Cover Osteuropa 5/2017

In Osteuropa 5/2017

The revolution epic, salvation folklore and the literary decon-struction of Utopia
Notes on Andrei Platonov’s novel Chevengur

Alfred Sproede

Deutsche Fassung


In his novel Chevengur, Andrei Platonov explores the crisis of revolutionary expectation. He takes sides with the revolutionaries and defends their eccentric world and uncensored language against ‘progressive’ historical philosophy. In the half-shadows of dialogue and free indirect speech, he questions revolutionary force and dogmatic forms of Utopia. Chevengur confronts the Great Tomorrow with medieval legends about Alexander the Great and his plans for global conquest. The novel’s characters act against the background of stories about the hubris of world rulers. Platonov also uses the Alexander legend to create an epic model which is able to withstand the crisis of the novel form after 1917. The title of the novel, “Chevengur”, ultimately also refers to Central Asian Alexander folklore.

(Osteuropa 5/2017, pp. 153–169)