Virtual Ducklings and Vampire Bats: The Literary Monsters of Putin’s Russia

6 February 2008, 17:00 - 19:00

CRASSH

Dr Oliver Ready and Dr Sander Brouwer

Dr Oliver Ready (University of Oxford) - Dmitrii Galkovskii's "Beskonechnyi tupik": A Study in Failure

Beskonechnyi tupik is described by its author as a 'philosophical novel'. It consists of almost 700 densely printed outsize pages and is subdivided into 949 inter-linked fragments which are devoted to autobiographical, literary and philosophical themes, as well as to extensive quotations from a range of thinkers and writers (Rozanov, Lenin, Nabokov and many others). Completed in 1988, the book was first published in full only in 1997, and has been widely acknowledged as one of the most significant Russian literary events of the last decade, both on the page and as a 'hypertext' on the Internet, where Galkovskii has maintained a very high profile. I will be discussing the unusual structure of the work, and the various features of the tupik in which Galkovskii locates Russian language, Russian thought and his autobiographical persona, Odinokov.

 

Beskonechnyi tupik may be read as a 'hypertext' at http://samisdat.com., as may Galkovskii’s other works.

 

Galkovskii’s blog on Live Journal can be read at: http://galkovskii.livejournal. com/.

 

For a selection of critical responses to Beskonechnyi tupik, see I.S. Skoropanova, Russkaia postmodernistskaia literatura: Uchebnoe posobie, 4th rev. edn (Moscow: Flint, 2002), pp. 441-65.

 

Dr Sander Brouwer (University of Groningen) - What Is It Like To Be a Bat-Author?

In his last novel Empire "V" (2006), Pelevin uses Goth elements for a vicious satire of Putin’s Russia (not coincidentally described as a "gothic society" by Dina Khapaeva). At the same time, Goth imagery allows him to develop his familiar theme of problematical identity into a meta-narrative: whereas ordinary humans in his fictional world use language to create the illusion of 'reality', the I-narrator, a vampire, looks into their minds by using his bat tongue (Russian 'iazyk' = 1. tongue 2. language). But what are we readers doing when we taste his language and enter his world? How does a Russian postmodern author, trapped in language, speak up? Reference will also be made to Vladimir Sorokin's Day of an Oprichnik (2006).

 

 

Most of Pelevin's work and quite a few reviews can be found on: http://pelevin.nov.ru/. Empire “V” http://slil.ru/23242606.

 

See also: Sorokin's site: http://srkn.ru and Day of an Oprichnik: http://lib.aldebaran.ru/author/ sorokin_vladimir/ sorokin_vladimir_den_oprichnika/.

 

Äèíà Õàïàåâà, Ãîòè÷åñêîå îáùåñòâî: ìîðôîëîãèÿ êîøìàðà. – Ìîñêâà: Íîâîå ëèòåðàòóðíîå îáîçðåíèå, 2007 (Áèáëèîòåêà æóðíàëà «Íåïðèêîñíîâåííûé çàïàñ»).

 

Goth. Undead Subculture. Ed by Lauren M.E. Goodlad and Michael Bibby. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2007.

 

This event is part of the Contemporary Russian Culture Studies Group Seminar series.

Meetings are held on alternate Wednesdays during term-time, 5pm to 7.00pm at CRASSH.

All welcome.  No registration require