Postcolonial discourse in contemporary Russian literature

Abstract: 

The article deals with the character of function and representation of postcolonial discourse in contemporary Russian literature, conditioned by the peculiarity of the phenomenon of Russian colonization. External colonization and internal colonization spawn two narrative strategies that influence the specifics of postcolonial discourse. The area of postcolonial constructions includes the plot of the Inner Other and the plot of inner colonization. The first version is represented by A. Mamedov's “Frau Shram”, D. Gutsko’s “Russian-speaking”, A. Volos’ “Hurramabad”, G. Sandulayev’s “I am a Chechen” and A. Ivanov’s “The Heart of Parma”; the second one – by V. Aksenov's “The Island of the Crimea”, D. Bykov's “ZHD”, A. Volos’ “The Mecca of Maskava” and E. Chizhova's “Sinologist”. A postcolonial interpretation of the plot of the Inner Other is associated with the trauma of loss, provoking contrariwise a specific colonization design, which is based on claiming the position of a colonizer and, as a consequence, the appropriation of imperialism as the content basis of the broadcast discourse. The result is the representation of external signs of postcolonial discourse, aimed at creating a total narrative, reanimating colonial meanings and destroying the problem of hybridity.

The plot of internal colonization and the features of its function are conditioned by the emergence of mediating discourse. If the colonial discourse of the plot of internal colonization was mediated by the inclusion of intellectual discourse, its postcolonial version includes Soviet discourse in its structure. Soviet discourse participates in the construction of the colonial trauma, first as one of the variants of national imagery (V. Aksenov’s “The Island of the Crimea”) and then as a basis for problematizing hybrid identity (E. Chizhov’s “Sinologist”). This interaction actualizes the problem of hybrid identity, most fully embodying the inner logic of postcoloniality.

Key words: 

postcolonial discourse, modern Russian literature, traumatic experience, plot of the Inner Other, plot of internal colonization.

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