Venedikt Yerofeev, Moscow–​Petushki (1970)
Self and others
in The Existential drinker
Abstract only
Log-in for full text

In Venedikt Yerofeev’s Moscow–Petushki the character Venichka, a version of the author, takes an increasingly surreal train ride towards Petushki, a town at the end of a Moscow line which he believes to be like paradise. Unlike other drinker novels, where the committed central drinker’s behaviour is regarded as outside social norms, Venichka is surrounded by like-minded Russian souls who also drink continuously. One of the central conceits of the novel explored in this chapter is thus the role of Venichka as a Russian Everyman who is simultaneously alienated from the state, and paradoxically also from the people – drinking is his chosen vocation rather than a form of dulling self-medication. Venichka’s alienation is manifest in his ongoing argument with God, Russia, and fate. The chapter assesses how the novel refuses to privilege rationality, philosophy, or empiricism in its determination to fully exist in a country/world which lacks any kind of coherence, and offers a comparison between this novel and Exley’s A Fan’s Notes in their treatment of the individual, drink, and the nation state.

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 263 87 6
Full Text Views 35 0 0
PDF Downloads 16 0 0