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A “School for Laughter”: Carnivalesque Humor and Menippean Satire in Krokodil

A “School for Laughter”: Carnivalesque Humor and Menippean Satire in Krokodil

Chapter:
(p.73) Chapter Three A “School for Laughter”: Carnivalesque Humor and Menippean Satire in Krokodil
Source:
Graphic Satire in the Soviet Union
Author(s):
John Etty
Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496820525.003.0004

This chapter considers how the magazine's satire resisted, disrupted or traversed boundaries and, rather than interpreting the magazine as the uncomplicated propaganda tool of the Soviet state, suggests how Krokodil may better be understood as a Menippean satire, according to Bakhtin's definition, and a "politcarnival" development in a long Russo-European satirical tradition. This new explanation of Krokodil's satire highlights the journal's heterogeneity and heteroglossia (multivoicedness), and explains Krokodil as a site of ongoing, intertextual, subtle, serio-comic critical counter-commentaries on Soviet orthodoxies and political policy. Interpreting Krokodil as a Menippean satire provides a theoretical basis for the observation that the magazine comprised diverse intertextual satirical critiques, and it thus clarifies the dialogic relationships between different schemata, and shows that (for example through the magazine's red crocodile avatar, who may be interpreted as a trickster) the magazine's satire of domestic subjects may be subtler and more implicit than its criticisms of non-socialist ideologies.

Keywords:   Menippean satire, Politcarnival, Intertextuality, Heteroglossia (Multivoicedness), Trickster

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