After the future: the paradoxes of postmodernism and by Mikhail N. Epstein

By Mikhail N. Epstein

This publication brings jointly for the 1st time in English the key writings of Mikhail Epstein, certainly one of post-Soviet Russia's such a lot well-liked theoreticians of cultural experiences and postmodernism. Written from a non-Western standpoint but knowledgeable by means of a familiarity with Western literary concept, it deals a clean, lucid viewpoint at the postcommunist literary scene in addition to a realistic and theoretical advent to the hot self-discipline of Russian "culturology." After the long run can be the 1st e-book to include the advance of latest Russian tradition in the framework of postmodernism, an idea whose program has been formerly constrained to the West.
     The 4 sections of the ebook - Literature, Ideology, tradition, and method - mirror the interdisciplinary diversity of postmodernism in modern Russia. Epstein explores such influential new developments in Russian literature as conceptualism, metarealism, "rear-garde" and discusses the formation of a post-Marxist ideological milieu characterised through a paradoxical mix of relativistic and totalitarian patterns.

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9 He proposes restricting the term "ideology" to evaluative views expressed in specific uses of language as a calculated tactic for obtaining or enhancing political power. Such a definition serves to confine the potentially dangerous monster of ideology within the optimal field for its evenhanded investigation and management, namely culture. Epstein outlines his theory of ideological language in his study "Relativistic Patterns in Totalitarian Thinking: The Linguistic Games of Soviet Ideology" (Chapter 4 of this book).

Page 1 INTRODUCTION MIKHAIL EPSTEIN'S TRANSCULTURAL VISIONS Literary Theory and the New Focus on Culture In the 1960s a new trend began to emerge in Russian literary philology and criticism, originating in a variety of schools that stood in tacit opposition to socialist realism, established by the Communist Party as an official methodology in the early thirties. Such writers as Iury Lotman, Viacheslav Ivanov, Georgy Gachev, Sergei Averintsev and others, while not overtly hostile to socialism as a governmental system, insisted on discussing artistic and other cultural phenomena in terms of immanent laws and functions that cannot be formulaically derived from economic structures or class relations.

A subtle but more pervasive example is the notion of "potential," on which Bakhtin focused in the last years of his life, explaining that great artistic works accrue more profound meaning over time, thanks to their innate semantic potential. Bakhtin said that such works "live ... 14 In Chapter 7, "At the Crossroads of Image and Concept," Epstein focuses on the significance of potential as a special quality of certain kinds of writing, particularly what he calls the "self-substantiation" of the author in essayistic genres.

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