Official Representation of the Works by Alexander Grin in the USSR: Constructing and Consuming Ideological Myths
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
The present thesis analyzes the cultural image of the Russian neo-Romantic writer Alexander Grin (1880-1932) as it has been constructed by Soviet ideology and received in Soviet popular culture since the late 1950s. The topic of the thesis is unique, and it has not yet been investigated before. The thesis explores three major aspects of Grin's representation in Soviet culture: critical, fictional and cinematic. The first part "Critical representation of Grin's works in the USSR" focuses upon the process of construction and development of ideological "myths about Grin" in the system of Soviet culture. It demonstrates and analyzes the transformation of the official and public attitude to Grin's works from the 1920s to the 1980s. The second part is entitled "Representation of Grin's image in Soviet fiction: Grin as a fictional character". Through the coherent analysis of three Soviet novels (introducing Alexander Grin as a protagonist), it explores the phenomenon of the transformation of both the personal and socio-cultural attitudes to Grin. The fictional works are viewed in chronological order: The Black Sea by Konstantin Paustovsky (Chernoe more, 1935), The Wizard from Gel'-Giu by Leonid Borisov (Volshebnik iz Gel'-Giu, 1944) and The Lord of Chances by Valentin Zorin (Povelitel' sluchaynostey, 1977-79). The third part concentrates entirely on the Cinematic representation of Grin's works on the Soviet screen, analyzing five major film-versions of Grin's works: Scarlet Sails (Alye parusa, dir. Ptushko, 1961), She Who Runs the Waves (Begushchaya po volnam, dir. Lubimov, 1967), Shining World (Blistayushchiy mir, dir. Mansurov, 1984), The Golden Chain (Zolotaya Tsep , dir. Muratov, 1986), Mister Designer (Gospodin oformitel', dir. Teptsov, 1986). The study of Grin's case offers a unique opportunity to investigate how the old ideological myths are occupying the minds of younger generations nowadays. Grin is still a "cult figure" for Russian society, but it remains to be investigated to what extent his contemporary image (and the image of his fiction) is influenced by the old models of the Soviet era.