A Companion to Andrei Platonov's "The Foundation Pit"

A Companion to Andrei Platonov's "The Foundation Pit"

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Thomas Seifrid

Series: Studies in Russian and Slavic Literatures, Cultures, and History
ISBN: 9781934843086 (hardcover) / 9781934843574 (paper)
Pages: 204 pp.
Publication Date: April 2009

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Written at the height of Stalin's first "five-year plan" for the industrialization of Soviet Russia and the parallel campaign to collectivize Soviet agriculture, Andrei Platonov's The Foundation Pit registers a dissonant mixture of utopian longings and despair. Furthermore, it provides essential background to Platonov's parody of the mainstream Soviet "production" novel, which is widely recognized as one of the masterpieces of twentieth-century Russian prose. In addition to an overview of the work's key themes, this companion discusses their place within Platonov's oeuvre as a whole, his troubled relations with literary officialdom, the work's ideological and political background, and key critical responses since its first publication in the West in 1973.


Thomas Seifrid (PhD Cornell University) is professor of Slavic studies at the University of Southern California. He is the author of Andrei Platonov: Uncertainties of Spirit (Cambridge University Press, 1992), The Word Made Self: Russian Writings on Language, 18601930 (Cornell University Press, 2005), and numerous articles on Russian literature and culture.

Table of Contents

CHAPTER ONE
Platonov’s Life
CHAPTER TWO
Intellectual Influences on Platonov
CHAPTER THREE
The Literary Context of The Foundation Pit
CHAPTER FOUR
The Political Context of The Foundation Pit
CHAPTER FIVE
The Foundation Pit Itself
The Generic Context of Platonov’s tale: The Production Novel
Platonov’s Refraction of the Production Novel in The Foundation Pit
Principal Characters
Important Symbols
The Proletarian Home/Tower
Excavation
The language of Platonov’s text
Selected Annotations of Events and Situations in The Foundation Pit

Index