BOOKS BURNING: THE NEW SEMANTICS OF THE OLD MOTIF ( ОN THE NOVEL “MANARAGA” BY V. SOROKIN)
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Abstract: The article explores the semantic content of the books burning motif in V. Sorokin’s novel Manaraga (2017). The particular interpretation of this motif in the studied novel is viewed against the background of other literary works developing the theme of biblioclasm. Among them, the novels by M. Cervantes, R. Bradbury, U. Eco, J. Schimmang, K.-M. Dominguez, E. Canetti, as well as short stories by J. Borges and the play by A. Nothomb. The article highlights those reasons for burning books, which were described in fiction. This is an idea of a book to be a source of evil and threat, or disappointment in book illusions, or the requirements of tragic circumstances. This typology is used to substantiate the originality of Sorokin's motive. The article hypothesizes that the dystopian plot of the novel unfolds on the basis of modern scientific reflection on the ways of book culture development. The author uses contemporary literary and theoretical discourse as a sort of optics for envisioning the near future of Europe. Sorokin’s predictions are apparently rooted in modern sociological thought with its conception of the revolutionary development of the book culture, and the reflection on mass literature and the mass reader, the literary canon, the external determinants of book culture, and the reader as a subject of the literary process. However, there is no claim of Sorokin’s intentional reference to the theoretical ideas of the turn of the century. It is rather the case of another phenomenon that has received its classic description from Roland Barthes — the idea that each artwork conveys the type of culture it belongs to. As a result, the conclusion is drawn that the image of the future, where a paper book is not merely obliterated, but brought to fire for the sake of satisfying basic food needs, is not at all an exclusive author’s invention. He is nurtured by the fears of our times, which is, indeed, the main feature of the dystopian genre.
Key words: LITERARY MOTIVES; BOOKS BURNING; ANTI-UTOPIA; CRISIS OF LITERATURE; RUSSIAN LITERATURE; RUSSIAN WRITERS; WRITING
Turysheva, O. N. Books burning: the new semantics of the old motif ( оn the novel “Manaraga” by V. Sorokin) / O. N. Turysheva . In Philological Class. 2018. №2 (52). P. 141-145. DOI 10.26710/fk18-02-23.