Wrecking the Crazy Ship: Ol'ga Forsh's Novel in the Context of Post-Revolutionary St. Petersburg Culture

Ekaterina Yudina, University of California, Riverside

A traditional component of the St. Petersburg myth is the theme of the death of the city caused by a flood. After the Revolution of 1917, this theme gains an unusual perspective. St. Petersburg is seen as a "sunken" city where the houses are transformed into outlandish ships whose sailors-citizens have no idea of their course. The Bolshevik decree on apartments turns each habitat into a communal apartment where people are crammed like the animals in Noah's Ark. The absurdity of this everyday life is reflected in many contemporary works of art.

The paper focuses on Olga Forsh's novel Sumasshedshij korabl' in the context of the contemporary St. Petersburg culture. It draws on sources of various genres, including literary and documentary texts and works of art in order to show that St. Petersburg becomes a boat adrift in the collective Russian consciousness of the late 1910s and 1920s.