Repetition and Pil’niak’s Poetics of Trauma: “Moist Mother Earth” (“Мать сыра земля”)

Michael C Finke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article analyzes the Boris Pil'niak’s story, Moist Mother Earth. It offers an interpretive framework for a new understanding and reevaluation of certain features of Pil'niak’s prose that have long attracted notice, but been adduced as weaknesses: the prominent role of repetition and self-citation in his work; the chaotic chronological organization of his narratives; their shocking thematics, and so on. A psychoanalytic approach helps make sense of these features as related to an underlying notion of trauma; and trauma theory proves useful not only in application to horrifyingly violent events connected with peasant revolt and the Civil War that are depicted in the story, but also in rethinking the structural principles organizing the narrative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-101
JournalFilologicheskie nauki,
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Pil'niak
  • Moist Mother Earth
  • trauma theory
  • psychoanalytic approach
  • intelligentsia and folk
  • Dostoevskii
  • The Peasant Marei


Dive into the research topics of 'Repetition and Pil’niak’s Poetics of Trauma: “Moist Mother Earth” (“Мать сыра земля”)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this