Copy-writing Post-Soviet Russia. Viktor Pelevin's work in Postcolonial Terms

Boris Noordenbos

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


    The copywriters and creatives in Viktor Pelevin's novel Generation "II" (1999) both 'copy' and 'write' Russian identity. Through advertising texts, video scripts, and written scenario's for Russia's stage-set democracy, the commercial elite makes Russia into a superficial and virtual copy of 'the West'. Some members of the Nouveaux Russes in fact protest against the meek imitation of western cultural forms, and propose a uniquely Russian path of development. However, to Pelevin, repeating nineteenth-century arguments about Russia's non-Western particularity is also a form of imitation and cannot produce authentic and stable identities either. The novel's ambivalent orientation on 'western universality' and 'Russian authenticity', together with the constant doubts about the reality of identity and the centrality of meaning, displays striking similarities with the ongoing debates and concerns of post-colonial literature and theory. This article proposes a post-colonial reading of Pelevin's text. It uses elements from the work of the prominent post-colonial critic Homi Bhabha for an analysis of the re-imagination of Russian identity in Generation "II".1

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDutch Contributions to the Fourteenth International Congress of Slavists: Literature
    EditorsS Brouwer
    Place of PublicationAmsterdam
    Number of pages26
    ISBN (Print)978-90-420-2487-8
    Publication statusPublished - 2008
    EventDutch Contributions to the 14th International Congress of Slavists -
    Duration: 10-Sep-200816-Sep-2008

    Publication series

    NameStudies in Slavic Literature and Poetics


    OtherDutch Contributions to the 14th International Congress of Slavists


    • Viktor Pelevin
    • national identity
    • post-colonial theory
    • Homi K Bhabha

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