Release:2018, Vol. 4. №4
About the author:Anastasiya V. Grigorovskaya, Associate Professor, Russian and Foreign Literature Department, Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Tyumen; firstname.lastname@example.org
This article aims to compare the literary texts of Alexander Bogdanov, a Russian novelist, and Ayn Rand (Alisa Rozenbaum), an American novelist and a Russian emigrant. Their similarity is due to the context of “Russian Nietzscheanism” that had a great influence on both authors. This comparison is novel for the Russian literary criticism (though preceded by B. G. Rosenthal’ work in the USA), and its relevance is due to the interest in an individual utopia about the “superhuman” in literature.
The idea of “superhuman” (Nietzsche) is closely connected with the archetype of Prometheus which was considered in detail in the classical works of G.-G. Gadamer and A. Losev. It is this archetype that formed the basis of A. Bogdanov’s novels “Engineer Manni”, “Red Star” and the story “Celebration of Immortality”. The Promethean image was essential in the aesthetics of Marxism, and in Bogdanov’s work; it is interpreted as “the Renaissance person without individualism” (Rosenthal).
Despite the differences in the ideological explanations of the protagonists of “Promethean” type, Bogdanov and Rand’s texts have the range of similar connotations, such as admiration for the industrial process, its “poetization”; creation of the “active” Prometheus, the human-creator; the theme of the great man’s strike; the theme of the great ancestor. Ayn Rand’s texts demonstrate the Goethean variation of Prometheus image (the individualistic human-demiurge), while Bogdanov’s texts — “Aeschylean” (the altruistic human-demiurge). In a certain sense, Ayn Rand’s texts can be considered as “the correction of mistakes” of the “Russian Nietzscheanist” Bogdanov, whose texts contained the contradictions (a strong man, creator who obeys the crowd).