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The Paradoxes of Geometry in A. Bely's Novel "Peterburg"

Student: Marsel Khamitov

Supervisor: Mikhail Sverdlov

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities

Educational Programme: Philology (Bachelor)

Final Grade: 10

Year of Graduation: 2018

The final paper is dedicated to one of the most important novels of the Russian modernism, Andrej Bely’s "Petersburg". The object of the study is the geometrical theme that produces central motifs of the novel (which function as the basis of its complicated symbolist structure) and underlie its main plot. In the Introduction Bely’s special interest in the mathematical theme and his distinction of two "types" of geometry are thoroughly explained. The first type represents the false ("Ahriman") geometry that originates from Kantian "Reason-focused" categories and disfigures the organic world. The second is the true geometry that embodies anthroposophic conceptions of the many-dimensional space and its beneficial correlation with the astral cosmos. "Petersburg", designed as the illustration of the "evil West" within the trilogy "East and West", presents the first geometrical model. According to the duality of the novel space ("physical" and "mental"), the work has a two-part composition. In the first chapter the object of the analysis is the physical level represented (except the epilogue) as the urban space. The connection of the novel with the so-called Petersburg Text, as well as the embodiment of the "devilish geometry" on the spatial level here are thoroughly examined. In the focus of the second chapter is the mental level (the primary in the novel space), where the "Ahriman" geometry is represented in the sickly, "disfigured" consciousnesses. On both levels the main plot of "Petersburg"unfolds in the paradoxical form: geometry, in the illusory fight with chaos, turns out to be a source of devilish energy which strives to destroy the world (that symbolically happens in the end). The search of the alternative way (and of the other, organic, geometry), outlined in the epilogue, could not be accomplished in the "negative" program of "Petersburg"and was elaborated, with account of Rudolf Steiner’s teaching, in Bely’s farther texts – particularly in "Kotik Letaev".

Full text (added June 4, 2018)

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