Andrei Platonov: Uncertainties of Spirit (Cambridge Studies by Thomas Seifrid

By Thomas Seifrid

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 examine investigates the interrelation of subject matters, imagery, and using language in his prose. Thomas Seifrid indicates how Platonov used to be fairly prompted by way of Russian utopian considered the overdue 19th and early 20th centuries, and the way his global view used to be additionally formed by means of its implicit discussion with the "official" Soviet philosophy of Marxism-Leninism, and later with Stalinist utopianism.

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Extra resources for Andrei Platonov: Uncertainties of Spirit (Cambridge Studies in Russian Literature)

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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. The prose works that Platonov wrote from 1918-1924, most of them brief sketches published in the Voronezh newspapers to which he was also contributing articles and essays, reflect the eclectic reading of his early years.

What makes such a belief contradictory is that it hopes to derive a distinctly spiritual good from being's dependence on its material vessel (the overcoming of death is imagined as the rescuing of spirit from matter's domination, just as the unification of mankind in a single community is envisioned as restoring the moral and spiritual values lost to the workings of entropy). In other words Fedorov paradoxically seeks assurance for the restoration of spirit in an opposing doctrine of material determinism.

That experience accessible to the individual, and corresponding to the traditional category of idea, he termed "psychical," while "matter" in his definition was merely that "physical" form of experience accessible to the collective and constituted merely the sum of individual "psychical" experiences. The psychical and physical represented only different organizational levels, not different kinds of experience. Matter and idea thus turn out to be, not essences, but attributes of human subjectivity.

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