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Mythopoetics and Intertextuality of postrevolutionary Soviet Literature

Maria Levtchenko

The present dissertation called "Mythopoetics and Intertextuality of postrevolutionary Soviet Literature" is dedicated to the most complex aspects of the problem of correlations between myth and literature which is raised by literary theorists since the 50-s. This kind of textual interpretation as a probable way to adecuate definition of literature appears in russian philology in the 70-s on the crossroads of several paradigms of humanities. Sharing the basic features of poststructuralism, Mythopoetical criticism goes to use practically some methodological orientations of contemporary linguistics, semiotics and the study of culture. This approach to text helps to describe the level of deep semantics which remains inaccesible for traditional literary history. Nevertheless, some traits of this method seem to be strange and doubtful, because it principally chooses innovative way of interpretation. That's why Mythopoetical criticism became very fruitful for many scholars of russian literature in their intentions to leave the obsolete schemes of analysis. The famous representatives of Mythopoetics are both in the Western scholarship (for example, Erzy Faryno, Wolf Schmid, Aage Hansen-Love, Igor Smirnov, Mikhail Weiskopf) and in the Russian (such as Vladimir Toporov as a predecessor of the movement and several scholars of youngest generation - Goncharov family, Tupa & so on). In my opinion it's necessary to grasp the whole circle of Mythopoetical questions in historical, typological and practical aspect. It is a common purpose of the 1'st part.

Althoguh this trend of criticism is rich of different practical analyses of singular texts, there is no any hint on a strict theoretical conception, which could form the basis of all. In this sense there will be useful to examine the history of method's development, because it was extremely eclective from the very beginning. The first part of my work is dedicated to the historical survey of methodology and its evolution.

The second part presents an attempt of practical adaptation of theoretical constructions to the concrete material. For this procedure I've chosen the material of Soviet Literature in the twenties and early thirties. Regularity of my choise is accounted for very special type of conciousness in early Soviet culture which revived some archaical models in modern context very actively. As it is known, the poetry of this period is more rare object of literary studies against the so-called Socialist Realism of the 30 - 40-s. In the second part of dissertation I decide to examine a lowest, or, speaking more exactly, basic mythopoetical level of the texts including key-motives and universal structures of plot.

Let me enumerate my objects of interpretation. There are proletarian poetry of the 20-s and fragmentary of the 30-s; the long poem "The Land of Muravia" by Alexander Tvardovsky; short stories by Andrei Platonov and the novel-in-verse "PUSHTORG" by llya Selvinsky. I tried to organize this material typologically in order to envelop all basic spheres where mythopoetical elements are function. The purpose of my study is to emphasize the basic mythopoetical extracts in Soviet Literature of the mentioned period, to find semantic universals similar to archaic models.

Further, I'd like to mark out some derivates of the most widespread scenario in traditional society - I mean the ritual of passage from one world to another displayed in the many encoding structures. In present work there are three incarnations of this plot - namely vegetative, animalistic, industrial. This mythological scenario sets out as a substitute of Revolution, the central event of the epoch and its turning point. Early Soviet poets accept and describe Revolution as a momentary destruction of the old world and immediate creation of the new. That's why the models of mythological consciousness, especially, cosmogonical plots, become actual in the process of writing.

Of course, this range of objects is not full and exhausted, but at least it gives all basic notions of the literary tendencies of the studied period. I hope that topic of my dissertation could open some new perspectives in the study of soviet literature without ideological pressure outside.


Part one. Mythopoetical approach to literary text.

Chapter 1. On Evolution of contemporary definitions of myth

1. Studies in Folklore and Ethnography in the second half of XIX century.

2. The Ritual-Mythological School in the Stusy of Literature.

3. The Structural Study of Myth and Folklore.

4. Russian "Semantic" School

5. Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics.

Chapter 2. Basic principles of the mythopoetical study of text.

1. Basic conceptions

2. Intertextuality and mythopoetics

Part Two. Mythopoetics and Intertextuality in Soviet Poetry of the 20-s.

Chapter 1. Ritual and Myth in Soviet Poetry. An Introduction.

Chapter 2. Mythological plot. The long poem "The Land of Muravia" by Tvardovsky and traditional agrarian cycles.

Chapter 3. Mythopoetics and Ideology. The problem of plot stereotype in Platonov's prose.

Chapter 4. Intertextuality and Mythopoetics. "PUSHTORG", The novel-in-verse by Ilya Selvinsky.

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