Article: PDF
DOI: 10.26170/FK19-02-21
Abstract: The article analyzes the epic story by A. Solzhenitsyn “One day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” (1959), its typological ties with the “new prison camp prose” presented in the novels by G. Yakhina (“Zuleykha opens her eyes”, 2015), Z. Prilepin (“The Abode”, 2014), and E. Vodolazkin (“The Aviator”, 2016). The classical non-fiction “prison camp prose” depicts the camp world through the prism of personal experience of the author: from F. Dostoyevsky to A. Solzhenitsyn and V. Shalamov. The “new prison camp prose” stories are deprived of such perspective – they have the character of existential enlightenment. The study shows that one of the structure-forming motifs in the above mentioned texts is the motif of “the naked person” which remains to be urgent just because it brings the reader closer to understanding the ontology of the person who is deprived even of a cross worn on his neck and who is robbed of protection of all man-made gods. The paper presents the history of the embodiment of the image of the “naked man” in the domestic literature: from the literature of the 17th century to avant-garde and postmodernism; it is shown how the relations between the world of reality and the “pitch-black world” (the world of hell, camp), in which bareness and poverty are its charisma, were formed. The “new prison camp prose” continues to explore the mechanisms of preservation of self-identity under unbearable conditions; and the theme of the “naked person” acquires new shades. What is important here is not the chain of events, not the plot, but the emotional perception of what is happening, which gives the prison camp past a modern ring. The starting point of narration in the “new prison camp prose” is shifted. The detached position of the narrator allows introducing expression, adventure elements, love affair, and the like into the text. The idea of irrevocability of punishment is replaced by a desire to understand the causes of human tolerance, indifference to one’s own fate, the nature of evil, and the origins of internal resilience. The authors explore the prospect of reconciliation of the nation opening on the basis of repentance and mercy. This kind of literature is engaged in looking for the ways and means to fight the “pitch-black world”: from belief in God to Culture and Memory.

For citation

Kovtun, N. V. A. Solzhenitsyn’s «Naked Person» against the Background of „New Prison Camp Prose“: Pro et Contra / N. V. Kovtun . In Philological Class. 2019. №2 (56). P. 157-167. DOI 10.26170/FK19-02-21.