Baltic accent

2020 Vol. 11 № 2

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Pushkin as a personal myth of the Russian avantgarde



This article analyses strategies for cultural appropriation and the appropriation of Push­kin’s personality and oeuvre by the Russian avant-garde. The treatment of Pushkin by the avant-garde is considered as a peculiar variant of cultural apophaticism when the object of reflection is asserted through its consistent negation. The factography of the Russian avant-garde proves that, from its earliest stages the creative system has been constructing its own Pushkin myth, within which the poet has the role of both an object of cultural overcoming and the reference point for the development of a new art. Through negation, the avant-garde strives to ‘discharge’ Pushkin and to show his strangeness to classical cultural models. By making the poet its own, the avant-garde uses him to secure its position in the literary field. Another focus of the article is the place and role of the Pushkin substrate in the poetry and theoretical treatises of Aleksei Kruchyonykh. In his works Pushkin is an object of poetical overcoming and  a pole of attraction-repulsion. He is a touchstone, a reference point for the conceptualisation of a new literature. In developing his theory of the shift, Kruchyonykh views Pushkin as a ‘sound-poet’. That analytical position made it possible to move from dis­missing him as ‘a deaf singer’ to the avant-gardist glorification of Pushkin as a genius who worked with the sound texture of the poem. Kruchyonykh demonstrates that for Pushkin the shift is a powerful semantic generator of poetry, a tool that makes an error ‘the rule of break­ing rules’: semantic deviations turn into neologisms, whereas the shift itself enters the realm of productive poetic techniques.


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