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Emma Andijewska's Roman pro dobru liudynu : The Displaced Persons Camp as Purgatory

Description: CIUS Seminar Audio.

Lisa Efimov-Schneider, currently a Ph.D. candidate in Russian Literature at the University of Toronto, gave a talk entitled, "Emma Andijewska's Roman pro dobru liudynu : The Displaced Persons Camp as Purgatory." 

In Andijewska's Roman, the Displaced Persons camp is introduced first in its historic sense — a place signifying political and physical-geographic displacement—but then is extended to represent a state of total psychic disturbance. Supported by a complex narrative mode in which semantic and symbolic confusion is deliberately created, Andij ewska suspends all standard literary expectations and judging mechanisms for the characters in the novel as well as for the reader. Social distinctions (intellectualism vs. simplicity); moral values; chronologically linear development; the distinction between dreams, visions, and reality; the efficacy of logical, as opposed to supernatural or irrational, explanations— all of these are eliminated. This allows for an investigation of the quality "goodness" which is entirely uninhibited and unqualified. Suspension of standards of judgment makes each event within the world of the camp equally meaningful in the growth process of its primary heroes; this compels the reader to pay equal attention to the minutae of detail and to the supposed "main events" in recognizing "the good person."

The symbol of purgatory is a useful one in characterizing the D.P. camp condition depicted by Andij ewska. Like the camp world, the purgatorial state is one within which rites of passage take place, eventually admitting a person into a better world. These rites, or developmental stages, are alike in both camp and purgatory because they are stripped of any socially defined elements, and have to do only with the inner moral growth of each separate personality.

Found in CIUS Newsletter Vol 3 Issue 2 (Spring 1979)
Author: CIUS
Publisher: CIUS
Date: March 19, 1979
Contributor: Lisa Efimov-Schneider
Language: English, Ukrainian
Original Format: Magnetic tape, audio cassette





CIUS, “Emma Andijewska's Roman pro dobru liudynu : The Displaced Persons Camp as Purgatory,” CIUS-Archives, accessed September 27, 2023,
Unless otherwise noted, this work is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license .