The work of Aleksandr Grin (1880-1932) : a study of Grin's philosophical outlook
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There has been to date no attempt at a detailed examination of Aleksandr Grin’s philosophical views interpreted on the basis of his literary work. Whilst some critics have noted interesting links between the writer’s oeuvre and a few popular philosophers, this has usually been done in passing and on an ad hoc basis. This thesis aims to fill this gap by reconstructing Grin’s views in relation to the European philosophical tradition. The main body of the thesis consists of three parts built on and named after three essential themes in philosophy: External World, Happiness and Morality. Part One delineates Grin’s views on nature and civilisation: I argue first that his cult of nature makes it possible to conceive of Grin as a pantheistic thinker close to Rousseau and Bergson, and then I reconstruct the author’s criticism of urbanisation and industrialisation. In the second part I assess the place of happiness in Grin’s world-view, indicating its similarities to the philosophy of various thinkers from the Ancients to Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. After sketching a general picture of the concept of happiness in Grin’s works, I discuss the place of material and immaterial factors in the writer’s outlook. I also gather maxims expressed by the protagonists in his fiction that can be taken as recommendations concerning ways of achieving and defending happiness. Finally, I link happiness with the problem of morality in Grin’s oeuvre. In the final part I examine modes of moral behaviour as displayed by the author’s protagonists. Firstly, I argue that in Grin’s works we find numerous examples and themes that allow us to perceive him as an existentialist. Secondly, I indicate Grin’s adherence to rules of conduct commonly associated with chivalric literature. Thirdly, I emphasise the importance of Promethean-like characters in the moral hierarchy of Grin’s protagonists.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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