AN EPITAPH TO THE RUSSIAN HOMO DOMESTICUS. TO THE MEMORY OF CHILDHOOD. MEMORIES OF KORNEI CHUKOVSKI BY LYDIA CHUKOVSKAYA
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The autobiographical work of Lydia Chukovskaya 'To the Memory of My Childhood' plays an important role in her literary output as, contrary to her works of fiction ('Sofia Petrovna' and 'Descent Into Water'), it presents the real Home. The Home being the safe shelter that ceased to exist in Russia after the October Revolution. The negation of all traditional values and of the way of living symbolised by the Chukovskis' Home in Kuokkale leads to the emergence of communistic quasi-reality being, by assumption, of anti-home nature. A man unable to 'take roots' is condemned to homelessness and the only Home he can raise is a mental home. Chukovskaya's 'To the Memory...' is her tribute to her father who ensured the happy childhood of his children and who, by doing so, let them realise in their lives the myth of the Beginning which is inextricably bound with the Family Home. Growing up in a home: the nest where tradition flourished, and the arts, creative work and science were adored has given birth to the long-lasting sense of belonging to a certain community keeping the values that should also be passed on to future generations. The whole life of Chukovskaya is a proof of her 'taking roots' and being faithful to the principles ingrained at Home. 'To the Memory of My Childhood' is one of few works in 20th-century Russian literature describing Arche-Home. It shows an archetypical model of inhabitancy and as such can be thought of as an epitaph of the Russian homo domesticus.
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