Character’s existence in the Königsberg/Kaliningrad toposphere: Yu.N Ivanov’s Dances in the Crematorium and Michael Wieck’s The Decline of Königsberg
A comparative analysis of the existence of the main characters in Yuri Ivanov’s Dances in the Crematorium and Michael Wieck’s The Decline of Königsberg demonstrates clear typological convergences. The common toposphere is Königsberg/Kaliningrad, which incorporates a wide range of toponym types and subtypes — the district of Amalienau, Hufen- Allee, Alte Pillauer Landstraße, Paradeplatz, Nordbahnhof, Tiergarten, Luisenwahl, Kneiphof, Pregel, Schlossteich to name just a few. The urbanonyms denoting the main characters’ places of residence are Lawsker Allee and Steffeckstraße (Ivanov) and Steinmetzstraße (Wieck). The works share common themes — memory, faith, physical constraints, the freedom of human spirit, moral and amorality, personal and collective responsibility, and the evil of totalitarian regimes and racial hatred. The analysis shows common motifs in the works, those of destiny, desperate situations, ordeals, and suffering. The texts have a similar structure combining reminiscences of the main characters with interactions between the past and the present. However, the two authors approach the problem of the existence of the main characters differently. Ivanov’s character associates the topos of the city with life and hope while Wieck’s character — with death and disillusionment. Nevertheless, both texts convey the authors’ humanistic attitude to the human being and the world.
1. Berdyaev, N. A., 1995. Tsarstvo dukha i tsarstvo kesarya [The Kingdom of Spirit and the Kingdom of Caesar]. Moscow.
2. Vik, M., 2004. Zakat Kenigsberga. Svidetel'stvo nemetskogo evreya [Sunset of Koenigsberg. Evidence of a German Jew]. St. Petersburg; Potsdam.
3. Gaidenko, P. P., 1994. Man and history in the existential philosophy of Karl Jaspers. In: Yaspers, K. Smysl i naznachenie istorii [Meaning and purpose of history]. Moscow. pp. 5—26.
4. Gil'manov, V. Kh., 2010. Problemy regional'noi literatury: «kenigsbergskii tekst» kak predmet khudozhestvennogo opyta: uchebnoe posobie [Problems of regional literature: the "Koenigsberg text" as a subject of artistic experience: a textbook]. Kaliningrad.
5. Ivanov, Yu. N., 2015. Tantsy v krematorii: desyat' epizodov kenigsbergskoi zhizni [Dances in crematorium: ten episodes of Koenigsberg life]. Kaliningrad.
6. Yaspers, K., 1994. Smysl i naznachenie istorii [Meaning and purpose of history]. Moscow.