POCHVENNICHESTVO IN RUSSIAN LITERATURE: THE METAPHOR AS IDEOLOGEME
Authors: Vladimir Nikolaevich Zakharov
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Original as it was, the phenomenon of pochvennichestvo (roughly translated as «native soil») in Russian thought and literature is often accompanied by a number of myths, misperceptions and erroneous commonplaces. It is not infrequent that those who never shared the ideas of pochvennichestvo are described as its adepts, and those who did, are often misquoted, with some notions, ideas and phrases misattributed to them. The ideological and literary agenda of pochvennichestvo was formed by the Vremya (1861—1863) and Epokha (1864—1865) magazines published by the brothers Dostoevsky — Fedor and Mikhail. Their outlook and vigorous action, discussions of submitted articles at board meetings, polemics with other periodicals — all of these factors contributed to the general trend of pochvennichestvo with its typical mutual influence of all its members. Fedor Dostoevsky's role on its development was decisive, as he kept consistently substantiating ideas which were new for Russian literature. Our article analyses the pochva (soil) metaphor in the ideology of new school of literature and political movements which Dostoevsky helped set up in 1860s—1870s. According to him, pochva includes everything that gives birth and unites: people, homeland, native language and mother earth. They are all linked together by the mystery of Russia as the keeper of Orthodox faith and Christ as the «ideal of the people». One has to reunite with the pochva by becoming one with the people and strive to see all estates united. To be a pochvennik meant to love Russia and its people, to be a Russian and identify as one, to follow the faith of the fathers and honour the native land. In the 20th century, pochvennichestvo resolved the old argument between the Westernizers and Slavophiles. The word pochvennik was applied to the authors who stayed loyal to Russian traditional values, rural communities and traditions of Russian literature. Various authors and critics have been included in this circle, but it definitely includes D. S. Likhachev and A. I. Solzhenitsyn, V. G. Rasputin and V. P. Astafiev, V. I. Belov and V. M. Shukshin.