Abolishing Death: A Salvation Myth of Russian by Irene Masing-Delic

By Irene Masing-Delic

The belief of abolishing loss of life was once probably the most influential myth-making ideas expressed in Russian literature from 1900 to 1930, particularly within the works of writers who attributed a "life-modeling" functionality to artwork. To them, artwork used to be to create a existence so aesthetically prepared and ideal that immortality will be an inevitable final result. this concept used to be reflected within the considered a few who believed that the political revolution of 1917 might result in a revolution in easy existential proof: in particular, the assumption that communism and the accompanying increase of technology might eventually be capable of bestow actual immortality and to resurrect the useless. in accordance with one version, for instance, the useless have been to be resurrected through extrapolation from the lines in their exertions left within the fabric international. the writer reveals the seeds of this striking thought within the erosion of conventional faith in late-nineteenth-century Russia. stimulated through the recent energy of medical inquiry, humankind appropriated a variety of divine attributes one by one, together with omnipotence and omniscience, yet ultimately even aiming towards the conclusion of person, actual immortality, and therefore meaning to equality with God. Writers as various because the "decadent" Fyodor Sologub, the "political" Maxim Gorky, and the "gothic" Nikolai Ognyov created works for making mortals into gods, remodeling the uncooked fabrics of present truth into legend. The booklet first outlines the ideological context of the immortalization undertaking, significantly the impression of the philosophers Fyodorov and Solovyov. the rest of the publication comprises shut readings of texts by means of Sologub, Gorky, Blok, Ognyov, and Zabolotsky. Taken jointly, the works yield the "salvation software" that tells humans the way to abolish loss of life and stay perpetually in an everlasting, self-created cosmos―gods of a legend that used to be made attainable by way of inventive artists, imaginitive scientists, and encouraged workers.

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Page xx Wise Blood. 2d edition. With an Introduction by the Author. New York: Farrar, Straus & Cudahy, 1962. When I initially quote from a text, I indicate in a footnote the volume used; for subsequent quotations (especially from the stories), the reader may find it convenient to ascertain the proper volume by using the above list. After this study was completed, Robert Giroux brought out Flannery O'Connor: The Complete Stories (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1971). It contains not only the contents of O'Connor's two previously published books of stories, but also the hitherto uncollected fictionstories written for her Master's thesis at the University of Iowa (some of which were published during her early career and some only posthumously by her literary executor, Robert Fitzgerald), and also the stories that were later reworked into the novels Wise Blood and The Violent Bear It Away.

Her concern was less with uncovering the tensions in race relations, less with the Southerner's adjustments to the modern world, than with uncovering the self-deceptions and evasions that keep us from recognizing our identities in a context rather larger than the immediately contemporary one. " (23) A similar use of the materials of the South to supply the dramatic texture of O'Connor's writings can be observed in "A Late Encounter with the Enemy" (1953). " Although the antebellum South survives in several other stories through the symbol of the plantation house (in addition to "Everything That Rises," see "A Good Man Is Hard to Find"), this is the only story by O'Connor to deal explicitly with that obsessive subject of so many Southern writers-the Civil War.

The barber slapped his knee and whooped. " he howled. "Ain't that a shot! ' And you should hear them people roar! " 5 The issue in Hawk's election (one presumes he won) was the Negro, and, as one might expect of a writer with a sharp eye on native materials, O'Connor peopled much of her later fiction with Negro characters. One story that is especially interesting to consider for its similar reliance on "Southern" materials is "Everything That Rises Must Converge" (1961), mentioned earlier. In it, O'Connor Page 7 returns to the subject of white attitudes toward the Negro, but also uses black characters effectively in the dramatic development of the situation.

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