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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 learn investigates the interrelation of issues, imagery, and using language in his prose. Thomas Seifrid indicates how Platonov was once quite encouraged through 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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Additional info for Andrei Platonov: Uncertainties of Spirit

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7 The most telling and idiosyncratic manifestation of this concern, however, can be found in Platonov's preoccupation with the individual physical body as the direct experiencer of ontological conflict and even the primary site on which the struggle between the universe's antinomies is engaged. A preoccupation with the life of the body, particularly in its unsavory or grotesque aspects, figures prominently in Platonov's thought from the very beginning of his career. In the discussions of consciousness and matter in history, for example, what might be called "the events of the body" are held up as evidence for the larger issues at stake, typically in the course of describing some generalized " m a n " whose experiences soon acquire a pathetic specificity.

As several scholars have shown, Platonov was receptive to a wide range of philosophical influences. Two thinkers, however, influenced him so extensively that a discussion of their ideas is essential to an understanding of his works. The first is N. F. Fedorov (i 828-1903), an eccentric ascetic who for many years worked as a cataloguer in the library of the Rumiantsev museum (now the Lenin Library) and whose blend of positivist faith in the powers of science with the eschatological yearnings of Russian religious thought attracted a variety of Russian writers and thinkers from Dostoevsky and Solov'ev to Bogdanov, Maiakovskii, and Zabolotskii.

Platonov's claim to modernist qualities rests principally on the striking deformations to which he subjects the Russian language (in works of roughly the mid 1920s to the early 1930s), and on the fact that he does so in the course of narrating a series of often bizarre events within a loose, anti-novelistic form. But Platonov hardly qualifies as a modernist in the effete, aestheticist sense that applies to a Joyce, a Belyi, or even a Khlebnikov (he was, after all, a writer of genuinely proletarian origins from an inauspicious cultural background - a fact of which he was himself keenly aware) and there is little in his works to suggest that their verbal peculiarities arise out of a self-conscious, avant-gardiste assault on linguistic and artistic convention.

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