The Presocratics in Russian Modernism and the Avant-Garde: Parmenides – Herakleitos – Zeno

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Aage Hansen-Löve

Abstract

There are astonishingly numerous and profound influences of the Pre-Socratics – especially Herakleitos and Zenon – on Russian literature between realism and the avant-garde of the 1920s. The focus here is on the concepts of Herakleitos’ “panta rhei” and his pre-dialectical thinking in polarities. From there, a bridge can be built to Leo Tolstoy’s narrative technique of the “stream of consciousness” and his speculations on time and history in the context of his novel “War and Peace.” The Russian novelist was particularly fascinated by Zenon’s time paradox (Achilles and the Tortoise). Furthermore, this contribution is concerned with Herakleitos’ model of circulations and dualities in the mytho-poetics of Russian Symbolism around 1900 (Viacheslav Ivanov, Andrey Bely, Konstantin Balmont) and, above all, with Russian poetry of the absurd (Daniil Kharms, Aleksander Vvedenskii) and the concepts of nothingness, of infinity in the context on this side of the categories of space and time (“cisfinite poetry”), and with the spirit of the time paradox of Zenon.

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Zitationsvorschlag
[1]
Hansen-Löve, A. 2022. The Presocratics in Russian Modernism and the Avant-Garde: Parmenides – Herakleitos – Zeno. Internationale Zeitschrift für Kulturkomparatistik. 5 (2022), 443-466. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25353/ubtr-izfk-942f-e473.
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