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Carnivalization and Populism in the Central Work of Andrei Platonov

  • Craig Brandist
Part of the St Antony’s Series book series

Abstract

After years of obscurity both in his homeland and abroad, the central works of Andrei Platonov have in recent years achieved the status of some of the most important literary works of the early Soviet period. This has happened despite a use of language that has become notorious for its apparent untranslatability, novels and stories that are normally considered relentlessly gloomy, and philosophical ideas that are nothing if not obscure. Platonov is, therefore, by any standards an oddity in Russian literature and he certainly does not fit easily within the group of carnivalesque writers we are discussing. Nevertheless, Platonov illustrates certain facets of the specifically Soviet adaptation of the carnivalesque better than almost any other writer, revealing with special thoroughness the link between popular culture and the struggle for hegemony. Furthermore, his central work coincides with the First Five-Year Plan, which is taken as the theme of the work, and responds to the effects of that momentous reorientation of Soviet society with great sensitivity. For the sake of economy and to illustrate most clearly our thesis we shall examine only two of the writer’s many works: the 1929 short story Ycomhubwuucr Maκp (Doubtful Makar) and the 1929–30 novella Komлobaн (The Excavation) which, despite their temporal proximity, reveal very different approaches to both the problem of ‘socialist construction’ and the dichotomy between official and popular cultures.

Keywords

Popular Culture Minus Scientes Official Discourse Soviet Society Official Ideology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 5.
    A. Teskey, Platonov and Fyodorov (Avebury, Amersham, 1982), p. 10.Google Scholar
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    On carnival as a ‘critical Utopia’, see Michael Gardiner, ‘Bakhtin’s Carnival: Utopia as Critique’, in Bakhtin Carnival and Other Subjects, ed. David Shepherd (Rodopi, Amsterdam, 1993), pp. 30–8.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Craig Brandist 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Craig Brandist
    • 1
  1. 1.St Antony’s CollegeUniversity of OxfordUK

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