In “Russian Wanderer in the Post-Soviet Space: Homelessness in Ilichevsky’s Matisse,” Katya Jordan examines Aleksandr Ilichevsky’s conceptualization of homelessness as a state of existential not belonging that beset the author himself and others of his generation when the Soviet system collapsed in the early 1990s. The novel’s protagonist attempts to mitigate his metaphorical homelessness by choosing to embrace actual homelessness and to use it as “part of a flight to a deeper awareness” (Widmer); yet Jordan also shows that the type of homelessness that Ilichevsky depicts draws on the Russian spiritual tradition of strannichestvo, the kind of wandering that allows one to leave the secular world behind in pursuit of a spiritual destination, never to return to either the physical or the spiritual point of origin. By bringing into the discussion the writings of Dostoevsky, Berdyaev, and Ioann Lestvichnik, Jordan shows that although homelessness in Matisse has lost its religious underpinnings, it nevertheless remains primarily a spiritual concept that allows an individual to break free from the mass society one is living in.
Dostoevsky, Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, 26: 137. See Jesse V. Clardy, Betty S. Clardy, The Superfluous Man in Russian Letters (Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1980). Also see Frank Friedeberg Seeley, “The Heyday of the ‘Superfluous Man’ in Russia,” The Slavonic and East European Review 31, no. 76 (December 1952), 92–112.
See Marc Raeff, “Recent Perspectives on the History of the Russian Emigration (1920–1940),”Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History6, no. 2 (Spring 2005): 319–334. Also see Greta Nachtailer Slobin and Katerina Clark, Russians Abroad: Literary and Cultural Politics of Diaspora (1919–1939) (Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2013).
Elena Rykovtseva, “Razgovor ob adekvatnosti literaturnoi kritiki s Alloi Latyninoi i Aleksandrom Ilichevskim,”Radio Svoboda, December 14, 2007, http://www.svoboda.org/a/426188.html (accessed December 30, 2016).
Sergei Shapovalov, “Sovetskie revoliutsionnye prazdniki v 1918–1920-e gg.,”Teoria i praktika obshchestvennogo razvitiia1 (2010): 288–294. See also Liudmila Shumikhina, “Estetika paradov i demonstratsii kak prazdnichnykh ritualov sovetskoi kul’tury,” Teoria i praktika obshchestvennogo razvitiia 5 (2012): 205–208; Malte Rolf, Soviet Mass Festivals, 1917–1991 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013).