Reminiscence about the Soviet City: Urban Space in the Ukrainian Fiction of the 21st century

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.59045/nalans.2023.25

Keywords:

Contemporary Ukrainian literature, Narrative, Soviet urban identity, National identity, Non-place

Abstract

This paper addresses the group of works of contemporary Ukrainian literature in which the narrators’ reminiscences about urban areas directly relate to the formation of a national identity. In the Ukrainian fiction of the last two decades, the urban identity of the Soviet period is mainly shown as a specific ideologically caused type of identity, intended to replace or blur the national and the local identities. Marc Augé’s anthropological theory, which is based on the opposition of “places” and “non-places”, underlies the theoretical framework for this study.  In the analyzed literary works, non-places as transitional areas, devoid of historicity and identity, are viewed as predominating over places and represented by either communal or private locations. Protagonists’ memories of communal non-places, – such as schools, hospitals, grocery stores, places of commemoration, monuments and administrative buildings, – often emphasize these characters’ feelings of alienation and misery in urban space. Communal non-places are also depicted in fiction as a means for authorities to exert ideological influence on citizens in order to restore the totalitarian regime (as is shown in the novel (Rivne / Rovno (The Wall) by Oleksandr Irvanets).  Fiction depicting memories of private places also acquire non-place characteristics, such as the private apartment of the Lvivan Cilycks’ family in Victoria Amelina’s novel Dom’s Dream Kingdom. The transformation of the private area into a non-place demonstrates the danger of ignoring one’s own history, which leads to a loss of urban and national identity and the repetition of historical mistakes made by previous generations.

Author Biography

Tetiana Grebeniuk, Zaporizhzhia State Medical University

Zaporizhzhia State Medical University

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Published

2023-06-30

How to Cite

Grebeniuk, T. (2023). Reminiscence about the Soviet City: Urban Space in the Ukrainian Fiction of the 21st century. Journal of Narrative and Language Studies, 11(22), 176–191. https://doi.org/10.59045/nalans.2023.25