Postcolonialism in ‘Heart of Darkness’, ‘Apocalypse Now’ and ‘Трудно быть богом’

Great article (unfortunately in Russian only):

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On the nature of postcolonial texts: 

Постколониальный взгляд — не тот, что смотрит исключительно на зло, которое его народу причиняют или причинили иноземные захватчики, но тот, что пытается понять всю сложность и двусмысленность положения, в котором пребывает объект колонизации, включенный так или иначе в культуру колонизаторов.

Постколониальный сюжет в России — это история про человека, который понял, что он сам себе объект и субъект. От майора Ковалева ушел внезапно сепаратистский нос. Хорошего человека Голядкина подсидел негодяйский человек — Голядкин. В некотором приближении постколониальным можно считать сюжет «Зависти» Олеши, но там лишний интеллигент Кавалеров уступает торжествующему советскому человеку Бабичеву власть физическую, а власть называния, обозначения остается у него в полной мере.

On Russia’s ‘internal colonization’ (per Aleksandr Etkind): 

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Lisa Duggan – The Twilight of Equality: Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics and the Attack on Democracy


Duggan’s characterization of the limits of American political discourse today: “The newly more visible conflicts among elites is accompanied by an overlapping conflict over cultural politics. On one side is the residual strategy of cultural traditionalism deployed during the late 20th century ‘culture wars’ — energetic attacks against “multiculturalism” and “permissiveness” intended to shrink the funding bases as well as popular support for sites of non market politics—the arts, education and social services. On the other side is a newly emergent ‘equality’ politics that supports ‘diversity’ and ‘tolerance’ but defines these in the narrowest terms, and entirely within the framework of globalist neoliberalism.”

How much of the left has been co-opted by neoliberalism and shifted rightward:  “During the 1990s, neoliberal politics and policies enjoyed years of breathtaking global dominance, seeming invincibility Continue reading

Tolstoy on Beauty and Goodness

The power of aesthetic beauty and its relationship to goodness were at the center of many of Tolstoy’s works, perhaps most memorably in The Kreutzer Sonata, where the eponymous sonata by Beethoven whips characters into emotional rapture and leads them astray. Tolstoy also attempts to work out the proper role of aesthetics and art in his non-fiction work What is Art?. Fyodor Dostoevsky, Tolstoy’s contemporary, also grappled with these questions. His famous quote from The Idiot– “Beauty will save the world”–is misleading as it doesn’t really express Dostoevsky’s complex views on the power of aesthetic beauty.
Dostoevsky explored conflicting notions of beauty such as Sodom and the Madonna, especially in The Idiot, but also in The Demons, The Brothers Karamazov and other works.

Ivan Vyrypaev’s “Illusions” (2014)

In Vyrypaev’s “Illusions,” two married couples, Albert/Margaret and Danny/Sandra, find themselves in a complex web of love after decades of close friendship and seemingly happy marriages. Their conflicted feelings result from two very different conceptions of love: love as a feeling of companionship that transcends and, in fact, has little to do with excitement, passion or physical attraction; or love as the latter, which for periods of time can take hold of a person and dictate their actions. The play essentially problematizes and explores this vexed question–What is love?–through the viewpoint of four 80+-year old protagonists who are looking back on their lives. Continue reading