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 research investigates the interrelation of issues, imagery, and using language in his prose. Thomas Seifrid indicates how Platonov used to be quite inspired via Russian utopian considered the overdue 19th and early 20th centuries, and the way his international view used to be additionally formed through its implicit discussion with the "official" Soviet philosophy of Marxism-Leninism, and later with Stalinist utopianism.
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Though it would require a separate study to demonstrate this tradition's coherence, one can nonetheless note the frequency with which Russian culture in this period is preoccupied with the problem of dualism, especially that between matter and spirit (or materialist and idealist systems of thought). Moreover, instead of advancing the claims of one side 28 Andrei Platonov against the other, Russian thought in this period tends to be drawn to the boundary terrain between the two, seeking to elaborate a metaphysics in which the antinomies might be reconciled without fully erasing the claims of either, but one whose hybrid nature always remains clear.
45 Moreover, as his recent biographers point out, Bakhtin's instinct for "incarnation" was strongly influenced by the kenotic tradition in Russian religious thought - perhaps the ultimate source of this tradition - which had always been fascinated "with the dialogic relationship between spirit and corporeality," and which saw the resolution of the world's ontological antinomies in the transfiguration, rather than the transcendence, of the flesh (Clark and Holquist, Mikhail Bakhtin, pp. 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.
The trepidations of Platonov's fictional heroes, who anguish over the condition of their bodies as over evidence for some larger world-sorrow, in part have their origins in these subjective interpretations of Bogdanov's ideas. The ambivalent nature of this boundary state in which man, in Platonov's subjectivist interpretation, exists, comes vividly to the fore when he addresses the theme of sex (something true of Consciousness and matter: 1917—1926 37 much later works, such as "Reka Potudan'," as well).