Global and National Totalitarianism from a Literary Perspective

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Date
2020
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Abstract
Totalitarianism is a mass political phenomenon of the 20th century, which occurred in several states. According to the theory of totalitarianism, this is an era of mass terror, when full control over citizens is established by the state and there is no mechanism for restricting control (K. Friedrich, Z. Brzezinski). At the same time, the main axis of totalitarianism are ideology, one-party system, ultimate authority of the state apparatus and security services, censorship, mass repressions, etc. Totalitarianism, dictatorship, autocracy, as parallel concepts and synonyms are used both at the global and national levels. It should be noted that the national totalitarianism of different countries reveals signs of a common model (H. Arendt). A point of our interest is the presentation of global and national aspects of totalitarianism from the perspective of fiction based on the methods of comparative research. For the analysis, we took a totalitarian narrative and two novels of two small nations, Georgia and the Dominican Republic, - “Oh World (Kakhetian Chronicles)” by Georgian writer and director, national award winner, Zaira Arsenishvili, and “The Feast of the Goast” by Peruvian writer, Nobel Prize Winner, Mario Vargas Liosa. Both novels describe the era of totalitarianism and mass terror. The development of action and the historical era in the novels coincide with each other. The period of the Soviet leader, Stalin’s and the dictator of the Dominican Republic, Rafael Leonidas Trujillo’s regime begins from the 30s of the 20th century and continues in the case of Stalin - until 1953, and in the case of Trujillo - until 1952 as the first person of the state, and as an influential person - until 1961. The central characters of the novels, girls, are trying to avoid direct persecution through forced migration. In one case, internal, and in the other, external migration serves the same goal - to survive. Both works mark out common signs of totalitarianism, which include gender aspects; demonstration of the narrator’s, main character’s life full of tragedies; characteristics of dictatorship; characteristic features of totalitarianism, etc. Totalitarianism is a source of important observations from a literary perspective.
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Global Totalitarianism, National Totalitarianism, Dictatorship, Fiction
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