Holl_Avvakum and the Genesis of Siberian Literature.

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Unformatted text preview: BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL The Myth of Siberia in Russian Culture Edited By Galya Diment and Yuri Slezkine St. Martin's Press New York Avvakum and the Genesis of Siberian Literature Bruce T. H011 Siberian literature—Russian-language literature about Siberia produced by Siberians or by European Russian writers who (voluntarily or otherwise) spent time in Siberia—is a distinct phenomenon in Russian letters. It is marked by a specificity of thematic concerns and literary images that serve to define it as a special category within Russian literature as a whole. This specificity can be analyzed through an identification and description of peculiarly Siberian elements in the works of individual writers and a dia- chronic comparison of the writers based upon these elements. The present study will offer a contribution to such a comparison by examining The Life Written by Himself of the Archpriest Avvakum Petrovich (16207-82),1 who spent nearly eleven years in Siberian exile. The most striking feature to emerge from a comparative reading of Siberian writers is the dichotomous and at times paradoxical way in which these writers represent their native or adopted region. On the one hand, Siberia is often depicted as a vast penal colony; it has been portrayed as the terminus of prisoners and exiles from European Russia both before and after the revolution. Avvakum himself was an exile, and his seminal role in this representation of Siberia as “hell” has been noted. “If one were to look for a prototype in the long, dismal repertoire of Siberian prison and exile litera- ture,” writes Alan Wood, “one would surely turn to the autobiography of the seventeenth-century Russian rebel—priest, Avvakum Petrovich.”2 There is, however, an alternative view, always discernible in Siberian literature and 34 Between Heaven and Hell increasingly prevalent among contemporary writers, that Siberia, regardless of its role in the political history of Russia, embodies certain positive values that have deteriorated elsewhere (and will deteriorate in Siberia if measures are not taken). This view of Siberia as “heaven” can also be found in Avvakum’s Life, in an embryonic but unmistakable form. Avvakum was a native of Grigorovo, a village in Nizhnii-Novgorod Province, where his father, Petr, was a village priest. Evidence from the Life itself suggests that he was born in 1620. He was ordained a priest in 1644 and gained recognition early in his career for exposing corruption in his home parish of Lopatishchii.3 In 1652, at the age of thirty-two, he was appointed archpriest (Protopop) in the town of Iur’evets on the Volga River. His appointment reflected Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich ’s early support of the church reform movement. Soon after Avvakum became an archpriest, how- ever, Patriarch Nikon instituted the changes that led to the schism, including the restriction of priests who refused to acquiesce. Avvakum did refuse, and along with his family was sent by Nikon to Siberia. Avvakum spent about eleven years in Siberia, first in the city of Tobol’sk where he continued to perform religious duties and then, after June of 1655, on a journey of exploration and preliminary colonization undathe'caniand of‘éi‘niiritéifieaaerhahied Afanasii PashkovThislong sojourntoOk Av- vakum beyond Lake Baikal, to Nerchinsk in the region on the Chinese‘border then called Dauriia, and finally back to Tobol’sk. He was permitted to return to Moscow in 1664, by which time Nikon had been deposed as patriarch. The N ikonian liturgical reforms were still in practice, however, and Av- vakum continued to oppose them. After spending several months in Moscow he was again exiled, this time to Mezen’ in the far north of European Russia. He was allowed to return to Moscow once more, for the Church Council of 1666- 1667, but his opposition to reform remained steadfast, and in 1667 he was exiled to Pustozersk on the White Sea. Throughout this period his resistance to reforms generated increasing popular support, and eventually he came to be viewed by the church hierarchy and the tsar as a political threat. Avvakum, along with others imprisoned at Pustozersk, was burned at the stake in 1682.4 Avvakum’s view of the controversy over Nikon’s reforms and his de- scription of the places he visited as a result of his role in the schism are recorded in an autobiography that he wrote at Pustozersk, Zhitie Protopopa Avvakuma im samt'm napisannoe (The Life of the Archpriest Avvakum Written by Himself). In old Russian literature “zhitie” refers to saints’ lives. Avvakum’s use of the term underscores the self-proclaimed religious righ- teousness of his resistance to liturgical reform. Avvakum worked on the Life er Avvakum and the Genesis of Siberian Literature 35 continuously between 1669 and 1676, producing four versions.5 Apart from its documentary importance in the history of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Life is regarded as a landmark text in the development of secular Russian literature. “Compelled to seek out a literary pattern suitable to the expression of his ideas,” writes Zenkovsky, “Avvakum resorted to the vocabulary and style of the milieu in which he had lived”—a milieu that did not include the monastic centers of learning where works of old Russian literature had been produced, but consisted rather of “lower urban groups, the peasantry, Mus- covite administrative officials . . . and the lower clergy.”6 The Life is thus one of the earliest sustained examples of Russian literature written at least partially in the vernacular.7 It is also the inaugural work in a literary tradition that represents Siberia as both “hell,” a forbidding region where physical hardship is endemic for all residents, and “heaven,” a distant and therefore relatively autonomous realm in which the terrain provides not only obstacles to existence but also great life-sustainin g abundance for those who know how to find it. The self-contained Siberian portion of the Life, briefly describing Av— vakum’s early years in Tobol’sk and then relating at greater length a number of incidents from his circuitous nine-year journey to Dauriia and back, comprises about 40 percent of the text.8 In Tobol’sk Avvakum was permitted to retain the title and fulfill the duties of archpriest, and his move there “may be regarded effectively as an enforced transfer of posts . . . rather than as heavy punishment.”9 Toward the end of the eighteen months he spent in Tobol’sk, however, Avvakum became embroiled in a conflict with Ivan Struna, another senior church official. Struna eventually issued an official denunciation of Avvakum, and local authorities were instructed to conduct an investigation. Even before the investigation could be completed, however, Nikon banished Avvakum and his family to the fortress of Iakutsk on the Lena River. There he was forbidden to perform the duties of a priest and was ordered to join an eastward expedition preparing to depart under the leader- ship of a regional military commander, Afanasii Pashkov. Pashkov’s mission in Dauriia was “to gather intelligence of the region, impose payment or tribute (iasak) on the local peoples, build fortifications, houses and a church, prospect for minerals, cultivate the land and establish relations with China and other nations bordering on Transbaykalia.”10 These objectives would have been difficult to accomplish even in a region of less daunting physical barriers, and in Siberia, with its raging rivers, vast lakes, mountain ranges, forests, and severe winters, they must have seemed virtu- ally impossible. Moreover, Avvakum, whose status as an exiled priest would not in any case have garnered much respect, had been involved earlier in 36 Between Heaven and Hell conflicts with Pashkov. At the outset of the journey he laments that “as a reward for my sins he was a harsh man; he burned and tortured and flogged people all the time. I had often tried to bring him to reason, and here I had fallen into his hands myself.”11 As might be expected, the episodes that occurred during Avvakums travels with Pashkov, consisting mainly of struggles against the elements compounded by Pashkov’s unrelieved hostil- ity, provided the author with ample material for the depiction of Siberia as hell. It is precisely in the narration of these episodes, however, that Avvakum presents us with a glimpse of Siberia as heaven. This vision finds its fullest expression only after Avvakum is released by Pashkov, but from the very beginning, even before the journey to Dauriia gets underway (mostly in rafts and boats, or sleds in winter), Avvakum hints at the positive attributes of Siberia. “But when I came to Yeniseisk,” he writes, “another decree arrived; it ordered us to carry on to Daurija—this would be more than twenty thousand versts from Moscow.”12 Twenty thousand versts, or roughly twelve thousand miles, is a great distance to travel, and Avvakum cites the figure to underscore the difficulty of the journey. At the same time, by describing his destination in terms of its distance from Moscow, he stresses its isolation from Nikon and the locus of heretical reforms. By now the reader is aware that Avvakum had functioned with relative freedom in Tobol’sk, and his further remove from Moscow contains at least the suggestion of a propor- tional increase in freedom. Due to the presence of Pashkov this freedom is realized only at the end of Avvakum’s Siberian experiences, but the notion that banishment paradoxically might provide the political or religious exile with more freedom is very important for Avvakum and for the development of nineteenth-century Siberian literature. V As Avvakum’s chronological account progresses, the metaphoric hell of Siberian geography at its worst, exaggerated by the excesses of the omnipresent Pashkov, is juxtaposed with the actual heaven in which the unshakably devout archpriest believes. On the first stage of their journey, Avvakum and his family nearly drown in the Tunguska River: “my prame [raft] was completely swamped by a storm; it filled with water in the middle of the river, the sail was ripped to shreds, only the decks were above water, everything else had gone under. My wife, bareheaded, just barely dragged the children out of the water onto the decks. But looking to heaven I shouted, ‘Lord, save us! Lord, help us!’ And by God’s will we were washed ashore. . . . On another prame two men were swept away and drowned in the water.”13 In this passage Avvakum invokes the recurrent motif of God as a protective presence. The juxtaposition of earthly hell and other- Avvakum and the Genesis of Siberian Literature 37 worldly heaven establishes the presence of heaven and hell as categories in the text.14 Avvakum’ s description of his personal ordeal in the Bratsk fortress serves the same purpose. During the journey to Dauriia, Pashkov’s contingent, according to Avvakum, met with a group of people traveling in the opposite direction. The group included two widows on their way to a convent, “one about sixty, and the other older.”15 Pashkovgattemptedgtoforce‘thegwidgws into marriage with two of the troop’s Cossacks. Avvakum objected, arousing fhEEhger o Pashkovjwho sent the archpriest into the forest to continue alone on foot through the mountains. Avvakum went on by himself but camped near the others and managed somehow to dispatch a condemnatory “epistle” to Pashkov. The commander sent for Avvakum, had him severely beaten, and when the party arrived at Bratsk on the Angara River, ordered him locked up in the fortress there. In describing the horrific interlude at Bratsk, Avvakum again emphasizes his heaven-sent ability to prevail under the worst of circumstances: Afterwards [that is, after the beating and subsequent trip to Bratsk] they brought me to the Bratskij fortress and tossed me into the dungeon, and gave me a little pile of straw. And I was locked up till St. Phillip’s Fast in a freezing tower. Winter thrives there at that time, but God warmed me even without my clothes! . . . I lay on my belly all the time; my back was rotting . . . I wanted to shout at Pashkov, “Forgive me!” But the power of God did not forfend it; it was ordained that I endure. He moved me to a warm hut, and there I lived the winter through in fetters along with hostages and dogs.16 The intervention of heaven prevents Avvakum from perishing in hell. Once heaven and hell have been established as operative categories, Avvakum transposes the concept of heaven to the same physical realm in which he has already posited a living hell; through physical descriptions of the environment and brief asides on the potential bounty of the terrain, he shows that not only hell but also heaven is made manifest in the geography of Siberia. While Pashkov is present, heaven is understandably muted; when Avvakum is at last liberated from his archnemesis, the heaven of Siberia becomes more apparent. When, prior to his imprisonment at Bratsk, Av— vakum travels for a time alone, he describes the experience with a profusion of detail: “Because of you,” [Pashkov] says, “the prame don’t. go right! You’re a heretic! Go walk through the mountains, you’re not going with Cossacks!” Ah, misery came my way. The mountains were high, the forests dense, the cliffs of stone, 38 Between Heaven and Hell standing like a wall-you’d crick your neck looking up! In those mountains you found great snakes; geese and ducklings with red plumage, black ravens, and grey jackdaws also live there. In those mountains are eagles and falcons and gerfalcons and mountain pheasants and pelicans and swans and other wild fowl, an endless abundance, birds of many kinds. In those mountains wander many wild beasts, goats and deer, Siberian stags and elk, wild boars, wolves, wild sheep—you’ll lay your eyes on them but never your hands! Pashkov drove me out into those mountains to live with the beasts and the snakes and the birds.17 ,——-—-———-—‘M-.—»_ I.“ This portraitflof the mountainsaroundthe Angara River is the first description in Russian literature of theflsiberian wiidemé‘s's,jrhééfififiéafih of physical features and native fauna suggests that the natural world is beyond the descriptive powers of a mere human, and must simply be conveyed to the reader as accurately as possible. The phrase “you’d crick your neck looking up!” evinces a childlike powerlessness in the face of nature’s immensity. .— These positive images derived from pristine nature, however, are tem- pered by the presence of man. There is, Avvakum declares, “an endless abundance” to sustain life in Siberia, but the attempt to control nature is futile: “you’ll lay your eyes on [the many wild beasts] but never your hands.” The two references to Pashkov that frame the mountains in Avvakum’s description emphasize that it is he, Pashkov, who violates the natural order in Siberia, and places Avvakum in a state of “misery.” The transgressions of Pashkov, who symbolizes not only “man” in the abstract but also the Russian government and its attempts to colonize Siberia, affect Avvakum on the most fundamental of levels: The threat of starvation looms large over all of the events in the Siberian section of the Life. Repeatedlyit is shown that the exiles’Ichronic shortage of food is a function not only Of the harsh conditions they encounter, but also of Pashkgy’i unrelenting persecution. “In the spring we floated down the Ingoda River on rafts,” Avvakum writes at one point: It was the fourth summer of my voyage from Tobol’sk. We were herding logs for houses and forts. Soon there was nothing to eat; people started dying off from hunger and tramping about and working in water. . . . And we dragged on for another year or two, living on the Nercha River and eating grass to keep body and soul together. [Pashkov] was killing everyone with hunger. He wouldn’t let anyone leave to get a living, keeping us in a small area. People would roam across the steppes and fields and dig up grasses and roots, and we right there with them. In the winter it was pine bark, and sometimes God gave 11s horsemeat; we found Avvakum and the Genesis of Siberian Literature 39 the bones of beasts brought down by wolves, and what the wolves hadn’t eaten, we did.18 Hell is rarely evoked more vividly in the Life than in this account of eating carrion to survive, but again it is opposed to a potentially abundant (if, for the time being, frustratingly unattainable) heaven. The statement that Pash- kov “wouldn’t let anyone leave to get a living” implies that there was a living to be gotten. The exiles, however, were not permitted by the authorities to work on their own behalf, but were forced rather to spend their time “herding logs for houses and forts.” This enterprise (which presages many later' accounts of forced labor in Siberia) not only prevents Avvakum and the others from seeing to their own subsistence, but also exacerbates the effects of their hunger by forcing them to “[tramp] about and [work] in the water.” Even under these most difficult of circumstances, however, life can be maintained through reliance on the land, in the form of edible “grasses and roots.” In the midst of recollecting the expedition to Dauriia, Avvakum interpo- lates a short aside that seemingly parallels his plight with Pashkov. The interpolation begins with the statement that “we had a good little black hen. By God’s will she laid two eggs a day for our little ones’ food, easing our need. That’s how God arranged it. During that time she was crushed while riding on a dog sled, because of our sins.”19 He goes on to claim that “she fed us, and there at our side she’d peck the pinebark porridge right out of the pot, or if some fish came our way, then she’d peck at a little fish. And against this gave us two eggs a day!” Brostrom comments that “Avvakum had good reason to ascribe the hen’s prodigious egg-laying powers to God’s will, for they are well beyond the capacity of the best hens under ideal conditions.”20 The passage may not be meant simply to relate a miracle, however. Another probable meaning is revealed when Avvakum describes how he had cared for the ailing flock that eventually produced the prodigious hen: “I chanted prayers of supplication, blessed some water, and sprinkled and censed the hens. Then I tramped around in the forest and built them a trough to eat from.”21 God provides the raw materials for modest but self-sustaining agriculture, He provides (in this instance) the hens, the feed, and the wood to build a feeding trough, but man must not only pray for these things, he must also “[tramp] around in the forest,” he must work, he must avail himself of what nature provides. If man becomes too intrusive, however, if his motives become not self-preservation but material gain, his efforts will be counterproductive; the hen is killed by a dogsled, a metonymy for Pashkov’s mission of conquest.22 40 Between Heaven and Hell In 1662 Pashkov was replaced by another commander and Avvakum was set free to return to Moscow with his family and a few companions. “Ten years he tormented me,” writes Avvakum, “or I him—I don’t know. God will sort it out on judgement day. A transfer came for him, and a document for me: I was ordered to journey to Russia. He moved on, but he didn’t take me—he had a scheme in mind: ‘Just let him travel alone and the natives will kill him.’”23 Pashkov’s scheme, of course, failed; not only did Avvakum reach Moscow safely (and thereby forestall his violent death by some eight years), but he also managed to view Siberia without Pashkov’s interference. Often when he narrates the return journey, which followed the same route as Pashkov had taken, Avvakum alludes to earlier passages. For example, there is a reference to previous accounts of the lack of food, but now Avvakum’s small traveling party is able to fend for itself, in striking contrast to the failures of Pashkov’s party: “We journeyed out of Dauriia, and the food ran low. And with the brethren I entreated God, and Christ gave us a Siberian Stag, a huge beast. With this we managed to sail to lake Baikal. Sable hunters, Russians, had gathered in a camp by the lake; they were fishing. . . . They heaped us with food, as much as we needed. 'L' . 7’24‘God, whom Avvakum always remembers to credit, again provides the means, and men and women make use of those means. Avvakum and his companions themselves kill the stag, and the sable hunters provide the fish. The incident concludes with Avvakum’s declaration that one should not take more than one needs from the land: “they carted up about forty fresh sturgeon in front of me. . . . Bowing to them and blessing the fish, I commanded that they take them back again: ‘what do I need so many for?’ ” Avvakum recounts how, after spending some time with the sable hunters on the banks of Baikal, he and his party traveled on: “We stayed with them awhile and then, taking a small provision near our need, we fixed the boat, rigged up a sail, and set out across the lake.”25 The journey by boat gives rise to a long description of Baikal itself. Like the earlier portrait of the moun- tainous topography surrounding the Angara, it is the first of its kind in Russian literature: Around [the lake] the mountains were high and the cliffs of rock, fearfully high; twenty thousand versts and more I’ve dragged myself, and I’ve never seen their like anywhere. Along the summits are halls and turrets, gates and pillars, stone walls and courtyards, all made by God. Onions grow there and garlic, bigger than the Romanov onion and uncommonly sweet. Hemp grows there too in the care of God, and in the courtyards are beautiful flowers, most colorful and good-smelling. There’s no end to the birds, to the geese and swans—like snow Avvakum and the Genesis of Siberian Literature 41 they swim on the lake. In it are fish, sturgeon and taimen salmon, sterlet and amul salmon, Whitefish, and many other kinds. The water is fresh, but huge seals and sea lions live in it; in the great ocean I never saw their like when I was living at Mezen. The lake swarms with fish. The sturgeon and taimen salmon are as fat as can be; you can’t fry them in a pan—there’d be nothing but fat left!26 As in the Angara passage, Avvakum’s seascape of Baikal lists one form of local wildlife after another. The imposing image of the “fearfully high” cliffs, suggesting humanity’s relative insignificance, is repeated to provide continuity with the earlier passage; the sense of nature’s abundance is conveyed by the phrases “there’s no end to the birds” and “the lake swarms with fish.” Finally, Avvakum stresses not only the immensity of Baikal, but its incomparability to any place he has seen before: “the cliffs of rock [were] fearfully high . . . and I’ve never seen their like anywhere”; “the water is fresh, but huge seals and sea lions live in it; in the great ocean I never saw their like when I was living at Mezen.” Avvakum’s celebration of the lake, however, is not without a dark side. The lines just quoted are followed by a warning: And all this has been done for man through Jesus Christ our Light, so that finding peace he might lift up his praise to God. “But man is like to vanity; his days are as shadows that passeth away.” He cavorts like a goat. he puffs himself out like a bubble, he rages like a lynx, he craves food like a snake; gazing at the beauty of his neighbor he neighs like a colt; he deceives like a devil; when he’s gorged himself he sleeps, forgetting his office; he doesn‘t pray to God; he puts off repentance to his old age and then disappears.27 The metaphoric and uniformly unflattering comparison of men with animals in this passage suggests that man has impinged upon the territory of nature; the assertion that he “craves food like a snake” and “when he’s gorged himself he sleeps” reveals that his interference with nature is excessive and destructive. One point of the passage is therefore to upbraid “man”—that is, in Avvakum’s immediate experience, Pashkov—for regarding Siberia as a place to “gorge himself” at the expense of the local population and wildlife. That this caveat is appended to the description of Baikal seems particularly appropriate from a modern standpoint, since the lake in recent years has been threatened by industrial pollution and has come to symbolize the efforts of environmentalists to protect the natural beauty of Siberia from headlong development. Toward the end of his Siberian narrative Avvakum relates an incident that places him in a favorable light by comparison with Pashkov. Pashkov, it will 42 Between Heaven and Hell be recalled, had sent Avvakum home alone so that “the natives [would] kill him.”28 The motif of the hostile native, in fact, runs throughout the Life, and Pashkov had some justification for thinking as he did: In an episode described by Avvakum, Pashkov’s own son, Eremei, had led a raiding party of some ninety-two men “off into Mongolian territory to make war.”29 Only one member of the party—Pashkov ’s son—had returned alive. Indeed, Avvakum himself had witnessed similar events: “On the Ob River they massacred twenty Christians before my eyes.”30 The archpriest, however, explains that he was able to avoid a similar fate: Again on the Irtysh River a group of them was lying in ambush for a prameful of our people from Berezov. Not lmowing this I sailed toward them, and drawing near I put into shore. They leaped around us with their bows. Well sir, I stepped out and hugged them like they were monks, and myself said, “Christ is with me, and with you too." And they started acting kindly towards me, and they brought their wives up to my wife. My wife likewise laid it on a bit, as flattery happens in this world, and the womenfolk warmed up too. We already lmow that when the womenfolk are pleasant, then everything will be pleasant in Christ. The men hid there bows and arrows and started trading with me. I bought a pile of bearskins, yes and then they let me go. When I came to Tobol’sk I told about this; people were amazed, since the Tatars and Bashkirs were warring all over Siberia just then. And I not choosing my way and hoping in Christ, I had journeyed right through the middle of them.31 Avvakum attributes his survival to aggressive ignorance and “hoping in Christ,” but he is really saved by the same blend of faith and practical self-reliance that had allowed him to survive during the darkest days of his travels with Pashkov, when he had subsisted on edible wildlife. By treating the natives as equals, by trading with them rather than trying to conquer them as Eremei Pashkov had done, he wins their friendship and is left to continue on his way. The indigenous peoples of Siberia, Avvakum implies, can no more be exploited than the wildlife, but if on the contrary one approaches them with respect, they will belie their reputation for hostility. One should not infer from a discussion of positive images in Avvakum’s Life that heaven dominates his perception of Siberia; in the eleven years that he spent there, Avvakum suffered innumerable manifestations of hell, in- cludin g beatings at the hands of Pashkov, imprisonment, long periods of near starvation, and the loss of a son.32 The magnitude of Avvakum’s travails, however, makes all the more remarkable his ability to find in the experience the substance of positive literary images. Avvakum should be recognized for the role he played in the genesis of Siberian literature, with its paradoxical Avvakum and the Genesis of Siberian Literature 43 images of pristine wilderness and tortuous exile, because his Life includes both, and it is the first work of Russian literature to do so. NOTES 1. The edition of the Life cited herein is Brostrom ’s English translation (Avvakum Petrovich, Archpriest Avvakum: The Life Written by Himself, trans. Kenneth N. Brostrom [Ann Arbor: Michigan Slavic Publications, 1979]), which accu- rately conveys both the content and the style of Avvakum’s original. Bros— trom’s translation is based on what has traditionally been called “Redaction A,” actually the third of four variants which Avvakum wrote between 1669 and 1675 (Priscilla Hunt, “Avvakum,” in Victor Terras, ed., The Handbook of Russian Literature [New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985], p. 31). For a history of the text and comparative study of its various redactions, see N. S. Demkova, Zhitie protopopa Avvakuma: Tvorcheskaia istoriia proizvedeniia (Leningrad: Izdatel’stvo LGU, 1974). 2. Alan Wood, “Avvakum’s Siberian Exile: 1653-64," in Alan Wood and R. A. French, eds., The Development of Siberia : People and Resources (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989), p. 11. 3. Hunt, “Avvakum,” p. 30. 4. For more information on Avvakum’s life, see Pierre Pascal’s definitive biog- raphy Avvakum et les Débuts du raskol (Paris: Mouton, 1969); for information specifically on the time Avvakum spent on Siberia, see Wood, “Avvakum’s Siberian Exile," which deals solely with biography, and V. Gusev, who also comments, albeit briefly, on Avvakum’s literary images of Siberia: V. Gusev, “Avvakum Petrov i Sibir’ [I620 ili 1621-1682] in V. P. Trushkin, ed., Literaturnaia Sibir': Kritiko-bibliograficheskii slovar’ pisatelei Vostochnoi Sibiri (Irkutsk: Vostochno-sibirskoe knizhnoe izdatel’stvo, 1986), vol. 1, pp. 35-40. For a discussion of Pashkov’s expedition, see Pierre Pascal, “La conquét de L’Amour: Les premiere expeditions Pashkov et ses préparatifs,” Revue des Etudes Slaves, no. 25 (1949): 7-21. 5. Hunt, “Avvakum,” p. 31. 6. Serge Zenkovsky, “The Old Believer Avvakum: His Writing,” Indiana Slavic Studies, no. 1 (1956): 20. /7. It is possible to view the Life not only as a precursor of later secular Russian literature but also as the concluding work of an earlier tradition. Bonnes, for example, calls it “the last great hagiographical work in old Russian literature" and points out that as Avvakum reworked the text “the hagiographical element [became] more pronounced with each new version." See J ostein Bonnes, “The Literature of Old Russia, 988—1730,” in Charles A. Moser, ed., The Cambridge History ofRussian Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 38-39. In the context of “Siberian literature," however, the Life is definitely a forward-looking work. 44 8. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. Between Heaven and Hell I provide this statistic to demonstrate the relative importance of Siberia in Avvakum’s mind as he penned the various redactions of his Life, and not to establish a precise figure. The percentage, of course, varies from one edition to the next. It should also be noted that Siberia is mentioned repeatedly elsewhere in the text, in connection with various incidents that Avvakum interpolates into the chronological narrative. Wood, “Avvakum’s Siberian Exile,” p. 16. Ibid., p. 24. Avvakum, Archpriest, p. 5 8. Ibid. Ibid., p. 59. Later writers have been struck by Avvakum’s infusion of spirituality into his description of Siberia. Valentin Rasputin, in an essay decrying the use of Lake Baikal’s resources for industrial purposes, begins with a verbatim quotation of Avvakum’s description of the lake, and goes on to list Baikal’s traditional epithets: the “Holy Sea," the “Holy Lake,” the “Holy Waters." Valentin Rasputin, Izbrannye proizvedeniia v dvukh tomakh (Moscow: Molodaia gvar— diia, 1984), vol. 2, p. 437. Avvakum, Archpriest, p. 59. Ibid., p. 61. Ibid., p. 59. Ibid., p. 64. 1516., p. 68. Ibid., p. 238. Ibid., p. 68. Avvakum, of course, is not the last Russian writer to represent the forces of evil with a means of transport traveling from west to east; Tolstoy in Anna Karenina and Dostoevsky in The Idiot employ trains for a similar purpose. Avvakum, Archpriest, p. 74. In a recently published Jungian analysis of literature and the experience of exile, Bettina Knapp argues that “tonnentor [and] convict are, to some degree, mirror images of each other. The tonnentor, as the aggressor, is the actor, but he also becomes a passive recipient by identifying himself with his victim. The same duality holds true for the convict, who, seeing himself in the role of the persecuted, martyred, or sacrificial agent being acted upon, also identifies with the tonnentor, thus becoming a prosecu- tor." Bettina Knapp, Exile and the Writer: Exotic and Esoteric Experiences: A Jungian Approach (University Park: Penn State University Press, 1991), p. 35. These comments are meant to be universally applicable, but their specific referent is Dostoevsky’s Notes from the House of the Dead, of which Av- vakum’s Life is often cited as a precursor. Regardless of whether Jung can be used to explain the reversal of roles, Avvakum’s surprising suggestion that he is both the victim and the victimizer of Pashkov is intriguing. Avvakum, Archpriest, p. 76. Ibid. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. Avvakum and the Genesis of Siberian Literature Ibid.. pp. 78-79. Ibid., p. 78. Ibid., p. 74. Ibid., p. 71. Ibid., p. 79. Ibid. Ibid., p. 64. 45 ...
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