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ISSN 0869-5377
Author: Azarova Natalia

Azarova Natalia

Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Linguistics of Russian Academy of Sciences, 1 Bolshoy Kislovskiy ln, Bldg 1, Moscow 125009, Russia.


The Spanish Format of “The Moscow Diary” / Logos. 2018. № 1 (122). P. 37-58
annotation:  This article attempts to explain the re-naming of Walter Benjamin’s The Moscow Diary to The Spanish Journey (Spanische Reise) and uncover the Spanish format of The Moscow Diary. The article explores its similarity to the traditions of medieval Spanish-Jewish travelogues (primarily in the works of the acclaimed twelfth-century traveler Benjamin of Tudela) and applies the hypothetical concept of “Spain” to the text of The Moscow Diary. This format becomes apparent in the methodologies of textual construction, in the non-contradictory juxtaposition of the commercial and the sacred, and, more importantly, in the conceptualization of space: this journey to “his people”, through Jewish communities, create a kind of discontinuity, a series of thickenings and sparsity, in those places where they are absent. This is an adventure from room to room, across enclosed environments. This principle only changes in the final part of The Moscow Diary, and there appears a sort of generalized view of “the other’s” space. In The Moscow Diary, much like the Jewish travelogue, there are visible traces of a messianic approach to the discovery and collation of the misplaced and recovered entities that can be called “your own.” Furthermore, the travels themselves can be thought of as a search for a possible, (perhaps ideal) place for life, and, in relation to this, a vision for a better world. Spain as a utopia might be related to the idea of a revolution; Moscow, in this sense, is the incarnation of such a place. The Spanish Journey formulates the possibility of the utopia as such. Or, perhaps, any utopia encountered in an adventure might be called Spanish.
Keywords:  Walter Benjamin; “The Moscow Diary”; Benjamin from Tudela; travelogue; Spain; Yiddish; utopia
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