By R. Chitnis
This publication considers Russian, Czech and Slovak fiction within the past due communist and early post-communist sessions. It makes a speciality of the main leading edge pattern to emerge during this interval, on these writers who, in the course of and after the cave in of communism, characterized themselves as 'liberators' of literature. It indicates how those writers of their fiction and important paintings reacted opposed to the politicisation of literature by means of Marxist-Leninist and dissident ideologues, rejecting the normal belief of literature as ethical instructor, and redefining the character and goal of writing. The booklet demonstrates how this quest, enacted within the works of those writers, served for lots of critics and readers as a metaphor for the broader disorientation and trouble induced by means of the cave in of communism.
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Additional info for Literature in Post-Communist Russia and Eastern Europe: The Russian, Czech and Slovak Fiction of the Changes 1988-98 (Basees Curzon Series on Russian & East European Studies)
In P’íliš hlu‹ná samota, the young workers who operate the enormous new hydraulic press which will put Ha£t’a out of work drink milk, not beer, reflecting 30 Deaths of authors the fact that the process of modernization in the novel is the pursuit of whiteness, the eradication of stains. The epigraph to Hrabal’s novel is taken from Goethe’s Faust: ‘Only the sun has a right to its spots’. Stains in the work indicate the inherent imperfection of human beings, symbolizing the sin which caused them to be cast from Paradise.
In Tane‹ní hodiny, where the narrator is also an old man reminiscing about the period before and after 1918, Hrabal constructs the narrator’s monologue from what Susanne Roth calls a ‘literary montage’ of quotations and allusions, outside which the narrator has no existence. Sylvia Richterová writes: ‘The characters in Hrabal’s stories live to speak, because they speak, to the extent that they speak and thanks to the fact that they are spoken about’ (Richterová 1991: 76). This strategy is replicated by Vilikovský in Ve‹ne je zelený…, in which the narrator’s monologue is a patchwork of quotations not only from works of ‘high literature’, but also from political and advertising slogans, psychoanalytical and political texts, ‘manuals, travelogues, recipe books, popular science and even rhetorical declamations, in which our hero so clearly delights’ (Zajac 1989a: 5).
He writes: Postmodernism demonstrates a major artistic and philosophical attempt to overcome the binary opposition of chaos and cosmos, which is fundamental for classical and modernist types of culture, and to redirect the creative impulse toward a compromise between these universals […]. Rather than resolving contradictions, [postmodernist compromises] lead to a new intellectual space for the constant interaction of binary oppositions. Of course, such a space cannot help but be the source of new conflicts and new contradictions; yet such constant interaction is also the inexhaustible source of new artistic and philosophical meaning.