem - personality and social pathology in Russia.
Criticism of archaism of the Russian culture and search for a democratic
(liberal) alternative. Russian Writers: civil mission and sacrificing themselves
(examples from works of art and history of literature).
Methodology of study: social and cultural analysis. Three levels
of analysis: logic of development of culture/society (for example, Russia
of Pushkin epoch) from the viewpoint of a modern analyst (for example, a
pushkinist), logic of analysis of culture/society (for example, Russia of
Pushkin epoch) by a writer (for example, by Pushkin) from the viewpoint
of a modern analyst (for example, a pushkinist), logic of analysis of thinking
of a writer (for example, thinking of Puskin) by a modern analyst (for example,
by a pushkinist). Gravitation of the levels to identity via subjectivity
of an analyst. Method of dual oppositions. Culture as a transition. Interpenetration,
contradiction and menace of split between culture and Society. The conditional
"sphere in-between" to be stressed in order to understand culture
and Society via each other. Dynamics of the society in the "sphere
in between" as overcoming of duality (dualism) or as "sticking"
in a deadlock. Inversive "pendulum" between poles of a dual opposition
as a logic of deadlock social and cultural dynamics. Search of middle, mediation
("media" - lat. "middle") as a search of new quality,
a logic of development. Criticism of archaism of culture - lack of abiluty
(incapability) to change itself, to look for mediation and consequently
to adopt moral decisions. "Beast" of Novikov, "society, cursed
by God" of Fonvisin, "parody" on man, "invalid in love"
of Pushkin; "moral cripple", "unnecessary man" of Lermontov;
man "neither one thing nor the other", "dead souls"
of Gogol; "freaks" of Goncharov; "unfinished creature"
of Turgenev; "little man" and "demons" of Dostoevsky
to be understood via karamasovism, anguish; man uncapable to live of Chekhov;
"sharikovism" of Bulgakov; "golubchiki" and "pererozhdentsy"
of Tolstaya; "dungproducer" and "dungballpusher" of
Pelevin; "stuck clod" of Erofeev. Criticism of culture not as
its total destruction, but as a search for a new measure of its comprehention,
an alternative. Search of alternative via capacity of man to change himself,
to be a person and on this basis to adopt moral decisions: Cherkeshenka,
Tatiana, Motsart, Valsingam, Samozvanets, Tazit, Prorok, Poet of Pushkin;
Demon, Prorok, Poet of Lermontov; Jesus, Laugh of Gogol; Shtolts, Olga,
Vera, Tushin of Goncharov; Solomin of Turgenev; Voland, master, Margarita,
professor Preobrazhensky of Bulgakov; Lisa-oboroten (Fox-werewolf) of Pelevin;
Benedict of Tolstaya. Humanisation of culture via capacity of man to form
himself as a person (Analyses of works of writers).
A. S. Pushkin. Analysis of works. Criticism of arkhaism of culture
("parody" on man, "invalid" in love), search for an
alternative. Transition from enlightenment (XVIII century - Krilov, Fonvisin)
to analysis of human reality via sense of person. Thinking by meanings.
Logic of dual oppositions, for example, "mortality - immortality",
"truth - deception", "sense - senselessness", "hapiness
- misfortune" and others. Love and death as measures of capacity to
be a person. Search of new sense of divinity in capacity of a person to
search new. Synthesis of divine and profane in capacity of a person to create.
M. Y. Lermontov. Analysis of works. Criticism of cultural arkhaism:
theomachism of Lermontov. Logic of challenge to God: "You are to blame".
The ruin of the attempt of Russian man to change himself (logic of image
of Pechorin) and the result of this ruin for the Russian culture ("Duma",
"Prorok"). Search of an alternative: search of truth - in merging
wih nature, joining God, searching justice, in capacity to be a poet and
person. Search of new sense of divinity. Love as synthesis of transcendent
and immanent in personal. Capacity to love as a basis for renewal of the
essense of human and forming person. Image of Demon. Russian Literature
of XXI сentury: Lermontov renessaince in analysis of Russian culture.
N. V. Gogol. Analysis of works. Criticism of cultural arkhaism: analysis
of man "neither one thing nor the other", "dead souls"
and the basic question of Russian culture. Search of an alternative: "Vybrannye
mesta iz perepiski s druziami", specific of religiousness of Gogol,
Jesus-teacher, Jesus-businessman, Jesus-love. Protection of right of individual
search for God. Laughter as a way to search sense of person. Split between
salvation of his soul via writing creature (he studied it from Jesus-analyst
of souls) and refusal from writing (for salvation of his soul in the heaven).
Division of Gogol between God (sense of generous) and Jesus (sense of particular,
creative), tragedy of his death. Popullist sense of thestory of "Shinel".
Russian literature of XXI century - the end of the epoch of "shinelemania".
I. A. Goncharov. Analysis of works. Criticism of cultural arkhaism:
analysis of "young ignoramus", "freaks" - an artist
who cannot draw, a lover who demands all from woman and cannot serve at
her, a revolutionary who ruins life for the sake of "huge future",
a man who doesn't want to clash with life and prefer living his life on
a sofa. Search of an alternative: sense of the call of german Shtolts to
russian Oblomov: "Get out of this mire!". Love as an alternative.
Business-like style of life as an alternative. An expirience of social and
cultural reconstruction of Goncharov's historiosophy..
I. S. Turgenev. Analysis of works. Works of Turgenev as a witness
of the catastrophy of the generation of the 40-50-th years of the XIX-th
century. Criticism of cultural arkhaism: analysis of uneffective, splitted,
outdated nobility (gentry) and of a pathologically splitted generation of
new people and revolutionaries. Russian people as a "sleepyhead"
and "beast of prey". Russia doesn't need revolution. Search of
an alternative. Sense of person. Sense of love. Turgenev-style woman. Search
of a new sense of divine: "I want truth, not salvation". Social
program of Turgenev: it's necessary to develop basis for democratic relations.
Solomin as an alternative
L. N. Tolstoy. Analysis of works. Discrepancy of crutucism of arkhaism
and search for an alternative: antichurch rebellion and godseeking, criticism
of the formed culture, the ideal of joining nature, adoption of "simple
life", populism. Two ways of interpretation of sense of love: love
as God and love as between man and woman ("War and Peace"). Catastrophy
of love as a catastrophy of freedom in Russia and a result of vagueness
of ways of development of person ("Anna Karenina"). Tolstoy and
the Russian revolution. Godseeking Tolstoy's ideas in works of modern writers
- Pelevin, Erofeev and T. Tolstaya.
F. M. Dostoevsky. Analysis of works. Criticism of cultural arkhaism
as analysis of cultural specifics of Russia: "little man", underground
man, steretypes of localism, dictator and slave, inversion logic of thinking,
mythological consciousness, division of people in "we" and "they",
inferiority comlex, complexes of offence, revenge, violance, destruction
and revolution. "Little man" versus great society. Fenomenon of
"sticking" of the Russian culture. Search of alternative: love
and belief as ways of resolving internal contradictions.
A. P. Chekhov. Analysis of works. Criticism of cultural arkhaism:
man incapable of adopting any decision and therefore living. Transition
from criticism of reasons of arkhaism of the Russian culture (Pushkin, Lermontov,
Dostoevsky) to criticism of incapability of russian man to understand reasons
of his incapability to undestand sense of arkhaism. Absolute fatalism of
Chekhov and "nonfatal" fatalism of Lermontov. Non-alternative
way of thinking of Chekhov.
M. A. Bulgakov. Analysis of works. Criticism of cultural arkhaism
and search of an alternative. Personality and social pathology - the central
problem of creature. Master and Margaret - symbols of creativity and love
in a society that is capable neither of creative work nor love. Personality
and problem of religion and moral. Poet Ivan as a symbol of grey creation.
Logic of conflict between communitarianism (culture) and personality in
the "Dog's heart". Voland as a carrier of godman-like. Call for
change of Russian culture. Non-political liberalism of Bulgakov's creature.
Modern Russian Literature
V. Pelevin. Analysis of works. Novels of "Numbers",
"Life of insects", "Chapaev and Emptiness", "Holy
book of werewolf", stories of "Ukhriab", "Problem of
werewolf in the Middle area", "Weapon of retribution" and
others. Criticism of arkhaism of the Russian people, the Russian culture,
the Russian society, the Russian interpretation of God and the Russian moral.
Search of an alternative: escaping from the Russian culture... to the Russian
culture. Is the alternative in misticism or in modernisation of capacities
of man? Postmodernism and criticism of postmodernism. Freidism. Criticism
of cultural arkhaism. Non-political liberalism of Pelevin.
T. Tolstaya. Analysis of the novel of "Kys". Criticism
of the people. Arkhaisation of the Russian culture in the period of the
soviet power and in the 90-ths of the XX-th century. Fright and selfdestruction
as the essense of the Russian culture. Incapability of Russian man to understand
the essense of development of culture. Benedict as a symbol of capacity
of Russian man to reinterpret his cultural foundations and a symbol of that
Russian man is at the very beginning of its cultural development. The central
idea of the search of an alternative: social uneffectiveness of the Russian
liberalism but Russia has no other way of development except liberal idea.
V. Erofeev. Analysis of the novel of "Enciclopediya russkoi
dushi". A stuck culture. Erofeev and Dostoevsky. Erofeev and God. Criticism
of the people. The Russians are guilty of being Russians, Russia is guilty
of being Russia. Lermontov renessaince in analysis of the Russian culture.
Sense of the Pushkin-Lermontov alternative in the Russian culture.
V. Sorokin. The novels of "Norma", "Put Bro",
"Goluboe salo". Scenario of the opera of "Deti of Rosental".
Stories. Analysis of biological nature of man. Criticism of life as it is
arranged in Russia and as it is. Ordinary "oursism". Escape from
complication of life. World revolution in interpretation of Sorokin.