Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Boris Pasternak's “Christmas myth”: Fedorov, Berdiaev, Dickens, Blok
by Sergay, Timothy D., Ph.D., Yale University, 2008, 216; 3317276
Abstract (Summary)

This study of Boris Pasternak's “Christmas myth” aims to establish new perspectives on various aspects of Pasternak's Christian and philosophic sensibilities, as reflected in both his literary works and his biography. These include the question of Pasternak's reception of Nikolai Fedorov's Philosophy of the Common Task, the general role in Pasternak's development of his bonds with Katia Krasheninnikova and her Christian friends—the “museum girls”—in the 1940s, the prominence of Dickensian-Christian themes in early Pasternak, and Pasternak's projection of largely Berdiaevan philosophemes onto his literary idealization of the Symbolist poet Aleksandr Blok. This idealization is presented as a kind of intersection of Pasternak's “Christmas myth” with the long record of Pasternak's intellectual and artistic transactions with Blok, i.e., his “Blokian text.” The analysis proceeds by explorations of intertextual “dialogues” with the figures of Fedorov, Berdiaev, Dickens, and Blok; each dialogue illuminates aspects of Pasternak's “Christmas myth,” in the case of Fedorov, by stark contrast, in the cases of Dickens, Berdiaev, and Blok, by deep and abiding affinity. Two distinct and related religio-philosophical sensibilities in Pasternak emerge: a “kenotic-disseminative” form of paradogmatic Christian faith, largely informed by the personalism of Nikolai Berdiaev, and a general reverence in Pasternak's writings for origins and development, a reverence that is here termed nachaloliubie, “a fondness for beginnings.” The author's methodological concerns include general intertextualism grounded where possible in biographic data regarding Pasternak's acquaintance with the given pre-texts, Timenchik and Mints's concept of the “forgotten citation,” a “lexicographical” approach to tropology, and the culturological framework of Ivan Esaulov's studies of the “Paschal” or “Easter” orientation of Russian literature, especially Pasternak's novel Doctor Zhivago.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Venclova, Tomas
School: Yale University
School Location: United States -- Connecticut
Source: DAI-A 69/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Slavic literature, Religion, Philosophy
Keywords: Berdiaev, Nikolai, Blok, Aleksandr, Christmas myth, Dickens, Charles, Fedorov, Nikolai, Pasternak, Blok, Fyodorov, Fedorov, Berdiaev, Christmas, Pasternak, Boris, Russia
Publication Number: 3317276
ISBN: 978-0-549-65321-9
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