How to Kill Drones with Words: Theurgic Rebellion in Viktor Pelevin's Prose

Wednesday, November 7, 2018
5 p.m.

Goergen 101 (Sloan Auditorium)

Timothy Portice
Assistant Professor of Russian
Middlebury College

Viktor Pelevin (b. 1962) is regularly regarded as one of the most important and well-known Russian writers of the post-Soviet period. Portice will focus on a narrative from Pelevin’s 2010 collection, Pineapple Water for the Beautiful Lady, in which a misanthropic and disillusioned young Russian leaves his homeland to wage a personal war against American drone forces in Afghanistan, armed only with his knowledge of words. He will examine how Pelevin’s protagonist, Savelii Skotenkov, fits into a larger Russian tradition of Russian Orientalist heroes, while highlighting the resonance of Skotenkov’s “word magic” for contemporary Russian and American political discourse today.

Sponsored by the Russian Studies Program