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Sign Systems Studies

Volume 31, Issue 2, 2003

Marina Aptekman
Pages 465-481

The problem of language and reality in Russian modernism
The conception of mirotvorchestvo in A. Remizov’s Rossiya v pis’menah

Alexej Remizov is usually regarded by literary critics as a Symbolist rather than a Futurist writer. However, I would posit that Remizov similarly to the Futurists viewed language as “logos,” bozhestvennii glagol. According to the mystical interpretation of the famous words “At the beginning there was Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God”, when God was creating the world he named the objects, and these abstract names became a force for the appearance of an object in physical reality. In the light of these words, The Medieval mystical and magical philosophers claimed that one could restore the divine language of Creation, possess the ability to create objects anew, and thereby become Creator himself. One can argue that a major goal of Remizov was similar to that of his Medieval predecessors: to reveal the mystical power of language in order to create, not to describe reality. The paper analyzes three chapters from Alexej Remizov’s Rossiya v pis’menah, a book which can be read as a manifesto of Remizov’s attitude toward language and reality, and discuss possible sources that might have influenced Remizov in his attitude towards language.

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