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In Wingless Desire in Modernist Russia, Yelena Zotova argues that the Russian Modernist prose of the 1920s underwent a peculiar transformation due to a series of radical shifts in societal values, with each subsequent change thwarting Russia's volatile axiological hierarchy.
While the New Economic Policy of 1921 provided economic relief for some, it was an ideological rollback for others.
Industriousness and love of technique and technology, typically associated with Pushkin's Salieri, became virtues, while the intrinsic value of God-given talent and non-utilitarian art were officially nullified by the Bolshevik state.
Under these conditions, a new literary type emerged and envy, described as "wingless desire" by Russia's chief poet Alexander Pushkin, obtained new ownership as the envied became the envier.
Superimposing twentieth-century theories of envy onto Mikhail Bakhtin's "Author and Hero in the Aesthetic Activity" (1923), Zotova proposes that Salieri's envy could be the wingless embryo of the Bakhtinian authorship.
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