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Updated Up To 23/01/2018
Volume 2, Number 2 (June 2004) : 75-107
Organization of Space in Aleksandr Blok’s Retribution

Nina Segal (Rudnik)
Rubric A: Literature and the Ideas of Space



Alexander Blok’s unfinished poem Retribution (1910–1921), regarded by the contemporaries as his spiritual testament, depicts the destinies of Russia as part of the total struggle between cosmic forces which was reflected in the historical catastrophes of the late 19th – early 20th centuries. The essay uses the notion of the chronotope to analyze the structure of the poem. The time-space of the poem is the vast expanse of the Russian empire during the wars between East and West (the wars between Russian and Turkey, Russian and Japan, World War I). The chronotope of the poem reflect tensions between Westernizers and Slavophiles, as well as mythological historiosophical positions of such diverse thinkers as Vladimir Soloviev and Helena Blavatsky. Its mythical, epic, historical, and lyrical constituents seem to predict cosmic clashes; instead, however, the lyrical chronotope of the poem gains predominance and translates cosmic conflicts into the emotional turmoil and death of the lyrical hero.

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