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The prose of Sasha Sokolov: reflections on/of the real

Kravchenko, E.; (2011) The prose of Sasha Sokolov: reflections on/of the real. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

The present study is an exploration of reflections of/on reality in Sasha Sokolov’s novels: School for Fools, Between Dog and Wolf and Palisandriia. The language in these texts does not express reality but embodies it, and reality fades away into its reflections, where it finds its essence. The project is framed by an overview of the theoretical models advanced by Mikhail Bakhtin (outsideness and surplus of vision), Jacques Derrida (dissemination and supplement) and Jacques Lacan (the mirror stage), and constructed around the myth of Narcissus. Within this critical framework, the study comprises three chapters, presenting the novels in their chronological appearance. Chapter one examines an aesthetical (trans)formation of reality and reconstruction of the self through a series of metaphors. By adopting the metaphor of narcissism and exploring its ontological, narrative and psychological implications in relation to Sokolov’s text, it is demonstrated how memory, instead of retrieving the past, signifies it, and how language, instead of expressing reality, engenders it. Chapter two constitutes a reading of Between Dog and Wolf as a re-enactment of the Eucharist, wherein the spirit becomes the letter, and the context merges with the text. Employing deconstruction as an approach, the analysis illuminates how reality is grounded by its representation as the latter is grounded in its medium: language. Chapter three presents Palisandriia as a parody of a ‘ritualized biography’, whereby the hero’s personal life becomes a historical allegory. This technique, identified with sots-art and historiographic metafiction, is viewed as an attempt to deal with the disappearance of the historical referent. It is argued that by approaching history – personal and public – as an artefact, Sokolov’s novel stands as an expression of the spirit of Dandyism in the face of the total discrediting of the real.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:The prose of Sasha Sokolov: reflections on/of the real
Language:English
Additional information:Permission for digitisation not received
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > SSEES

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