Parr, Jocelyn (2011) Uncertain Weights and Measures. Masters thesis, Concordia University.
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Uncertain Weights and Measures is a novel set in 1920s Moscow, where the principal character curates a collection of elite human brains, one of which is Lenin’s. It is from an unspecified later perspective that Tatiana L-- narrates the years 1920 – 1930, years in which she lived in Moscow and eventually became the director of the historic Pantheon of Brains. This museum, otherwise known as the Institut Mozga, housed the collections of the first neuroscientists, Drs Bechterev, Burdenko and Vogt and was open to the public between 1928 and 1930. While some of the characters, such as the doctors, are based on historical figures, others, such as Tatiana and her husband Alexandr P--, are my inventions.
Tatiana, and the museum itself, embodies one of the central paradoxes of the early Soviet regime. She believes that history determines human development and that a new type of human being will be born out of the ideals of the Revolution; yet, she also believes that individual genius exists. It is a conflict between Marxist determinism and Romantic individualism. For Tatiana, this conflict manifests in two ways: in love and in work. The novel is her attempt to reconcile these contradictions in herself and in her memories of 1920s Russia. Primary concerns are the intersections of neuroscience and propaganda; memory and history; love, emigration and melancholy. The central theme is that totalizing systems like Communism, rationalism and positivism fail us by denying irrational elements of the human spirit.
|Divisions:||Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > English|
|Item Type:||Thesis (Masters)|
|Date:||15 April 2011|
|Thesis Supervisor(s):||Byrnes, Terence|
|Deposited By:||JOCELYN E. PARR|
|Deposited On:||09 Jun 2011 11:05|
|Last Modified:||20 Jun 2011 08:30|
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