ALEKSEJ LOSEV'S ANTIUTOPIA

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Abstract

ABSTRACT

This article is devoted not only to Losev's philosophical works, but also to his fiction, which he created during 1930s and 1940s. Losev's eight books of the 1920s (his “octateuch”) combine into a single whole that amounts to his philosophy of life and history depicted in expressive images. At the same time Losev's “octateuch” strikes one as having been written at a single sitting and in a single style, in a genre that can be identified as the “philosophical novel” having as much right as Spengler's opus to be called an “intellectual novel.” In his prose of the 1930s and 1940s Losev tries with artistic methods to resolve the philosophical problems which he raised in his works of the 1920s. Losev's “octateuch” and his fiction are directed against those contemporary materialists who seek to embody Plato's Republic, whom he christens “soil-less nihilist idealist utopians.” All of this leads to the conclusion that Losev's intellectual novel belongs to a definite and more specific subgenre. It is undoubtedly an anti-utopia, full of the grotesque. In addition to its scientific and social orientation, Losev's anti-utopia is also religious in nature. Thus Losev not only depicts the real consequences of utopian dreams, but also turns to the “life of the artist,” which is far from any technological or social utopias but is filled with another, no less terrifying or nihilistic utopia: that of the non-religious existence of the human person. Losev preserved his anti-utopian and anti-nihilist views through his late period (1950s–1980s), despite the care he took not to cross Soviet censorship. Losev's anti-utopia is the kind of Christian realism to which he appealed throughout his life.

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