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Abstract

I sought to answer four broadly-construed, fundamental questions when writing this dissertation: 1) What is the role of literary fiction in contemporary Russian culture, and what is its relationship with other elements of culture, e.g., mass culture, popular culture, and myth? 2) How is Russian postmodernist literary fiction related to its preceding movements, e.g., Sots-Art, Socialist Realism, and modernism? 3) What is the role of the genre of utopia in the literary culture of the post-Soviet era, and how is such utopianism related to Soviet myth, mass culture, and Socialist Realism? 4) What can the sub-genre of dystopia tell us about the future of Russian literary fiction, and how can we reconcile the current manifestations of dystopian fiction with both extant models of utopian literary fiction and contemporary Russian culture? I answer these questions through engagement with works of writers of particular significance to both post-Soviet, Russian culture and also to the literary culture that it breeds.,No other writers in the post-Soviet era remain as relevant to a study of the place of literary fiction in contemporary Russian culture as Vladimir Sorokin and Viktor Pelevin. For this reason, I believe that this examination of post-Soviet, Russian literary fiction, through the lens of individual works by Sorokin and Pelevin, will accurately address the contemporary role of literary fiction in Russian culture and helped bridge the gap between Western and Russian understandings of the crisis that has been identified in post-Soviet, literary culture. This examination offers some sort of an answer to the question of the state of literary fiction a quarter century after the fall of the Soviet Union and provides an understanding of how post-Soviet literary fiction appropriates myths to influence worldviews and inform post-communist culture.,I concluded that 1) Literary fiction continues to be a mythogenic agent in post-Soviet, Russian culture. 2) Such mythopoesis has contributed to the persistence of the novelistic form, in that same culture, despite the looming sense of crisis. 3) As it makes its comeback, the genre of Russian literary utopia and, by extension, its subgenre, dystopia, have greatly contributed to the continued centrality of literary fiction to Russian culture.

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