Att berätta i tid och rum : människans unika värde och dess upplösning i Dostoevskijs och Petrusevskajas berättarkonst

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)

Abstract

Taking Fëdor Dostoevskij’s and Ljudmila Petrusevskaja’s writings as its starting point, this dissertation explores two different forms of disintegration of worth. In both cases, a world is described where human beings have lost contact with a unique centre of worth – a position in space linked to an irrevocable course of events in time. In Dostoevskij, this disintegration takes place on the level of ideas. With their self-consciousness as a starting point, his characters attempt to prove their human liberty and dignity by severing the bond with time and space in the real world. In Petrusevskaja, the disintegration takes place on the narrative level. The lives of the characters are not described by means of a real course of events; instead they are viewed from the perspective of the generally accepted norm in a collective.

The study consists of three parts. The first part contains an analysis of Dostoevskij’s Notes from the Underground (1864), The Adolescent (1875) and ‘The Gentle Creature’ (1876). With a non-realised world of thoughts and ideas as their starting point, the characters attempt to protect their existence from other peoples’ gazes and from the irrevocable progress of time. The analyses include an investigation of the flip side of the concept of the autonomous subject embraced by the Cartesian tradition of ideas. This orientation related to the history of ideas leads to the second part of the dissertation, where narrative art is explored from the perspective of its possibility to offer an alternative existential proof. In contrast with the idea of the autonomous subject, and with the ontological anchoring of the narrative in time and space as the starting point, a picture of human beings as integrated parts of the real world is created. The third part of the dissertation illustrates the consequences of a narrative art that goes counter to the anchoring to time and space of the traditional narrative. In the analyses of Petrusevskaja’s short stories ‘The Wall’, ‘Manja’, ‘The Storyteller’ and ‘Elegy’ (Immortal Love, 1988), a ‘collective narrative perspective’ is defined. These analyses show that this perspective results in an inverted narrative, which, rather than reflecting the lives of the characters in a real course of events, describes the world and human beings from a given concept within a collective. When this gossipy perspective is adopted, the individuality of the characters stands out as a suspect deviation in relation to an otherwise homogeneous collective.

Details

Authors
Organisations
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • History and Archaeology

Keywords

  • literary theory, literature criticism, General and comparative literature, time and space, Dostoevskij and Petruševskaja, dialogue, narrative, Unique centre of worth, irrevocable chain of events, Allmän och jämförande litteratur, litteraturkritik, litteraturteori, Baltic and Slavonic languages and literatures, Baltiska och slaviska språk (språk och litteratur)
Original languageSwedish
QualificationDoctor
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2003 Sep 20
Publisher
  • Central and Eastern European Studies
Print ISBNs91-970201-3-3
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2003-09-20 Time: 10:15 Place: Carolinasalen, Kungshuset, Lundagård External reviewer(s) Name: Alberg Jensen, Peter Title: Prof. Affiliation: University of Stockholm, Sweden ---