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By Thomas Seifrid

The Soviet author Andrei Platonov (1899-1951) belongs to a Russian philosophical culture that comes with such figures as Vladimir Solov'ev, Mikhail Bakhtin, and Boris Pasternak. This learn investigates the interrelation of subject matters, imagery, and using language in his prose. Thomas Seifrid indicates how Platonov was once really motivated through Russian utopian considered the overdue 19th and early 20th centuries, and the way his global view was once additionally formed via its implicit discussion with the "official" Soviet philosophy of Marxism-Leninism, and later with Stalinist utopianism.

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As this study will show, a similar paradox was to inform Platonov's own understanding of the aims and means of Utopia and to place that understanding in a complex relation to the professed "materialism" of the Soviet state. What should be pointed out for now is that the tensions Platonov inherits from Fedorov's thought inevitably make his own response to Soviet ideology something more hybrid and contradictory than a simple idealist critique of materialism. Aleksandr Bogdanov (A. A. Malinovskii, 1873-1928), the second major influence on the formation of Platonov's world view, belongs to the current of Marxist thought that arose in Russia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, though his attempts to blend Marxism with neopositivism earned him a reputation as a revisionist and a scathing attack in Lenin's Materialism and Empiriocriticism}1 Prior to 1909 Bogdanov had been, after Lenin, the second most prominent figure in the Bolshevik Party, and he became one of the guiding lights of the ProletkuVt movement which flourished briefly from about 1917—1920.

84-85). The twentieth-century participants in this tradition, and here Platonov emphatically belongs, are furthermore joined by their tendency to project their concern with dualism to questions concerning language, and especially into the language of the literary text. If art became for many in the twentieth century the "true metaphysical activity of man" (Nietzsche), it is also the case, as Kenneth Burke has remarked, that "statements that great theologians have made about the 30 Andrei Platonov nature of ' God' might be adapted mutatis mutandis for use as purely secular observations on the nature of words"; this is so, suggest Clark and Holquist, who cite Burke in their explication of Bakhtin's thought, "because the inescapable dualities of theology (man/God, spirit/matter) are at the heart of language in the duality of sign/signified " (Clark and Holquist, p.

They are essential, however, to our understanding of the Platonov who wrote Chevengur, Kotlovan, and "Dzhan," because for all their naive profusion they establish the paradigm of philosophical themes with which his later stories and novels preoccupy themselves. 2 The bulk of Platonov's journalism suggests that in this period he saw himself primarily as a disseminator of Bogdanov's philosophy and the tenets of the ProletkuVt: the titles of the articles already reflect this stance (for example, "Kul'tura proletariata," " Proletarskaia poeziia," " K nachinaiushchim proletarskim poetam i pisateliam," " Normalizovannyi rabot32 Consciousness and matter: 1917—1926 33 nik"), as does his penchant for signing the articles as "rabochii A.

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