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Author's Strategies in K.K. Vaginov's Prose: "The Eidos of Hunting"

Shukurov Dmitrii Leonidovich

ORCID: 0000-0002-3463-7611

Doctor of Philology

Head of the Department of History and Cultural Research atIvanovo State University of Chemistry and Technology

153000, Russia, Ivanovo region, Ivanovo, Sheremetyevo Avenue, 7

Other publications by this author










Abstract: The meta-narrative structure of the works of the Russian writer and poet K.K. Vaginov (1899-1934) is analyzed, the strategies of the author's narrative are investigated. Most of the subject analysis is occupied by the texts of the novels "Goat Song" and "The Works and Days of Svistonov": the first as a metatextual narrative, maximally saturated with cultural codes, as well as auto-reminiscences and allusions of early Vagin creativity, and the second - as a text that plays the meta-narrative model of the first. Within the framework of the concept of the "aesthetic completion of the hero" by M.M. Bakhtin, such an aspect of the topic as "the author is a character" is considered in detail. Special attention is paid to the comparison of the narrative strategies of K.K. Vaginov and A.P. Chekhov. As a result of the conducted research, it is concluded that the novel dilogy "The Goat Song" and "The Works and Days of Svistonov" tells about the paradoxes of artistic reality and reveals its essence in the language of the formal arrangement of Vagin's works. Due to the specifics of such a language of forms, these novels require detailed textual and poetical analysis (consideration of the novels "Bambochada" and "Harpagoniana" reflects the specifics of the author's strategies in the structure of the "single text" by K.K. Vaginov). The complex polymorphic composition of the entire Vaginovsky literary and poetic compendium, the system of mutually reversible and mutually correlating comments, references, semantic saturation of style, functionality of peripheral images and details in the structure of Vaginovsky works - all these stylistic features characterize the original author's strategies.


Konstantin Vaginov, russian literature, meta - message, author's strategies, centon, someone else 's word, author, character, parody, Mikhail Bakhtin

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

In the famous book by I.P. Smirnov devoted to the study of psychodiachronology of Russian literature [1], the fragments in which the work of K.K. Vaginov is analyzed do not have thematic conditionality in the structure of this study and are located in different "psychodiachronic systems". Chronologically, Vagin's works are attributed to the era of "totalitarian culture" it is based, according to the author's definition, on a "masochistic" type of personality (we do not touch on detailed gradations). However, the mention of the name of K.K. Vaginov, paradoxically for such a clearly structured work, occurs already in connection with the art of "sadoavangard", a distinctive feature of which is the total denial of the object.

The aesthetic theory of the avant-gardists, I.P. Smirnov quite correctly notes, considered the reality depicted in the text (i.e., the "material" of artistic creativity) as irrelevant to the understanding of literature. Thus, the object of literature was abolished in formalism. The scientist considers some terminological concepts of formalists (such as "dominant", "decanonization", "deformation", "main feature") as "implying coercion and submission" [1, p. 184]. The antiformalist theory of the sociological version of literary criticism is also declared "sadistic" in the book - as focused on the class struggle.

It is in this context that vaginovskoe creativity is mentioned for the first time: "The creation of a literary text entailed, from the point of view of the historical avant-garde, the disappearance of the reality being described. Telling meant for Vaginov...the process of kidnapping people and transferring them into a novel .... This formula was put forward when the historical avant-garde of the first call was already completing its development and trying to comprehend the path it had traveled. But even at the stage of formation, post-symbolist literature emphasized, albeit in a less generalized manner than Vaginov did, the aggressive orientation of the creative act" [1, p. 184].

Recall that this fragment belongs to the chapter in which the literature of the "psychoautorepresentation" of the sadistic personality is considered and the works of such authors as V.V. Mayakovsky, A.E. Kruchenykh, who are aesthetically very far from K.K. Vaginov, are analyzed.

In the future, Vaginov's novel "The Works and Days of Svistonov", in which, according to I.P. Smirnov, the process of literary creativity is presented in a sadistic manner in the form of hunting people and kidnapping personalities from the empirical world is considered in the context of chronologically related literature of the era of nascent totalitarianism. This "totalitarian culture" characterologically corresponds, according to the researcher's thought, as it was noted, to the masochistic personality type.

Indeed, the content of the novel by K.K. Vaginov, according to I.P. Smirnov, is not limited to the psychoautorepresentation of aggression: "The Works and Days of Svistonov are summed up by the fact that the author himself depicted in this text becomes a prisoner of the artwork he created, disappears as a truly existing person. In the course of the plot, the sadistic author brought out by Vaginov transforms into an individual who is unable to establish contact with himself as a kind of reality, into a masochist (the theme of the suffering aggressor is imprinted in the name of the title character: Svistonov = "whistle" (sound production, which may have an aggressive function) + "moan")" [1, p. 293].

A common feature of the literature of the late avant-garde, to which Vagin's works also belong, is the loss of artistic authority by the author's personality. From the point of view of the oberiutes, for example, the less the author controls his creative actions, the more authentic his creation is. Thus, the author turns into a character of his own works. In this role, he manages to avoid the dubious, according to the idea of the late avant-garde, metaposition of a reasonable and self-conscious personality.

The narrative is entrusted by the author often to a flawed and monstrous character. I.P. Smirnov notes: "The narrator in Vaginov's novel The Goat Song... is a freak with three fingers on his left hand and four on his right (it is the writer's working tool, the hands, that is shown here as defective). Everything that this author is able to tell readers is exhausted by a story about the intellectual degradation of people of intellectual labor poets, philosophers, philologists. Intelligence does not stand up to the challenges it faces over time. The real author of the "Goat Song" entrusts the narrative of the collapse of intelligence to a monster, a geek, a carnival monster" [1, p. 301].

Here we are talking about a fragment of the "Goat Song", which was not included in the final version of the work (it is placed by modern compilers of the Vaginovsky prose edition in the appendices to the novel): "I finished my novel, raised my pointed head with eyes halfclosed with yellow membranes, looked at my hands, ugly from birth: three fingers on the right hand, four on the left" [2, p. 504].

The "monstrousness" of the author's subject in the interpretation of I.P. Smirnov is also a sign of postmodern narrative. And again, now in connection with the analysis of the "canonically" postmodern "Rosewood" by Sasha Sokolov, the scientist turns to the work of K.K. Vaginov. Indeed, Sasha Sokolov's hero Rosewood Dahlberg is monstrous and monstrous, but for his literary works Rosewood the author's alter ego is awarded the Nobel Prize. "Sasha Sokolov brings us back," notes I.P. Smirnov, "to the late avantgarde: the sevenfingered Rosewood reminds of the three- and four-fingered writer from The Goat Song Vaginova. But the ugliness of the author in the "Goat Song" compromises the literary work, whereas the grotesque author in Sasha Sokolov, on the contrary, deserves an award" [1, p. 337].

So, the name of K.K. Vaginov in the work of I.P. Smirnov is included, for one reason or another, in at least three psychodiachronic systems that are radically different from each other these are "sadoavangard" (early avantgarde), "totalitarian culture" (late avant-garde) and postmodernism (based on a symbiotic character, combining sadistic and masochistic attitudes). The ambiguity of Vaginovsky's writing within the framework of the psycho-historical approach to literature, the peculiar "blurring" of the psychodiachronological coordinates in which it is considered, rather indicate a postmodern (in a broad sense) version of its interpretation. However, as we know, the principle of cultural mediation often acts as the main criterion method for determining the postmodern status of a literary work. It is with the presence of "borrowed" structures and images, as well as with the poetics of "someone else's word" that we associate the postmodern or rather proto-postmodern features of Vagin's prose.

We have started talking about the monstrous author's subject of the novel by K.K. Vaginov, which means that we must also point to its cultural source. This source, in our opinion, is Rozanov's style of writing an individually found way to get rid of pretentious metaposition in the conditions of total monologism of modernist culture. The author-narrator of the works of V.V. Rozanov turns, according to the successful expression of the critic, into a "funny character of his own creations" [3, p. 129]. Paradoxically, the main subject of Rozanov's author-character's reflections is the author's problem comprehended from the perspective of the topic of alienation of language and the world, which is relevant for modernist discourse. The subject of V.V. Rozanov's letter a "constructed parodic personality" [3, p. 129] exercises even stronger control over the text, which is structured in accordance with the author's attitude: "... there, maybe I am a "fool" (there are rumors), maybe I am a "cheat" (they say): but only that breadth of thought, the immeasurability of opening horizons no one before me, like me, had. And everything came to my mind without borrowing even an iota. Amazing. I am an amazing person" [4, p. 68].

Rozanov's self-irony is the truth of tragic hopelessness and another dead end of modernist monologism. The narrative manner of V.V. Rozanov, in our opinion, is not just parodied by K.K. Vaginov, not only acts as a source of cultural citation, but is subjected to a monotonous processing: "At bedtime, every evening when I am at home, I read or reread some pastoral novel in an ancient French translation, because Russian Russian sometimes seems to me, especially in the evenings, that I don't think in Russian, but in French, although I don't speak any language other than Russian; sometimes I bend such spiritual elegance, I develop such a subtle philosophical thought that I am surprised at myself. Did I write it or didn't I? And suddenly I put my hand to my lips and kiss it. I have a precious hand. I praise myself. Who I was born into, no one in my family was talented"[2, p. 506].

The centonic organization of this fragment (by the way, also not included in the main text of the work) indicates, first of all, a significant change in the semantics of the original context of the cultural quotation. Rozanov's style of shocking intellectual clowning is reduced in a new context. The Vaginovsky text, recoding the semantics of a cultural quotation in the process of its centonic processing, concentrates the quintessence of V.V. Rozanov's style in a hermetic artifact an opaque "foreign word" that is not value-oriented and loses the quality of representativeness in the artistic teleology of the work.

D.M. Segal analyzed in detail K. Vaginov's novel "The Works and Days of Svistonov" in the context of semiotic problems [5]. The researcher defines a special trend in the development of Russian literature in the late 20s of the twentieth century and writes about the process of "changing the semiotic role of the work" [5, p. 151] during this period. (A.G. Gerasimova drew attention to this moment of research thought at the time in one of the early works on the work of K.K. Vaginov [6]). If literature until the twentieth century served as a kind of "security certificate" in relation to reality, a kind of "talisman" protecting the mentality of culture, then since the late 1920s literature has been changing the semiotic code: the literary text begins to functionally resist reality, turns into a "occupying" reality sign.

D.M. Segal considers "The Works and Days of Svistonov" as an "antisecurity letter", the main meaning of which is the absorption of reality by literature. With a sufficient degree of confidence, one can assert the validity of this semiotic approach to the literature of the post-avant-garde of the 1920s and 30s, in which life, according to the definition of D.S. Moskovskaya, "... was the ultimate disembodication-the lack of a sense, a sign and a thing, an idea, a person speaking and the world" [7, p. 102]. "The works of this writer," notes D.S. Moskovskaya in another work, characterizing the work of K. Vaginov, "are marked by a strange stylistic phenomenon "the opacity of someone else's word." Vaginov seems to be unable to clear the word from other people's linguistic faces, from an infinite number of points of view on the world, which are united in the word. It is as if he does not feel the hierarchy of words and does not place them according to the degree of closeness to himself, to his idea of Truth, as the prose writers of the XIX century, including the objective Chekhov, were able to do. Vaginov creates the appearance of speech, the appearance of the reader's dialogue with the world, keeping silence in fact. Vaginov's style is the drama of language loss, the drama of excommunication from the truth and the desire to hide the loss behind fragments of former cultural styles" [8, p. 145].

We support the point of view according to which Vagin's creativity does not lend itself to theoretical reflection within the terminology developed by literary criticism in relation to the works of the XIX century within its conditional boundaries "from Pushkin to Chekhov" [9, p. 181]. Continuing the analogies started in the field of writers' strategies of the turn of the XIXXX centuries, let us dwell in more detail on Chekhov's aesthetics. In recent years, interest in A.P. Chekhov has increased, whose work in the studies of domestic and foreign scientists is considered mainly as a harbinger of modernist and postmodern situations.

S.N. Tyapkov, summarizing the theoretical material accumulated over the past decades in the field of domestic and foreign Chekhov, pointed out: "Chekhov is being studied as a modernist author who anticipated the appearance of "Associations of real art (OBERIU) ... influenced the formation of the later Western school of the theater of the absurd, in particular its brightest representative Beckett ... <...> Before Bohr, Bakhtin and Prigozhin, Chekhov expressed in his artistic intuitions both the principle of complementarity and the principle of dialogicity, and a sense of instability as a completely natural property of the Universe in its incomplete integrity" [10, pp. 36, 45-46].

Chronologically, by the beginning of the twentieth century, A.P. Chudakov noted, the writer develops the type of narrative that "... can rightfully be considered Chekhov's" [11, p. 87]. The scientist characterized this narrative as "objective", i.e. one "... in which the subjectivity of the narrator is eliminated and the point of view and the word of the hero prevail" [11, p. 51].

Yu.V. Mann rightly drew attention to the fact that Chekhov's narrative can be defined as a personal narrative situation in which the author adapts to the character, transfers his point of view into his "horizon" and at the same time forms it with his speech which "... does not exclude, but, on the contrary, assumes a strong expressive coloring of other speeches, coming as it were from the character himself ..." [12, p. 473].

K.K. Vaginov uses a similar manner of narration, traditionally correlated with the work of G. Flaubert, in all his novels (in "Goat Song" fragmentary). The personal narrative situation is particularly noticeable in the novels "Bambochada" and "Harpagoniana", where the author's subject is not formally expressed. The parallelism of the destinies of the author and the hero, which is traditional for some works of Romanticism literature, is "played out" in these works with the help of a sequential change of intonation patterns in the design of a dominant image.

In "Bambochade", the image of the main character Evgeny Felinflein combines both the features of a genre template a character of a picaresque novel, some prototypical features and features of the individual vaginovsky worldview, or rather, the specifics of the vaginovsky letterreading: "Eugene returned late to his bachelor apartment and in the morning, standing in front of a dusty psyche, practiced difficult passages for the acquisition of equipment... <...> He began to think about the Stall. His domination over her will extended even to the choice of dresses. <...> This despot found pleasure in forcing his bride to change her hairstyle and costume when he noticed that they suited her, or that she was pleased with them. Often he ordered her to change clothes,"Eugene confused himself with someone" [2, p. 300]. (Commentators of Vaginovsky prose indicate the testimony of A.I. Vaginova, the writer's wife, that O. Tiesenhausen, a writer, an employee of the almanac "Abraxas", a talented pianist and actor served as the prototype of this hero) [13, p. 572].

This fragment represents the phenomenon of the "invasion" of the author's consciousness into the discourse of the hero.

In the novel "Harpagoniana" it is difficult for the reader to decide on the dominance of images. Here the protagonist function is redistributed between the "systematizer" Zhulonbin and the "thirty-five-year-old boy" Lokonov. (In this song, the protototypical features of the famous classical philologist A.N. Egunov are summarized [14, pp. 261-268]). These images are endowed with index features (collecting and collecting, systematization, cultural projects / "Society of little things of the passing life" /, culinary experiments), correlated both with the heroes of other novels, and with the biographical and everyday realities of K.K. Vaginov's life.

In the novel "The Works and Days of Svistonov", in the reflections of the writer Svistonov on the meaning of literary creativity, it is not difficult to trace the intention of the Vaginovsky author's consciousness: "... this is not a celebration at all, it is not work at all. This is a struggle for the population of another world, so that that world is densely populated, so that there is diversity in it, so that there is a fullness of life there, literature can be compared with an afterlife. Literature really is the afterlife" [2, p. 184].

However, such intentions turn out to be a cultural citation of once existing concepts.

In the above fragment we find a meaningful reminiscence of Bakhtin's concept of the "aesthetic completion" of the hero, his translation into a "new plane of being" through the author's intonation of individuality, as well as the motive of the "existence of birth in death" of P.A. Florensky's philosophy.

So, the moment of cultural mediation testifies to the fundamental difference between Chekhov's and Vaginov's manner: any concept in the works of K.K. Vaginov is a secondary phenomenon associated with a particular paradigm of culture.

The motive of observation and peeping, associated with Svistonov's writing practice ("The Works and Days of Svistonov"), is certainly a mirror transformation of Chekhov's "neutral" techniques.

Indeed, A.P. Chekhov transformed the narrative situation without affecting the authorhero relationship system. He abandoned the manner that pretends to omniscience and deep introspection, but at the same time retained the right to be "next" to his hero, valuably orienting his own position.

K.K. Vaginov accentuated and even exaggerated the moment of the "hidden" author's presence, the author's observation of the characters. Let's compare the words "unknown poet" addressed to the image of the author-character in "Goat Song": "You always follow us spiritually" [2, p. 87]. In the novel "The Works and Days of Svistonov", such a situation is transformed into a kind of "eidos of hunting": "Svistonov had a dream: A man hurries through the streets. Svistonov recognizes himself in it. The walls of the houses are translucent, some houses are missing, others are in ruins, quiet people are behind transparent walls. That's where they still drink tea at the table ...<...> Svistonov sees that he is Svistonov, already in the afternoon he is chasing everyone, like a strange game; then he bends down and looks into the basement, like a hunter into a wolf pit, and if there is a person there, then he will sit in the kindergarten and talk to a citizen reading a newspaper, then he will stop a child on the street and about his parents giving sweets, he will start asking questions, then he will quietly go into a small shop, inspect and talk about politics with a merchant, then, pretending to be a compassionate person, he will give a dime to a beggar and enjoy his lies, then, posing as a graphologist, he will travel around all famous people in the city" [2, p. 163].

The situation of the author's "hunting" for heroes for his novel is associated by K.K. Vaginov with the "ancient" signified the paradigm of Plato's dialogue "Sophist", in which the dialectic of being and non-being as equivalences of truth and falsehood develops and the art of sophistry is defined as the eidos of hunting: "Theetet. Yes, this is clear: it seems to me that we have reached the sophist. Having named this genus so, I gave it, I think, the proper name. A stranger. According to Theaetetus, with our present explanation, it turns out that hunting, belonging to the arts of acquisition, submission, hunting, hunting animals, land hunting, hunting for people, for individuals, to the art of selling for money, to imaginary education in other words, hunting for rich and glorious young men should be called sophistry" [15, pp. 283-284].

In Chekhov's work, the "disguised", implicit presence of the author in the text, the author's uncategoricity and rejection of evaluative moralism are compromised by the very situation of "spying" on the hero a kind of intellectual "voyeurism" or, if you like, culturecreating "espionage". Chekhov's narrative situation served, in our opinion, both as an area of further technical developments and improvements (in modernist literature) and as an object of parodying reproduction in postmodernism.

We are not inclined to exaggerate the importance of Chekhov's innovations in the field of artistic narration. For example, in the situation of "Ich-Erz?hlung", the Chekhov narrator never violates the boundaries of his capabilities and does not pretend to be an auctionary narrator. In this we see the main difference between the narrative of A.P. Chekhov and the narrative situation of K.K. Vaginov, complicated by nested narrative structures. Striving for total authenticity, A.P. Chekhov does not focus on the probabilistic logic of a work of art, as K.K. Vaginov does, does not play with the illusion of reality, "... does not affect the fiction and composition of the work" [12, p. 478].

In ideological terms, A.P. Chekhov and K.K. Vaginov are distinguished by the utmost confidence in the authenticity of life, which is realized in the creativity of the first, and, accordingly, what can be called the excess of the "fundamental unreliability of being" [16, pp. 130-132] in the creative thinking of the other. Vaginovskoe artistic consciousness became the "mirror" of the Russian culture of modernity and postavantgarde, in which it identified itself and found the unity of the poetic sign the cultural text: "Focusing on the previous literary tradition, - O.V. Shindina notes, - Vaginov created an organic fusion of traditional, "classical" and innovative, experimental principles; at the same time, his With his works, he is an example of intellectual prose that is infrequent for Russian literature, playful in nature, requiring not simple reading, but attentive, interested analysis, solving, based on knowledge of both the specific realities of the literary life of post-revolutionary Petrograd and the realities of cultural and historical" [17, p. 144].

The artistic consciousness of K.K. Vaginov is a postmodern (protopostmodern) consciousness, endlessly ironic over the curse of its own setness in language, in which, according to R. Barth's definition, "... irony is nothing but a question asked by language about language" [18, p. 370].

The novel "The Works and Days of Svistonov" is a latent autoparody, a pastiche of the "Goat Song". K.K. Vaginov, as a result of an ironic understanding of the basic laws of creativity and his own manner of writing, created a metatext in relation to his first novel: "... a novel about a writer who writes a novel about a writer who writes a novel about a writer ..., - perspective recedes into bad infinity" [6, p. 152]. The image of the author Svistonov is in many ways identical to the author-character of the "Goat Song". But irony becomes the leading device in the narrative about him. K.K. Vaginov brings to the point of absurdity the theory of "getting used" to the image, according to which the writer must "experience" the fate of his heroes from the inside.

In one of the inserted "novellas" of the novel, we are talking about a certain author an "experimental novelist" - tailor Dmitry Shchelin, who professes the principle of "getting used to" in his work: "Before you write anything, you need to experience the phenomenon described yourself. This principle is professed by ... the tailor Dmitry Shchelin. He has been writing some kind of novel from modern life for about two years, with all its horrors. Two months ago, Shchelin needed to finish a chapter of his novel with an attempted suicide of a hero poisoned by poison. To this end, Shchelin wished to experience the suffering that suicides usually experience. He took out the poison, took it, and then lost consciousness <...>. Later, when working on the novel, Shchelin needed to experience the feeling of a person trying to drown, and then also the feeling of throwing himself under a train: "The situation of a novelist-tailor is difficult"" [2, p. 172].

The documentality of the "insert novellas" in K.K. Vaginov's prose is beyond doubt. Thus, the factographic style, widely spread in the literature of the 1920s, is played out, in particular in the works of ornamentalist writers ("Serapion Brothers", etc., B. Pilnyak).

We have not been able to establish the real source of Vagin's quotation in the newspapers of that time.However, thanks to some of the most representative examples of such newspaper products published in the Moscow Observer magazine in the 1920s, we can feel the non-triviality of Vagin's borrowings. One example is a note titled "ENGINEERKILLER": "Dzhorygov already has a criminal record. In 1919, he was sentenced to eight years by the People's Court for murder and robbery. He was released from prison because his crematorium project won the first prize" (Krasnaya Gazeta, September 22, 1922, cit. by: Moscow Observer, 1991. No. 3. p. 52.)

Note that Svistonov, after listening to the "novella" about the experimental novelist, felt that she "... pricked him as an indistinct insult" [2, p. 174].

The image of the "experimental novelist" corresponds with the aesthetics of the experimental novel by E. Zola, as well as with the personal narrative situation in its Chekhov-Flaubert tradition that is developing in modern K.K. Vaginov literature. (E. Zola's program treatise "Experimental Novel" appeared in 1879 in the Moscow journal "Bulletin of Europe"). "The author's almost selfsufficient entry into his character," writes Yu.V. Mann, "is at the same time an appeal to our personal experience" [12, p. 476].

The idea of experimental development of life for the purpose of its artistic transformation also corresponds to the concept of life-building and the coincidence of the artistic text with reality, which is characteristic of the symbolist tradition.

In connection with this tradition, which has become another source of cultural citation in Vaginov's work, O.V. Shindina highlights, in particular, the creative method of V. Bryusov, "... which is an example of the greatest concentration of techniques of symbolist prose reflecting events constructed in reality and then transferred to a work of art" [19, p. 166].

According to the observation of O.V. Shindina, it is also necessary to take into account the significant reminiscing influence in the structure of the Vaginovsky work of M. Kuzmin's novel "Floating-Traveling", which is the most striking example of a "life-like" novel in the culture of the Silver Age [20].

The only significant point that distinguishes Svistonov's work from that of an "experimental novelist" is the "historical method" with which he describes modern reality. Svistonov strictly observes distance in relation to his heroes, and this frees him from "experiments" on himself: "Svistonov wrote in the past tense, sometimes in the long past. It was as if what he was describing had ended long ago, as if he was taking not a trembling reality, but a phenomenon that had ended long ago. He wrote about his era as another writer would write about times distant and not familiar enough to the reader. He generalized the events of everyday life, not individualized them. Without suspecting it, he described modernity with a historical method that was extremely offensive to contemporaries" [2, pp. 214-215].

The "Svistonovsky" method of "generalization of events" parodically reminds us also of Balzac's writing style. Yu.V. Mann characterizes it as follows: "Generalizations... Turgenev or Balzac usually generalized the fact, elevated it to a higher rank of typism. In Chekhov, in addition, they motivate the conclusion, introduce a shade of caution and sufficient reason [12, p. 475]. Thus, the "Svistonovskaya" system of writing includes a variety of narrative manners, which add up to a semiotic complex of writing techniques, ironically intoned in the novel: "He did not compare himself with Zola, who even kept his last names, nor with Balzac, who wrote, wrote, and then went out to get acquainted, nor with his friend No. who once took on Smerdyakovsky's infamy to see what impression it would make on his acquaintance. He assumed that all this was quite excusable for the artist and that he would have to pay for it all. But what kind of payback awaits him, he did not think, he lived for today, not tomorrow the very process of kidnapping people and transferring them to a novel fascinated him [2, p. 250].

The principle of Svistonov's "writing activity" is based on parallel processes of reading, "reworking" and writing down the literary material that had already been created before him: "... all his things arose from ugly notes in the margins of books, from stolen comparisons, from skillfully rewritten pages, from overheard conversations, from twisted gossip" [2, p. 165].

A kind of this activity is acquaintance with real people, to whom Svistonov refers as potential heroes of his novel. People for him are the same books that can be read. Svistonov may be surprised, joke, "sincerely" rejoice with them, that is, in the words of M.M. Bakhtin, empathize with the "cognitive and ethical orientation of their consciousnesses" [21], experience them "from within"; but in fact for him they are only "raw" and "unprocessed", in accordance with creative method, material. The same material that requires aesthetic completion is for Svistonov, for example, books purchased from secondhand booksellers or the "novellas" already mentioned by us - newspaper clippings.

In another newspaper "novella" a documentary description of the "accused" will be given. The images of tattoos and their location on the body are described in detail. Svistonov, in exact accordance with the description, makes a drawing of a person: "... Svistonov smoked, thoughtfully examined a drawing placed between candles and a mirror. The black background almost did not let in any light, and a pink man stepped out of the corridor. Svistonov put on an incoming non-commissioned officer's uniform. State coats of arms, women, animals disappeared, became spiritual and spiritual properties and aspirations of another emerging hero. Then, putting down the drawing, he began to shave and think about where to go and who to meet [2, p. 176].

This description of the tattooed human body can be presented as a distant similarity of some speculative ancient genre of ecphrasis. S.S. Averintsev cites the ecphrasis of the ancient rhetorician Libanius as a concrete example of this genre. Touching upon the role of sketches and blanks in the creative laboratory of the master, the scientist draws an analogy with the work of Raphael. The fact is that in the artist's painting, the nakedness of the human body is rare, but from the preliminary drawings and sketches of Raphael, we learn that every figure that appears on the canvas finished by the master dressed, was originally drawn naked. "Is it not so that the ekphrasis of Libania," S.S. Averintsev continues the analogy, "gives an abstraction in a "naked" form, which could then be "dressed up" by the imagination of an ancient writer, continuing to live under this "clothes" with his life, preserving his essential primacy in relation to concretization as secondary? This implies a path from the general to the particular, from the universal to the thing and the person, from the timeless conceivability of the incident to the realization of this incident in time, i.e. a path similar to the path of deduction, the path of syllogism, this "royal path" of rationalism from Aristotle to Francis Bacon" [22, pp. 161-162].

Of course, the "novella" about the tattooed could not fail to interest Svistonov a writer, as we have seen, who has an aesthetic taste and an extraordinary love of rhetoric It is obvious that the people Svistonov meets, as a result, will also be "pictorially" depicted in his novel, will turn out to be "naked". Here is one of Svistonov's "revelations" his speech addressed to the deafmute (!) laundress Trina Rublis, in which, without fear of being exposed, he says the following about himself and his heroes: "Imagine... a kind of poetic shadow that leads living people to the grave. A kind of Virgil among the cottagers, who imperceptibly leads them to hell, and the cottagers, imagine, pick their noses and follow him in single file with bouquets in their hands, assuming that they are going for a walk. Imagine that they see hell behind some hill, some hollow, gray, terribly sad, and in it they see themselves naked, completely naked, even without fig leaves, but with bouquets in their hands. And imagine that there their Virgil, also naked, makes them dance to his tune" [2, p. 184].

Such a "lovingly aesthetic" attitude of Svistonov to his heroes involuntarily evokes associations with the theory of "aesthetic completion" by M.M. Bakhtin. Reasoning about the relation "author hero", the scientist wrote that "... this relation takes the hero out of the one and only embracing him and the author-a man of the open event of being... and gives birth to him as a new person in a new plane of being ... puts on that new flesh (Svistonov and the "pink man" D.S.), which is not essential for him and does not exist" [23, p. 18].

For Svistonov, each person is potentially a material for "aesthetic completion" and each person is "... interesting in his own way" [2, p. 250]. His principle of "selecting" characters for the novel is extremely simple: "For Svistonov, people were not divided into good and evil, pleasant and unpleasant. They were divided into necessary for his novel and unnecessary. <...>... The very process of kidnapping people and transferring them into a novel fascinated him" [2, p. 250].

The main characters of Svistonov's creativity are, as a rule, characters belonging to a bygone era. The consciousnesses of these characters fell into the sphere of a new mentality. Such heroes in the novel are Kuku (Kukureku), Psychachev and Svistonov himself. Using the words from the "Goat Song", we can assume that they are "... accidentally surviving heroes" of the first Vaginovsky novel. In the case of Kuku and Svistonov, this position is taken literally: the image of Kuku is identical in some respects to the image of Teptyolkin, Svistonov is a personified image of the authorparticipant of the action in the "Goat Song".

The writer Svistonov is most attracted to people who have spiritually survived their death, "dead", as the author contemptuously and at the same time lovingly calls one of the characters. In the lives of such people potential victims of Svistonov's creativity there was a "turning point", "... the great night of doubt has already passed, followed by victory or defeat" [2, p. 223].

K.K. Vaginov knew that his literary life was becoming "a life in literature." His hero Svistonov also guessed this, "... but what kind of payback awaits him, he did not think..." [2, p. 250]: "The novel was over. <...> And everything was permeated with a sweet, sad, captivating rhythm, as if the author was dragging someone along with him. The author didn't want to touch it anymore. But the work haunted him. It began to seem to Svistonov that he was in his novel" [2, pp. 259-261].

Svistonov's "writing activity" is K.K. Vaginov's ironic interpretation of the basic laws of literary creativity, brought to the point of absurdity. The main difference between Vaginovsky novels from the majority of contemporary reminiscing works of the Silver Age and postsymbolism literature is that allusions and reminiscences cease to perform the function of references to generally significant concepts in them, but work in the mode of a centonic (radically rethinking the original context - up to its leveling, "dissolution", "spraying") organization of the literary text. This is the basis of our thesis about the protopostmodern component of Vagin's creativity as a special kind of trend peculiar to some literary works - chronologically distant from the era of total postmodernism.

Thus, K.K. Vaginov develops a system of mirror reflections, which fundamentally excludes the possibility of establishing a single and original source of borrowing. In the intertextual "folds" of Vagin's novels there are figurative systems of literature of the beginning of the century, individual authorial manners of writers of the XIX century (O. Balzac, E. Zola, G. Flaubert, A. Chekhov), artistic features of works of the 1920s, the ideas of scientists of the "Bakhtin circle" and the technology of formalists.


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The main problem considered in the reviewed article is the question of deciphering the author's strategies in Konstantin Vaginov's prose. The texts of K. Vaginov attracts researchers by the complexity of the plot implementation, explicit and hidden references to N.V. Gogol, F.M. Dostoevsky and other classics of the XIX XX centuries. The article is organically composed, in addition to working with the prose texts of K. Vaginov, the author includes a cross-section of the evaluation of historical and critical articles. The style of the composition correlates with the scientific type itself, for example, this is manifested in the following fragments: "we started talking about the monstrous author's subject of the novel by K.K. Vaginov, which means we must also point to its cultural source. This source, in our opinion, is Rozanov's style of writing an individually found way to get rid of a pretentious metaposition in the conditions of total monologism of modernist culture," or "the centonic organization of this fragment (by the way, also not included in the main text of the work) indicates, first of all, a significant change in the semantics of the original context of a cultural quotation. Rozanov's style of shocking intellectual clowning is reduced in a new context. Vaginovsky's text, recoding the semantics of a cultural quotation in the process of its centonic processing, concentrates the quintessence of V.V. Rozanov's style in a hermetic artifact an opaque "foreign word" that is not value-oriented and loses the quality of representativeness in the artistic teleology of the work,"or "in Chekhov's work, the "disguised", the implicit presence of the author in the text, the author's non-categoricity and the rejection of evaluative moralism is compromised by the very situation of "spying" on the hero a kind of intellectual "voyeurism" or, if you like, culturecreating "espionage". Chekhov's narrative situation served, in our opinion, both as an area of further technical developments and improvements (in modernist literature), and as an object of parodying reproduction in postmodernism," or "K.K. Vaginov's artistic consciousness is a postmodern (protopostmodern) consciousness, endlessly ironic over the curse of its own assignment in language, in which, according to according to R. Barth's definition, "... irony is nothing more than a question asked by language about language," etc. In my opinion, this material is appropriate to use when studying the literature of the twentieth century, as well as the work of K. Vaginov. Thus, the subject of study is relevant, new, and in demand in a mass of critical sources. The methodological guidelines are correct and modern. The conclusion is made taking into account the main block, the author indicates that "K.K. Vaginov has a system of mirror reflections, which fundamentally excludes the possibility of establishing a single and original source of borrowing. In the intertextual "folds" of Vagin's novels, there are figurative literary systems of the beginning of the century, the individual authorial manners of writers of the XIX century (O. Balzac, E. Zola, G. Flaubert, A. Chekhov), artistic features of works of the 1920s, the ideas of scientists of the "Bakhtin circle" and the technology of formalists." In my opinion, the author's view of K. Vaginov's prose is qualitatively formed due to the systematization of the research of M.M. Bakhtin, S.S. Averintsev, I.P. Smirnov, V.V. Rozanov, D.M. Segal, A.P. Chudakov, Yu.V. Mann, R. Barth and others. The material is holistic, independent, original; the main argumentative qualification is maintained throughout the narrative. With that said, I would like to note: the article "Author's strategies in the prose of K.K. Vaginov: "the eidos of hunting" can be accepted for publication in the magazine "Litera".
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