Abstract

In 1839, the Prince Odoevsky wrote a piece of fantasy, entitled The Year 4338. It was a surrealist forecast of a distant future, and was narrated by the "voiceless one," who purports to be a Chinese student writing from Russia. The world has been divided chiefly between Russia and China in the year 4338. The English have long diminished in strength, and the Americans have auctioned their cities "on the public market," in fact the latter are the only benign menace in this utopian future. Love of humanity is so prevalent that all misfortune has been removed from even literature. In short, while China trails behind as an inferior world countetpart, Russia is the hegemonic idyllic nation in the world; indeed, Russia has become the world. Odoevsky is unabashed in his presentation of a perfect world under the auspices of Russia, hence, accordingly, the nationalist sci-fi work was quite popular in its time. It satisfied the longing of many fanciful Russian imaginations, and assuaged their inadequacies about the position of Russia in the present, as well as the future. Nationalism is an unfortunate aspect of many countries, yet for Russia, its presence has historically been particularly salient. It was as if the West needed spiritual resurrection, and only Russia could deliver this consecrated utopia. The Russian empire contained the "Third Rome," Moscow, and was therefore the only legitimate home of Christianity. Messianic rhetoric aside, nationalism, as has been the case for other countries as well, is a product of inadequacies and fear; ultimately, a drive for the subordination of the "other."

Disciplines

Other Languages, Societies, and Cultures