The artistic discoveries ofBitov, Venedikt Erofeev, and Sokolov compel a return to the most hotly debated theoretical questions of postmodemism, particularly the problem of artistic unity. The entire aesthetic of postmodemism espouses a movement "from the work to the text" (to use the title of Roland Barthes's famous essay [see 1989: 56--64]), from the illusion of a unified image (totalitarian in its nature, as the most radical postmodemist theoreticians allege), to a fragmented, self-sufficient and selfreferential text. Postmodemism's theoretical and practical revolt against any ideologies founded on the ideals of Unity and Hierarchy cannot help but impinge upon the category of artistic unity. Even the most cursory glance at Pushkin House, Moscow to the End of the Line, and A School for Fools leads to profound doubts as to the efficacy of such traditional bearers of artistic unity as thematic unity, the distant, God-like author, and, most important, the author's model of the harmony of the world and humankind. It would be tempting to argue that the theoretical underpinnings of postmodemism are incompatible with the generic qualities of literature: Where the doctrine of postmodemism triumphs, literature as art is dying, and vice versa; where artistic laws triumph, there is no room for the speculative aesthetic of postmodemism. In that case, however, one first would have to come to agree upon the absolute and fixed criteria of artistic value, and second ... Second, in the case of Russian postmodemism, to say that writers illustrate any sort of aesthetic doctrine is highly problematic. We have already mentioned that, when they were writing their texts, Bitov, Venedikt Erofeev, and Sokolov were completely isolated from postmodemist theory, which in any case was only just taking shape in the West.