Andrei Platonov: Uncertainties of Spirit by Thomas Seifrid
The Soviet writer Andrei Platonov (1899-1951) belongs to a Russian philosophical tradition that includes such figures as Vladimir Solov'ev, Mikhail Bakhtin and Boris Pasternak. This 1992 study investigates the interrelation of themes, imagery and the use of language in his prose. Thomas Seifrid shows how Platonov was particularly influenced by Russian utopian thought of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and how his world view was also shaped by its implicit dialogue with the 'official' Soviet philosophy of Marxism-Leninism, and later with Stalinist utopianism. He discusses how in Platonov's masterpieces of the late 1920s and early 1930s linguistic parody comes together with existential angst and dystopian doubts about the course of Soviet history. The study concludes with consideration of the works Platonov wrote from 1934 to 1951, in the age of socialist realism. In these, he manoeuvred to preserve some of the essentials of his earlier world view and verbal manner while fusing them to the literary formulae that were expected of him.