By Irene Masing-Delic
The belief of abolishing dying used to be essentially the most influential myth-making techniques expressed in Russian literature from 1900 to 1930, particularly within the works of writers who attributed a "life-modeling" functionality to paintings. To them, artwork used to be to create a existence so aesthetically prepared and ideal that immortality will be an inevitable end result. this concept was once reflected within the considered a few who believed that the political revolution of 1917 could lead to a revolution in uncomplicated existential evidence: particularly, the idea that communism and the accompanying boost of technological know-how might eventually be capable of bestow actual immortality and to resurrect the useless. in keeping with one variation, for instance, the useless have been to be resurrected via extrapolation from the lines in their hard work left within the fabric global. the writer unearths the seeds of this impressive suggestion within the erosion of conventional faith in late-nineteenth-century Russia. prompted via the hot strength of medical inquiry, humankind appropriated numerous divine attributes one by one, together with omnipotence and omniscience, yet ultimately even aiming towards the conclusion of person, actual immortality, and hence intending to equality with God. Writers as assorted 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 fact into legend. The publication first outlines the ideological context of the immortalization undertaking, particularly the impression of the philosophers Fyodorov and Solovyov. the rest of the booklet involves shut readings of texts by way of Sologub, Gorky, Blok, Ognyov, and Zabolotsky. Taken jointly, the works yield the "salvation software" that tells humans how you can abolish demise and reside endlessly 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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Additional info for Abolishing Death: A Salvation Myth of Russian Twentieth-Century Literature
One need only discover the laws! As Tolstoy pointed out, the rewards for having discovered them would be so great that wishful thinking insures the belief they have been discovered. Counterevidence is ignored, explained away, or described as simply a problem yet unsolved. The failure of so many attempts to achieve scientific status has not proven cautionary. Like a loan from the World Bank, the promissory note of "science" can always be refinanced to avoid default. If we reflect on the twentieth century, we can see the colossal havoc utopianism based on a supposed science has wrought.
These passages certainly do not feel artificial, as does Tolstoy's earlier story with an equine narrator. In the two great novels, he deployed devices so as to make narration appear totally without artifice and his world seem perfectly natural. How did he do so? However strange it may sound, I think he accomplished this feat by close observation and philosophical reflection. If one really understands human experience, one can reproduce it such that devices used to do so will disappear. That was Tolstoy s credo and the belief of the artist he describes in Anna Karenina.
We may then phrase Tolstoys question this way: Does the world display narrativeness, presentness, and surprisingness? Or are all those apparent features of experience mere illusions, like belief in occult forces, to be explained away as science advances? Decisions in a World of Uncertainly The novel's most effective soldier, Nikolai Rostov, is neither especially intelligent nor particularly brave, but he is alert to the opportunities of the moment. Watching the French climb a hill, he guesses, on the basis not of theory but of his experience as a hunter and a soldier, that "if his hussars were to charge the French dragoons now, the latter would not be able to withstand them, but that it would have to be done at once, instantly, or it would be too late" (W&P, 786).
Abolishing Death: A Salvation Myth of Russian Twentieth-Century Literature by Irene Masing-Delic