Author ORCID Identifier

http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1088-3209

Degree Year

2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Russian and East European Studies

Advisor(s)

Vladimir Ivantsov

Committee Member(s)

Thomas Newlin
Maia Solovieva

Keywords

Russian literature, Absurdism, Religion, Metaphysics, Soviet, Chinari, OBERIU, Kharms, Druskin, Vvedensky

Abstract

This project focuses on the philosophy of Yakov Druskin and its applicability as a lens through which to examine the metaphysical and religious elements of chinari literature. Formed in Leningrad at the dawn of the Soviet Union, the group of authors and philosophers known as the chinari has long been recognized as an important component of the Russian avant-garde. However, the role of religion and spirituality in their works remains under-examined, despite the fact that the group featured a prolific religious philosopher, Yakov Druskin. By exploring a selection of Druskin’s philosophical concepts and applying them to major chinari texts—Daniil Kharms’ “The Old Woman” and Alexander Vvedensky’s “God May be All Around”— I argue that Druskin helps us look beyond the grotesque and comic aspects of the group to uncover deeper themes of faith, selfhood, and transcendence. The project adds to our understanding of the chinari and works to fill a gap in Slavic studies, as Druskin has received very little scholarly attention in the field. This research also points to new directions for further study, prompting us to examine more closely the influence of theology and European existentialism on the Soviet literature of the absurd.

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