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Routes of Passage

Essays on the Fiction of Vladimir Makanin

edited by

Publication Year: 2008

Published by: Slavica Publishers

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. iii

To Tatiana Spektor for beginning this project with professional dedication and enthusiasm for its potential contribution to a fuller understanding of Makanin's works, to my colleagues and fellow contributors for their patience in seeing it to completion and especially to Mark Lipovetsky for critical expertise...

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pp. 1-17

Russian intelligenty often pin the mantra of "a living classic" to Vladimir Makanin's name. They constitute the majority of his readers, and for many younger ones, he was a favorite writer of their parents, an elusive one, whose works appeared irregularly and often only in difficult-to-find book editions, rather than...

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About Myself and My Contexts

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pp. 19-24

I am a writer. A Russian writer whose works started to be published regularly only after perestroika. This is what is said and written about me and it's true. But in reality, it was much more complicated. I wasn't a dissident and I wasn't a Communist. I was just myself and alone. An independent author who had nothing...

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Another Life: Makanin and Trifonov in the 1970s

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pp. 25-35

This article revisits Soviet Russia of the 1970s, a strange period, both culturally and politically, when on the surface nothing seemed to be happening, but when, as we can now see, deep down the whole edifice was crumbling. The two writers under discussion, Makanin and Trifonov, reflected this ambiguity most tellingly...

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The Poetics of the Interval: Modes of Mediation, Disjuncture, and Connection

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pp. 37-61

Throughout his work, Vladimir Makanin exhibits a tendency to experiment with thematic questions, plot development, and generic forms. In each case Makanin frequently posits a "thesis," often in the form of a parable (either opening a text or inserted at some point in the narrative) that is "tested" in the main portion of the...

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The Arts of listening and Digging: Myth, Memory, and Retrieval of Meaning in "Voices" and "The Loss"

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pp. 63-80

"'Well, boys, who's coming with me? Ya know I'm digging a tunnel under the Ural River!'" The drunken voice comes out of the blue, and the invitation is almost as easily dismissed by the reader as by the fictional bar pa trans who hear it. It is Pekalov, the tunnel's master builder, and the tiny crack that he sends winding...

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Makanin's Hero in "Escape Hatch" as a Russian Prometheus

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pp. 81-96

Dozens of centuries and layers of civilization separate the culture of ancient Greece and Russia at the end of the twentieth century. Yet the myth of the rebellion, suffering, and sacrifice of Prometheus, the philanthropist and creative genius, appears to match the story of the Russian intellectual Klyucharev in Makanin's novella...

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Makanin's Existential Myth in the Nineties: "Escape Hatch," "The Prisoner from the Caucasus" and Underground

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pp. 97-107

Traditionally the notion of existentialism is lacking in the histories of postwar Russian literature. In the West existentialism and existentialist literature appeared as a late phase of modernism in the late 1940s and 1950s. Existentialist writers and philosophers, especially Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, became...

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Observations on the Poetics of Vladimir Makanin

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pp. 109-113

Turning away from romantic egocentrism and emphasis on the Self, Makanin's narrator gravitates toward identification of the Self with others, with an Other. The consequence is a principled rejection of the pose of "judge" in relationship to primary characters-"do not judge" is his general moral position as a writer...

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A Hero of Bygone Time, or Russian Literature as an Ecological System in Vladimir Makanin's Underground and Other Works

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pp. 115-127

Who is the "hero" in Makanin's novel Underground, or A Hero of Our Time? Since both the second part of the title and the epigraph in Makanin's book are quotations from Lermontov's famous novel one is tempted to treat Makanin's protagonist Petrovich in the way Lermontov presents his Pechorin–as a "hero of our...

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Two Paradoxical Fellows: Dostoevsky's and Makanin's Underground Men

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pp. 129-139

First of all, the time periods when the two works were written have a lot in common. Notes from Underground appeared in 1864, during the ninth year of the "thaw" sanctioned by Alexander II. The abolition of serfdom, followed by reforms in other spheres, shook a country that had been immobilized during Tsar...

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The Confession of an Underground Hero

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pp. 141-156

In Vladimir Makanin's prose, the symbolism of subterranean tunnels, underground caves, and cells is juxtaposed to a spliced set of leitmotifs that include insanity, the individual's survival under a mob's pressure, a victim's and a victimizer's opposition/collaboration, and the writer's response to suffering. Makanin's novel...

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Joy in the GULag: Vladimir Makanin's "Bukva 'A'"

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pp. 157-170

Vladimir Makanin's short story "The Letter 'A'" ("Bukva 'A''') is a deceptively simple work. On first reading it seems like little more than an uncompromisingly moralistic allegory of glasnost' invading the Soviet Union-as-labor-camp. Indeed this is the interpretation of the few critics who have reviewed it thus...

A Conversation with Vladimir Makanin

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pp. 171-191


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pp. 193-202


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pp. 203-206

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780893578442
E-ISBN-10: 0893578444
Print-ISBN-13: 9780893573447
Print-ISBN-10: 0893573442

Page Count: 206
Publication Year: 2008