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Andrei Platonov: holy fool in literature

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Andrei Platonov: holy fool in literature

On August 28, the great writer Andrei Platonov would have turned 120 years old. We offer material based on a lecture by Yanina Soldatkina “Andrei Platonov: a holy fool in literature”, audio and video of which can be found here.

This year marks the 120th anniversary of the writer Andrei Platonov (1899-1951), the author of the gloomy anti-utopias "Pit" and "Chevengur", articles glorifying the new communist world, sharp anti-Soviet pamphlets, bottomless in the sad meaning of stories and short stories. Yanina Soldatkina, professor of the Department of Russian Literature of the 20th and 21st centuries at the Institute of Philology of Moscow Pedagogical University, says about this man who sincerely strove to bring the truth to those in power, endlessly believed in goodness and that the world needed to be changed with a literary word, love, and not violence. State University.

Steam engine of the revolution

Andrei Platonovich Klimentov (real name) came from a family of technical intelligentsia, his father worked in a car depot. The eldest child in a large family, he did not receive a systematic education. However, he was very familiar with the texts of Nietzsche, with the works of the outstanding Russian philosopher Nikolai Fedorov. It was quite in the context of the searches of both the philosophical and literary Russian religious renaissance and the late Silver Age. He did this exclusively on his own, in between hard work, as he was supposed to help his parents and support his family. The work in the locomotive depot, in his view, merged with the revolution, in the sense that Marx said: "Revolution is the locomotive of history." This metaphor for Platonov is very close, firstly, because the steam locomotive is a symbol of technological progress, secondly, because the steam locomotive rushes ahead, well, and thirdly, because for Platonov the very idea of ​​the technical movement was very important, combined with the movement time, with a sharp jerk, which Russia made before our eyes.

At the time of the revolution he was 18-19 years old, of course, he thought himself a revolutionary, sympathized with the revolution. Throughout the early “Voronezh” period of his life, he very much acts as a publicist, supports the revolution, writes in very fashionable then tones. Revolution is the second coming, with the revolutionaries Christ is walking together. This idea is very characteristic not only for Platonov, but also for Yesenin, and for Blok. Platonova is trying to see in the revolution a transformation not so much social as moral, philosophical, ideological. And from this point of view he is a very romantic writer. And so the young man takes the pseudonym Platonov. On the one hand, by the name of Plato's father, on the other hand, the ancient Greek philosopher was also implied here.

Own direction

For Platonov’s generation, for people of his social status, the revolution became a pass to literature. They did not need to play the "peasantry". Compare with the story of how difficult it was for large literature to include, for example, Sergey Yesenin. Platonov is a real proletarian writer: he has been a worker since childhood, and it would seem that all the doors of early Soviet literature should be open to him. And so it happened, only then "something went wrong." Already from his youth, Platonov did not need a “student” period, he always considered himself a self-sufficient person, with his own inner self. For example, like so many prose writers, he begins with poetry, but when he tries to participate in proletarian poetry associations and in a questionnaire he is asked how much he sympathizes with literary trends, and there were a lot of them in the 1920s, then Andrei Platonov calmly answers : "No, I have mine."

Sad beauty

Platonov’s poetry contains many mythologemes, metaphors with which he will later work:

We will walk you to the edge

The sky, the mystery is blue.

We are love, we are the thought of the universe

Stars calling wanderer captive.

Pay attention to the idea of ​​expansion, and we still live within this dream. But further: "We are love, we are the thought of the universe." There is no violence, capture in these verses; on the contrary, there is a thirst to understand and spread your formula of love. Following:

We go to secret dungeons

There is a sad beauty

Can't wait for the light hour

Like a song not sung by anyone.

This image of a beauty – a certain World soul (remember the philosopher V.S.Solovyov and the Russian religious renaissance) or in the prose of early Platonov, the same image of the Caspian bride as Sophia of the Wisdom of God – a hidden beautiful female image that symbolizes universal love. It must also be said that the biography of the writer was superimposed on this image, his relationship with his wife Maria Kashintseva, a very peculiar woman whom Platonov loved very much. Her coldness, inaccessibility and beauty were reflected in the ideal of the Caspian bride. In general, the theme of heaven, mystery, love and the spread of humanity is very closely related to the technical and philosophical context of that time. All this is very close to the philosophy of Russian cosmism and the philosophy of Nikolai Fedorov.

Philosophy of Orphanhood

The illegitimate son of Prince Gagarin, he was called by the name of his godfather. Fedorov is an absolute ascetic. The foolishness of Platonov is also from him. This man lived very poor all his life, working as a librarian in public libraries, in particular in the libraries of the Rumyantsev Museum, talked with I. S. Turgenev, with L. N. Tolstoy. No wife, no children. The work of life was the book "Philosophy of the common cause." She came out after his death, a prerequisite was that it was published free of charge, because knowledge should be accessible. In the library of Platonov was "Philosophy of the common cause" with his notes. Fedorov said this: “Everyone is an orphan, regardless of whether his parents are alive or not,” because by his birth he brings the death of his parents closer. Fedorov believed that this is the biblical original sin. Humanity should not multiply further, we must raise the dead. It's not about the biblical, but about the physical resurrection of people with the help of modern science. The scientific progress that took place in the late XIX – early XX centuries, just prompted the idea that really soon we will command the life and death of man. Recall, for example, Professor Preobrazhensky in the work of Mikhail Bulgakov's “Dog Heart”. After all, when we resurrect people, there simply will not be enough space on Earth, and we will be forced to fly to Mars. Such outstanding scientists as Nikolai Zhukovsky and Alexander Chizhevsky were convinced that it was precisely for this that space must be conquered. When Vyacheslav Ivanov, the “last of the Mohicans” of the Russian philological school, was asked what the meaning of human life was, he replied: “Well, actually conquering space”. It is very Fedorov and Platonic.

The idea of ​​raising the dead is the opposite of communism and socialism. Fedorov is not talking about socialist equality for the living, but about brotherhood because all people are orphans and brothers. He came up with the idea of ​​natural regulation: when we all come together, we can easily control the weather. Where there are deserts now, we will start raining, resources will appear, then it will be possible to tackle the resurrection of the dead. In any case, this program of actions for Platonov seemed very understandable, because he said through the lips of his hero: "Nature does not have a special gift, it takes patience." Without man, the land will remain unclaimed virgin soil. Work in the field is a normal, harmonious relationship of a person with the Earth. As a result of all this philosophical diversity, Platonov forms a very specific artistic system, a set of certain ideas that are recognized in any of his works.

Secret man

At the end of the Civil War, Platonov realizes that he is facing a dilemma. The world needs to be changed, it’s clear. At first, he tried to change him as an engineer or land reclamator. In 1921, a terrible drought erupted in the Volga region, which he witnessed. This completely shocked him. Platonov took up artificial irrigation projects, all the more so since this very well laid down on Fedorov’s idea of ​​natural regulation. After engineering projects, Platonov decided to become a writer. He probably proceeded from two premises: firstly, “the world needs to be changed, and the word is the most effective weapon,” and secondly, a woman like Maria will be better in Moscow.

He came to Moscow in the late 1920s as an engineer. Platonov works in the Russian Chamber of Weights and Measures next to the Gostiny Dvor. Gradually, he begins to upholster the thresholds of the Moscow editorial offices, his various texts are published, but the novel “The Concealed Man” becomes the most significant. It was noticed by Alexander Konstantinovich Voronsky, a communist and founder of the most popular literary magazine Krasnaya Nov at that time, which made it possible for people to print based on not the political motives, but on the artistic merits of their texts.

Voronsky said that the main character of the story Thomas Pukhov is the Russian Til Ulenshpigel. The story begins in a very Platonic way: his wife dies at Thomas, he is orphaned. Thomas does not believe in the finality of death and dines on the tomb, expressing his protest. Having buried his wife, he goes into revolution, because this is the new world. He winds around the fronts of the Civil War, he refuses to be both a natural fool-bourgeois and a scientific fool-communist, he himself Thomas Pukhov, certainly a little unbeliever. But our Thomas does not give up his belief in a future rebirth, that there will be a new world. Pukhov is as light as fluff; he is not afraid of the biblical: “You are weighed and recognized as light.” For Platonov, emptiness is an opportunity to act and move on. Thomas Pukhov begins the movement of Platonic prose.

How to create a new world

Reading Platonic prose is difficult, but there are some stable constants that allow you to navigate it. For example, two types of main characters: the first, relatively speaking, Don Quixote, with a saber and on horseback, they believe that if you destroy all those who disagree, the rest will become obedient and build communism. The second type of hero is a contemplator, a wanderer, an orphan who brings love to the world. How they work, there are not many options. Either brotherhood, camaraderie, or violence. Of course, some of the heroes of Platonov try to combine these options, it doesn’t work out well.

Another favorite idea of ​​Platonov, remember, in the Bible, in the Book of Genesis: "The earth was formless and empty." The earth is empty, not organized, it does not feed a person enough. In order for something to be done with the world, it must be empty. A man will come to the land and cultivate, equip it. But, on the other hand, it is obvious that emptiness is also a grave emptiness, a wasteland. In relation to the story “Pit” this is a typical paradoxical image: the Earth is already empty, and a hole is being dug in it … For Platonov himself, the death of the communist pit was an endless internal tragedy. The world is changing with love, not with force – Platonov’s principle position. He takes different heroes through the labyrinth of changing the world – each time his heroes are forced to make sure that violence gives rise to reciprocal violence.

In the late 1980s, it began to print again. The first was “Pit”, because it is clearly anti-Soviet, anti-communist. But this is not a work typical of Platonov, on the contrary, there is a copyright clause that the author may have been mistaken in depicting the death of a girl of the communist generation.

Platonic tongue-tied tongue?

“Platonic tongue-tied” is a philological meme. Reading Platonov is not easy, especially the early texts. Joseph Brodsky wrote about this language in an afterword to the Pit, saying that the distraught language of the revolution shouted in Platonic texts. On the other hand, this language was created in order to show what kind of work it is – to think, to realize. It’s good for you to write, if you are Count Tolstoy, speech itself flows. And if you are from a train depot or a peasant from a "revolutionary reserve"? In "Chevengur" there is such a hero – Chepurny, who says so: "Proshka, articulate for me, I can smell it, but I can’t say it." Platonov proved that not only Pierre Bezukhov and Prince Andrei can think about life. Everyone thinks, but people can not always express this. The second feature of his language is the intention to make you feel bad. Any modernist writes to make you feel uncomfortable, wants to hook you. The writer must overcome the automatism of perception so that you renounce the perception of language and read into what he wanted to say. If postmodernists destroy the world, then modernists, on the contrary, create their own. And first of all, they create their own artistic literary language. The most striking example is the absolute modernist Tolkien. He created his new world and even several new languages. Platonov created anti-utopias, and this is also his own world, which requires its own language.

A quote from Chevengur: “In the future world, Zakhar Pavlovich’s anxiety will be instantly destroyed, and the fisherman’s father will find what he drowned arbitrarily.” This “willfully drowned” is a very striking example. We understand that the father of the protagonist committed suicide, but nowhere is this called because he drowned, not believing in death. Father-fisherman was sure that at the bottom of the lake was the city of Kitezh, he would live there a little and come back.

Another example. In Chevengur, the commander of the detachment of the steppe Bolsheviks Stepan Kopenkin has a horse named Proletarian Strength. Phrases like “Proletarian power neighing in the barn”, “Proletarian power entered the room” sound funny and strange. There is a gap in the template, a certain gap between what Platonov writes from the inside of his world, in which Proletarian power is a suitable name for a hero’s horse, and from the outside, by prying eyes. Naturally, critics had a question, whether or not it was a mockery. Platonov the great ironist and satirist, could play with metaphors.

The same Stepan Kopyonkin, the hero of "Chevengur", calls into the church, where the premises of the revolutionary committee (revolutionary committee) are now located. This is what it is called: "Council of Social Humanity of the Chevengur Liberated Region." There is a Platonic pleonasm – this is such a technique when the writer adds words that are unnecessary in meaning to the phrase. Council of social humanity! On a smaller scale, the hero of Platonov simply does not think! The revolutionary committee of the Chevengur region – that’s how it would sound in a normal office. Here we have a parody chancellery.

At the same time, Platonov in every possible way scoffs at Soviet ideological attempts to integrate into the Christian matrix. In Platonov’s, in one of his works, characters are drawn about the Lenin mausoleum: “Why do you think Lenin lies on the square in the Mausoleum? He wants to resurrect! ”This is the idea of ​​worshiping relics, but only relics are now called differently. And even Kopenkin looks at the slogan, remembers whose slogan this is, but as if with understanding refers to it: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and Az will rest you.” It is clear that this is quoted deliberately in order to engage you in reading. For the same purposes, modern prose uses the action-packed methods of mass culture. Platonov, of course, is not a mass prose, but anyway he constantly updates your attention and therefore everything looks so strange and unusual. When Maxim Gorky writes to him about Chevengur that “in your works all the communists are represented by cranks and crazy, and this is unacceptable to our censorship,” this is true. But in Platonov they shouldn’t be as correct as in Fadeev’s in the rout, he doesn’t write for this, he is trying to look at them from a different angle.

No need to scoff at people

Platonov knows only two novels, “Chevengur” – the first of these novels, the most famous (the second is “Pit”). It was written swiftly, in just a few months, a 400-page text. 1927-1928, on the eve of the year of the great turning point. In 1929, industrialization and continuous collectivization began. In early 1929, Stalin expelled Trotsky from the country and received absolute political power. Actually, Chevengur is a warning novel. The revolution was about to happen, in Chevengur all possible ways of its development are described, and each leads to a dead end.

The internal plot of "Chevengur", describing the wanderings of the knights of the revolution to a certain communist paradise and the inevitable collapse of this enterprise, gives Platonov the opportunity to trace the diverse options for social structure. The whole novel is written about the fact that all the proposed options are wrong, that communism cannot be built, and we will never come to the resurrection of the dead. And if nothing comes of the ideal world order, then there is no need to scoff at people. This is what is heard in the subtext.

And for Andrei Platonov, and for the main character of the novel, Alexander Dvanov, it is very important that a person really wants to believe in good. And when he sees at least something good in life, it makes him believe that it will be better, he clutches it with joy, because reality is not very healthy. Но Платонов — настоящий русский писатель, его функция в том, что он должен властям сказать всю правду, для этого он и существует. И получается диссонанс.

Я писал для одного писателя

В 1931 году Платонов пишет повесть «Впрок», посвященную коллективизации. В этой повести он детально препарирует статью Сталина «Головокружение от успехов», статью совершенно демагогическую, написанную тогда, когда стало понятно, что если мы будем так коллективизировать народ, то у нас не останется вообще урожая. По первой фразе этой повести ясно: платоновский юродствующий «душевный бедняк» 1 марта 1930 года прочитал сталинскую статью, сел в поезд и решил посмотреть, как у нас проходит коллективизация. И дальше Платонов рассматривает разные модели установления колхозов. Более того, у него появляется один из героев, который говорит: «Колхоз нужен вам, а не вы колхозу. Я вас не буду брать в колхоз, я еще посмотрю, какие вы». А вы понимаете, что тогда в колхозы просто загоняли. И она заканчивается тем, что герой прожил в колхозе «Утро коммунизма» несколько месяцев, был свидетелем сева на 140 процентов, строительства силосной башни, прудовой плотины. И герой уверен, что коммунизм наступит при нашей жизни.

Друзья Платонову советовали спрятать повесть, не показывать никому. Но он же хочет поговорить со Сталиным! В это время его покровитель Воронский уже глубоко в ссылке. Новый редактор журнала «Красная новь» писатель Александр Фадеев, хочет, чтобы была подписка, чтобы журнал продавался. И тогда он решает взять спорную повесть Платонова. Фадеев публикует повесть «Впрок», Сталин читает эту повесть ночью, тогда же вызывает Фадеева и предыдущего редактора и возмущается: «Это кто печатал?» Фадеев понимает, что попал впросак. Журнал дает статью-опровержение, в которой обыгрывается название повесть «Впрок». Товарищи-коммунисты, мы пропустили подпильнячника (в конце 1920-х Платонов был другом и соавтором писателя Бориса Пильняка, подвергшегося травли за «Повесть непогашенной луны»), литературного кулака, мы должны примерно наказать себя впрок другим. Платонов на это честно отвечает: «Я писал для одного читателя. И он меня услышал».

Счастливая Москва

Если вы не в состоянии прочитать «Чевенгур», то попробуйте «Счастливую Москву», она проще по стилю. Если в «Чевенгуре» Платонова интересовали модели построения коммунизма, то в «Счастливой Москве» в 1933—1934 годах его интересует то, что сделал уже совершившийся советский социализм с душами молодого поколения. Главная героиня платоновского романа — девушка по имени Москва. Когда она попала в детдом, ее звали Оля, но там ей дали новое звучное имя — Москва и фамилию Честнова. Она — новый советский человек. Роман очень современный, абсолютный феминизм нулевой, так сказать, волны. Москва считает, что должна состояться как личность. Она обладает потрясающей манкостью, в нее влюбляется каждый мужчина, который ее видит, причем не платонически, а вполне плотски. Но ее это не интересует. Как она говорит: «Я хочу сделать что-то для людей, я хочу служить людям». Но в конце романа она понимает, что надо служить не людям вообще, а — конкретному человеку. У Платонова были черновые варианты, что Москва все-таки вышла замуж. Начала мерить себя категориями не чевенгурского общечеловеческого райкома, а нормальной человеческой жизни. Ушла от штампов советской массовой мифологии, преодолела их в себе.

Узнаваемая идея: хватит перестраивать общество, давайте будем перестраивать себя. Спасись — и тысячи вокруг тебя спасутся, пусть даже один человек — и жизнь будет прожита не зря. Эта идея для Платонова носит политический характер. Он понимает, что с любовью так: если вы действительно возьметесь за это, то будет страшно тяжело и не обещает вам никакой награды, но по-своему вы будете счастливы, потому что именно тогда человек не будет подвластен эросу, насилию, политике, а подвластен только своей жертвенной любви.


В 1936 году Платонов пережил арест и заключение сына, а затем его гибель в 1942 году на фронте — это стало для него огромной трагедией. Во время войны он работает фронтовым корреспондентом, его наконец начинают печатать. Он пишет жене потрясающие письма: «Дорогая Маша, на фронте мне кажется, что я рядом с Платоном, в том смысле, что я служу людям и вот этой своей службой я отдаю ему, мертвому, свой долг»… На войне Платонов очень подружился с молодыми писателями. Платонов уже воспринимался вполне как юродивый. Эти писатели другого поколения испытывали к нему бесконечное уважение: за его бедность, за его совершенную безбытность, за его верность жене и памяти сына.

После войны он пишет рассказ «Возвращение». У главного героя Алексея Иванова военный синдром. Война закончилась, ему пора ехать домой к семье, но он солдат и к мирной жизни не привык. По дороге он изменяет жене, а когда приезжает, то выясняется, что и жена ему изменила. Она сама ему в этом признается, объясняет, что ей было очень плохо, не хватало ласки и любви… Он спрашивает: «Тебе легче стало?» Она отвечает: «Нет, легче мне не стало, потому что я поняла, что женщиной я была только с тобой». Но измена — это ложный путь. У Алексея появляется возможность уйти из семьи, и он думает, что перед ним новая прекрасная жизнь. Утром он садится в поезд и видит, что за ним, за поездом бегут его дети. Когда он видит детей… Платонов пишет, что до сих пор «он видел жизнь через преграду собственного эгоизма, а теперь коснулся ее обнажившимся сердцем». Иванов сходит с поезда к детям, и только здесь и начнется эта самая настоящая жизнь. Снова платоновские темы: странничество, сиротство, служба не вообще людям, а очень конкретным людям — и любовь к ним.

Когда все это было напечатано, был страшный скандал, потому что это якобы клевета на воинов-освободителей, на тружениц тыла. Причем клеймили те же самые люди, тот же самый критик Ермилов, который гвоздил Платонова еще в 1930-е годы. Ермилов требовал даже от Симонова, который напечатал этот рассказ в «Новом мире», чтобы он покаялся, как Фадеев покаялся за «Впрок». Надо отдать должное Симонову: он всегда говорил в том смысле, что «я этот рассказ опубликовал. Я не считаю, что я поступил неправильно». Ермилов дожил до 1960-х годов — до того момента, когда ему самому пришлось каяться за то, что он громил Платонова. Пришлось признать, что «неловко получилось с рассказом «Возвращение».

После этого Платонова не печатали уже окончательно. Самое большее, выходили сборники народных сказок в пересказе Платонова. Но издавались они только при условии, что к ним писал предисловие Михаил Шолохов. Помогал другу как мог. Уже после смерти мужа пишет Мария Платонова: «Все же любимому, незабываемому М. А. Шолохову от благодарных Марии и Маши Платоновых» с припиской «это все, что удалось издать за семь лет».

По идее, на этом все и должно было закончиться. Но в 1960-е годы печатают «Сокровенного человека», Бродский пишет эссе, Платонова начинают переводить на иностранные языки. И уже в 2000-х годах выходят собрания сочинений, великолепные спектакли. В Табакерке идет постановка по «Епифанским шлюзам», был спектакль «Рассказ о счастливой Москве». «Река Потудань» идет в театре «Студия драматического искусства», туда невозможно купить билет, потому что, говорят, это нечто потрясающее. Алексей Варламов для серии ЖЗЛ пишет биографию Платонова, а в своих романах явно обращается к платоновским мотивам. Приходит Евгений Водолазкин, который использует очень много платоновских мотивов. Платонов вернулся и сейчас занимает место в ряду признанных классиков.

Подготовила Наталия Щукина

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