Soviet Literary Characters: An Investigation into the Portrayal of Soviet Men in Russian Prose, 1917-1953

Soviet Literary Characters: An Investigation into the Portrayal of Soviet Men in Russian Prose, 1917-1953

Soviet Literary Characters: An Investigation into the Portrayal of Soviet Men in Russian Prose, 1917-1953

Soviet Literary Characters: An Investigation into the Portrayal of Soviet Men in Russian Prose, 1917-1953

Excerpt

One of the most striking features of Soviet literature as opposed to the classic tradition is that the characters are nearly always shown in relation to their work, to a special task set by society or by the Party, as is often directly stated. And, moreover, we find an ever growing tendency to give form to an ideal type of man who develops himself harmoniously and finds complete happiness in the fulfilment of this social task. We can draw a parallel between this ideal and an essential Marxist doctrine as interpreted in Russia. According to this fundamental principle, moral standards are determined by the structure of society and the most perfect type of society, the socialist one, will in the end produce a perfect type of man, the New Man, who of his own accord and without pressure by the state will observe the elementary rules of society. Thus the antithesis of individual and community, of egotism and altruism, of personal and social propensities will disappear. These elements then form a harmonious unity and lasting conflicts between personal life and social task are considered impossible.

The object of this book is to study the various forms in which Soviet men appear in Russian literary prose from 1917 to 1953. In the term 'Soviet men' we are summing up all characters that by virtue of their communist faith play a part in the construction of socialist society. This communist faith naturally does not necessarily presuppose membership of the Party. A a matter of fact, we consider as . . .

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