Atheist autobiography: politics, the literary canon, and restructured experience

Collection:
Mokslo publikacijos / Scientific publications
Document Type:
Knygos dalis / Part of the book
Language:
Anglų kalba / English
Title:
Atheist autobiography: politics, the literary canon, and restructured experience
Keywords:
LT
"Atlydžio" epocha; Ateistinė propaganda; Ateistų autobiografijos; Ateizmas; Autobiografija; Jonas Ragauskas; Netikintieji; Propaganda; Socialistinio realizmo literatūra; Sovietinė ideologija.
EN
Atheism; Atheist autobiographies; Atheist propaganda; Autobiography; Epoch of the Thaw; Jonas Ragauskas; Non-believers; Propaganda; Socialist Realist literature; Soviet ideology.
Summary / Abstract:

ENThe case of atheist autobiographies is a good example of the subjection of literature to the political aims to transform society and create a new man in the epoch of the Thaw. At the beginning of the sixties the Central Committee of the Lithuanian Communist Party legitimized the atheist autobiographies of ex-priests and ex-monks as effective means of atheization politics. They were practiced by propagandists alongside (and often instead of) instruction based on the doctrine of scientific materialism which was not very effective. The appreciation of the atheist autobiographies in spite of their deficiencies against the letter of the doctrine was a pragmatic step of Lithuanian politicians stimulated by the vivid interest of society in autobiographical stories. The literary status of autobiography as a personal story also contributed to the creation of a space for deviations with respect to doctrinal truths. Ragauskas’s autobiography "Ite, missa est!" as the first model autobiography kick-started the autobiographical canon, which introduced the model plot of the transformation into a non-believer and developed a model character. The canon provided discipline to the actual as well as potential experiences of the atheist transformation and drew a line between the model way and other ways of becoming an atheist. The canonic model stories were literary narrations which aspired to be authentic personal experience. The authors of the autobiographies in their propaganda work publicly repeated their stories of transformation, thus providing a strong additional legitimation to the autobiographies as stories presenting true experience.The context of Soviet ideology required that the model autobiographic transformation be universally valid. As plot in these stories dominated character, the universal atheist transformation in practice became a high probability. The case of the atheist autobiographies in Soviet Lithuania gives an understanding of the modus operandi of (Socialist Realist) literature that serves as a direct means towards the political aim of creating the new man. People were attracted to the autobiographical literature that was politically promoted as a functional alternative to the indoctrination in MarxistLeninist scientific materialism. The literary story of the model experience bridged the gap between the political aims of atheization and personal experience. This kind o f literature was very instrumental in internalizing political goals by positioning personal experience within the framework of a politically shaped and controlled plot of inner transformation. [Extract, p. 77-78]

ISBN:
9781618119773
Related Publications:
Nugenėta pušis : ateizmas kaip asmeninis apsisprendimas tarybų Lietuvoje / Nerija Putinaitė. Vilnius : Lietuvių katalikų mokslo akademija : 2015. 374 p.
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https://www.lituanistika.lt/content/81149
Updated:
2020-04-18 07:37:04
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