THE PROBLEM OF IDENTITY IN S. SERGEYEV-TSENSKY’S NOVEL CRUELTY: TRANSFORMATION FROM LATVIAN INTO RUSSIAN
Published: 29 Sep 2021
Abstract: After the end of the Civil War in Russia, the writer S. Sergeyev-Tsensky, who consciously abandoned the idea of emigration, remains in Crimea, where in the early 1920s he wrote four works: MIRACLE, IN THE THUNDERSTORM, CRUELTY and THE PROFESSOR’S STORY. The short novel CRUELTY was first published in two issues of the journal NOVYY MIR in 1926. In this novel, S. Sergeyev-Tsensky traces the path of a boy who was born at the end of the 19th century in Talsi - a small Latvian town; the writer tries to answer the question of how historical events and social factors influence the formation of the protagonist’s personality; how in the depths of a calm, remote German-Latvian Protestant town and in the unpretentious life of ordinary peasants revolutionary ideas are ripening; what makes cruelty, a thirst for struggle, faith in revolutionary ideals wake in a calm, peace-loving boy. The sprouts of the subsequent cruelty are rooted in the events of the Russian Revolution of 1905, when the protagonist’s childhood ends. Revenge for the death of his older brother becomes the meaning of the young hero’s life. The revolutionary events of 1917 and the Civil War that followed make the hero rethink his attitude to the world. One of the key issues for the protagonist is the problem of identity. The hero who in the story is perceived both as a Latvian and as a German, before his death, declares that he is a real Russian. S. Sergeyev-Tsensky was one of the first in Russian literature who created a typified portrait of a red Latvian rifleman, who would become one of the central characters in Soviet literature, both Latvian and Russian.
Keywords: identity, ethnicity, nationality, russian literature
Cite this article: Zans Badins. THE PROBLEM OF IDENTITY IN S. SERGEYEV-TSENSKY’S NOVEL CRUELTY: TRANSFORMATION FROM LATVIAN INTO RUSSIAN. Journal of International Scientific Publications: Language, Individual & Society 15, 103-110 (2021). https://www.scientific-publications.net/en/article/1002274/
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