The end in V. Erofeev's "Moskva-Petuški"

  • One of the most striking and unsettling elements in Venedikt Erofeev's novel "Moskva-Petuški" is the ending where Venja, the protagonist-narrator, is murdered by four mysterious executioners in the stairway of a downtown Moscow building. [...] The last sentence turns the entire preceding narrative into a paradox: the narrator indicates that he could not have told his story, since he ceased to exist as a consciousness ("soznanie") as soon as the action stopped. The fact of Venja's death itself does not necessarily cancel out his ability to tell about the events leading up to his demise: literature knows a number of beyond-the-grave narrators, e.g., the murdered Olivia in Anne Hebert's "Les fous de Bassan" or the dead samurai Tekehiko in Akutagawa Riunosuke's "In a grove". What makes Venja's narrative paradoxic is his own reference to the end of his cogitative activity. at the moment of death the hero ceases to think and should, logically, lose the ability to narrate. Normally, a dead narrator acquires his/her ability to narrate by supernatural means, e.g., via life after death, as in "Les Fous de Bassan" or through a medium, as in "In a Grove". Such postmortem loquacity may also remain unexplained. In "Moskva-Petuški", however, the dead narrator seems to stress that his death appears as the ultimate end: a point where everything, including time and consciousness, stops.

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Author:Vladimir Tumanov
Parent Title (English):Russian literature
Publisher:Elsevier Science
Place of publication:Amsterdam
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2014
Year of first Publication:1996
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2014/12/30
GND Keyword:Erofeev, Venedikt V. / Moskva-Petuški; Tod <Motiv>; Erzähler
Page Number:19
First Page:95
Last Page:113
Dewey Decimal Classification:8 Literatur / 89 Andere Literaturen / 891 Ostindoeuropäische, keltische Literaturen
Sammlungen:CompaRe | Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft
BDSL-Klassifikation:03.00.00 Literaturwissenschaft / BDSL-Klassifikation: 03.00.00 Literaturwissenschaft > 03.10.00 Stilistik. Rhetorik
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht