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Wiener Slawistischer Almanach Band 82/2019

Nostalgie. Ein kulturelles und literarisches Sehnsuchtsmodell. Tagung in München April 2017


Edited By Brigitte Obermayr, Anja Burghardt and Aage A. Hansen-Löve

Der Band enthält 21 Beiträge, die aus der Münchener Tagung zum Thema «Nostalgie. Ein kulturelles Sehnsuchtsmodell» (April 2017) hervorgegangen sind. Allesamt sind sie dem literarischen bzw. kulturellen Phänomen der Nostalgie in den osteuropäischen Literaturen (zumal der russischen, der polnischen und den südslawischen) gewidmet. Es geht um kulturelle Sehnsuchtsorte (vom Dnepr bis nach Odessa, vom alten Ägypten zum mythischen Kitež) bei den Klassikern bis hin zu Vertretern der Moderne und der Gegenwartsliteratur. Ausgangspunkt aller Darstellungen ist die theoretische Vertiefung des Nostalgie-Konzepts in unterschiedlichen kulturellen und literarischen Kontexten. Unter anderen werden folgende Autoren behandelt: Gogol’, Gončarov, Čechov, Bal’mont, Platonov, Ėjchenbaum und Benjamin, Tynjanov, Miłosz, Nabokov und Brodskij, Konopnicka, Ugrešic, Šepitka, Prilepin u.v.a.

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Raoul Eshelman (München), The End of Nostalgia and Zakhar Prilepin’s Short Story “Grekh”



Raoul Eshelman

There is one genre of Russian literature where nostalgia is not a whim or personal obsession of the individual author but is rather fundamental to the worldview of the literary field itself. This field, needless to say, is that of village prose, which flourished from the mid-1950s until the early 1980s. The authors associated with village prose tended to idealize a vaguely contoured peasant past and/or fetishize its individual remnants at the expense of a present that was conceived as false and corrupt. This overlaying of a false present with the idealized version of a distant past via literary discourse bears a strong structural resemblance to the strategies of Western postmodernism as described by Fredric Jameson, who speaks in this regard of a “desperate attempt to appropriate a missing past” (Jameson 1991, 19) and the “insensible colonization of the present by the nostalgia mode” (1991, 20). This Western postmodernist nostalgia arose out of the fundamental epistemological inability to fashion reliable “representations of […] current experience” (1991, 21), which in turn may be traced back to the forces of commodification and mediatization in postindustrial capitalism that occluded access to authentic experience through the unchecked production of simulacra – signs referring to other signs rather than back to reality itself.

In the Soviet Union, by contrast, the literary longing for an idealized peasant past was driven by the desire to find a positive source of value outside of official Communist culture that would effectively overwrite that culture through...

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