Russia, the West and Emigration in the Collection of Essays by Zinovy Zinik Emigration as a Literary Device

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Ludmiła Szewczenko


One of the predominant motives in Z.Zinyk’s collection of articles “Emigration as a Literary Technique” is the search by the author/narrator of their own self as seen by them from the inside, in the turned over perspective of the Soviet past, and from the outside, in a detached and estranged way, in the context of the emigrant’s reality.

The purpose of this article is, based on the publications dedicated to Z.Zinyk’s work, and using the complex of methods aimed at analyzing the poetics of prose texts, to:

  1. See how Z.Zinyk construes the existence of an emigrant’s life;

  2. Track how Russia and the West are presented in the collection of articles “Emigration as a Literary Technique”;

  3. Analyze how Z.Zinyk construes the terms “detachment” and “estrangement”, by using in his works the “detachment”, “new optics” and “estrangement” as poetic techniques.

The observations lead to a conclusion that the very opposition of the West vs. Russia is presented in the above collection as a comprehension of emigration not as a protest, but as a voluntary detachment from the country of origin. A change of “optics” of seeing and understanding the world in all of his publications is tantamount to the work of poetic techniques described by V. Shklovsky and Berthold Brecht. By using them, Z. Zinyk analyzes them along with the concepts of “detachment”, “estrangement”, and “defamiliarization”.


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Literary studies