Studi Slavistici XVIII (2021) 2
Articoli

The Existence Formula. Boundaries of the Metafiction in Andrej Bitov’s Čelovek v Pejzaže

Olga Trukhanova
"Sapienza" University of Rome
Bio
Published February 2, 2022
Keywords
  • Metafiction,
  • Postmodernism,
  • Andrej Bitov,
  • Man in a Landscape,
  • Narcissistic Narrative,
  • Pilgrimage Novel
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How to Cite
Trukhanova, O. (2022). The Existence Formula. Boundaries of the Metafiction in Andrej Bitov’s Čelovek v Pejzaže. Studi Slavistici, 18(2), 115-130. https://doi.org/10.36253/Studi_Slavis-10889

Abstract

Man in a Landscape, a central tale of The Monkey Link: A Pilgrimage Novel, is a poetic, meditative piece, concentrated on human life and its reasons, and on the figure of the Creator in a double sense: religious and artistic. Its structure is based on various dichotomies, such as ‘landscape’ and ‘view’, ‘genius’ and ‘mediocre’, ‘arts’ and ‘nature’, the boundaries of which become a focal point in the long conversations between the icon restorer, Pavel Petrovich, and the first-person narrator, a painter who eventually turns out to be a novelist. This paper focuses on the revelation of the author’s self-knowledge process. On the one hand, the process manifests in the characters representing Bitov’s alter-ego, and on the other, through the journey that evokes both Dante’s descent into the underworld and the drunken journey of Venička from Moscow to Petuški. By offering a reading of the text that considers the postmodern theory of narcissistic literature and a photographic approach, the analysis discloses how the ‘layer-theory’ of the main character Pavel Petrovich is transforming into an attempt at self-literary criticism by Bitov.

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