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The Shifting Object of Desire: The Poetry of Oleksandr Irvanets

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image of Canadian-American Slavic Studies

Oleksandr Irvanets produced some of his best known works shortly after Ukraine's declaration of independence in 1991. The writer's irreverent, ironic, and humorous reworking of the Ukrainian self-image is analyzed. Using the writings of Slavoj Žižek and Jacques Lacan, the author argues that the poems surprise the reader by dislocating the object of desire from its expected, “traditional,” place, and relocating it in another, wholly unexpected, one. In this way Irvanets reveals existing fantasy structures both in the patriotic poem and in the Soviet cliché. He questions their validity and suggests the need for a new sense of identity.


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