Umwertung à la Nietzsche

Ol’ga Slavnikovas Roman Pryžok v dlinu


  • Christine Engel



Ol’ga Slavnikova, conservative turn, Friedrich Nietzsche, Daniil Andreev, human rights, physical disability


The paper deals with the revaluation of values in Ol’ga Slavnikova’s novel Pryžok v dlinu. The novels of this author are regularly awarded high-ranking literary prizes even though (or because) they fit into the broad stream of Russian fiction that openly interpret the present as a time when evil powers prevail and plunge humanity, especially Russia, into disaster. Most of these works, including Slavnikova’s, can be classified in their ideological orientation as belonging to the so-called ‘conservative turn’ and make use of a narrative that Russia is being robbed of its genuine core by external threats, be it capitalism, globalization, or postmodernism. In her novel Pryžok v dlinu, Slavnikova frames the concept of compassion as the cause of all evil. She follows the line of reasoning, familiar since Nietzsche, that compassion benefits the wrong people: thus untalented, criminally inclined egoists prevail in society, whereas the gifted suffer physical and psychological harm. But Slavnikova’s argument is even taken one step further: should not ‘unworthy’ lives be killed in time? The reaction of literary critics to such a proposition was strikingly restrained since they did not even subject such a provocative question to discussion.