Studi Slavistici XVI (2019) 1
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The Russian Catastrophe of 1917 and Bachtin’s ‘Great Time’ (M. Prišvin, V. Rozanov, A. Blok)

Alexander Medvedev
Tyumen State University, Russian Federation

Published 2019-04-11


  • The Russian Revolution of 1917,
  • M. Prišvin,
  • V. Rozanov

How to Cite

Medvedev, A. (2019). The Russian Catastrophe of 1917 and Bachtin’s ‘Great Time’ (M. Prišvin, V. Rozanov, A. Blok). Studi Slavistici, 16(1), 143–162.


This article is devoted to the perception of the social catastrophe of 1917 in the historical and cultural perspective of ‘great time’ (M. Bachtin) represented in the texts of Michail Prišvin, Vasilij Rozanov and Aleksandr Blok. The author analyzes nonfiction and diary texts, primarily published for the first time only in the post-Soviet period – Prišvin’s Diary (1917-1920, first published in 1991) and his book Color and Cross (1917-1918, first published in 2004); The Apocalypse of Our Time by Rozanov (1917-1918, full text published in 2000) and his book The Black Fire (1917, first published in the Paris publishing house ymca-Press in 1991); Blok’s Articles, DiaryNotebooks and Letters (1917-1921, including recently published uncensored texts). The author considers the dialogue of two strategies or discourses in the perception of 1917: the Christian discourse (Prišvin and Rozanov) and the discourse of the Narodnik movement (Blok). The perception of the revolution in these authors’ texts is revealed in the context of the French Revolution, Time of Troubles, national nihilism, Dostoevskij, Ostrovskij, Gor’kij, ‘neo-narodničestvo’, neo-slavophilism, sectarianism and the ideology of the Bolševiks. The author reveals the intertextual Gogolian layer in Rozanov’s, Prišvin’s and Blok’s texts, which becomes a key factor in their understanding of national nihilism as the cause of the social catastrophe of 1917. The ‘life-creation’ strategies of these three authors are also considered, who, despite their opposite attitudes towards October 1917, somehow or other ended up in the overall sacrificial situation of the ‘catacomb’ culture.


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