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Leskov researchers have often and justifiably focussed on the influence of Old Russian literature and folklore in his prose. However, 19th century Russian literature is equally essential to his work. Leskov often borrowed plot devices, images, and names from his contemporaries; these aspects of his work, namely his 'intertextuality' and literature-centrism are under-appreciated. This paper demonstrates this aspect of his poetics using his play The Spendthrift, showing that The Spendthirft presents a combination of allusions to 19th century works including A.S. Griboedov's Woe From Wit, N.V. Gogol's The Inspector General, A.N. Ostrovsky's Krechinsky's Wedding and A.V. Sukovo-Kobylin's The Case. Using the terminology of postmodernism, the term "pastiche" may be rightfully applied to Leskov's play. Whereas in postmodern art, pastiche is the result of the author's frustration with everything already having been written, Leskov uses others' texts for polemical purposes with the intention of formulating his own literary position.
This paper is devoted to the influence of Chodasevič’s poetic technique on Mandel´štam’s poetry. In this work we make an attempt to analyze Mandel´štam’s late Novye stichi (“Ne govori nikomu…”, “Kuda kak strašno nam s toboj…” and “My s toboj na kuchne posidim…”), which are connected to each other through the theme of fear. From the point of view of the poetic technique, these texts are also connected to each other through the literary device of the unexpected twist of meaning, which was associated with Chodasevič’s lyrics in Mandel´štam’s consciousness.
The article investigates how Leo Tolstoy’s economic ideas are embodied in the plot of his short-story “Polikushka” (1863). Research shows that the fluctuation in the name of a sum of money the protagonist Polikey loses can be explained by the “double exchange rate“ of the ruble, i.e the lag between the rate of the silver ruble and assignation ruble (1:3.5) which existed in Russia from 1839 to 1851. As the main character loses the paper (called “devilish” in the drafts) money, “Polikushka” fits into the ramified European literary mythology of banknotes as the tricks of the devil. In addition to European parallels, the article discusses possible Russian plot sources dating back to Nekrasov’s poetry and the prose of Pogodin, Potekhin and Dostoevsky. In the second section, the article explores the narrative patterns of the story and demonstrates that it is impossible to see the reason for Polikey’s death only as his mistress’ desire to test and rehabilitate him. The narration is organized as a network of mutually exclusive viewpoints, correlation of which develops an ugly portrait of both the old landlady and Polikey, equally guilty in the tragic ending of the story. In the last two sections, the article reveals the ideological underpinnings of such a skeptical Tolstoy’s view on communication between peasants and the educated elite in his pedagogical writings of 1861-62. Here Tolstoy wrote how harmful philanthropy, wrong education, false ideology and unreasonable circulation of money could be for peasants. In conclusion, the article offers a possible source for Tolstoy’s viewpoint in the political and economic ideas of P.-J. Proudhon, with whom Tolstoy communicated in Brussels when writing “Polikushka”.
The description of Polovtsian-Russian contacts― embodied not only in constant lesser and greater military conflicts but also in peace treaties, military-political alliances, inter-dynastic marriages, family ties, and finally, simply in personal relations― occupies in the oldest Russian chronicles devoted to the pre-Mongol period a significant place.The breadth of coverage is barely less than that devoted to the history of the Riurikid clan itself. However, the modern reader of the Russian chronicle, having become interested in the history of Russo-Polovtsian interactions, comes up against two partly discouraging, partly disorienting circumstances. On the one hand, this history, for all its eventfulness, gives the impression of something monotonic and undifferentiated: over the course of a century and a half Polovtsian invasions and answering campaigns of the Russian princes are recorded in the sources so frequently that it is difficult to detect any indication of intensification or weakening of military conflict. One is struck by the similarity of those events which fall at the boundary between the 11th and 12th centuries and those which occur a bit more than a century later. In the first as in the second of the indicated periods, we learn about the alternating success of Russians and Polovtsians in battles not far from Pereiaslavl’, about the capture of Russian princes by the nomads, about the fact that another prince marries his son to a Polovtsian woman, about flight—successful or unsuccessful—of yet another Riurikid to the Polovtsy
Any person, even with no knowledge about Russia, easily identifies the image of St. Basil’s Cathedral in the Moscow Red Square. This cathedral is the symbol of Russia, yet few people know what made St. Basil so famous. This saint wandered about naked, bullied passersby, brawled at the marketplace and once even smashed a revered icon. Saints such as Basil overturn the conventional concept of sainthood. Why do they get away with any bizarre act that they commit? What is saintly about them?
Such saints are called ‘holy fools’. The concept of holy foolery is a spontaneous response of the religious consciousness to the “secularization” of the church; it is an attempt to blow up the world which is “lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot”.
In his lecture Ivanov will identify the prerequisites for this phenomenon, trace the way it was shaped by a religious mind, and follow the emergence of the first hagiographic texts telling about these paradoxical saints. Ivanov will demonstrate how actual towns’ madmen were “promoted to the rank” of holy fools, while subsequent generations of hagiographers sought to “fit” the actual insanity in the earlier established canon.
Sergey Ivanov will track down holy foolery from its origins in Egyptian monasteries through its evolution in the cities of Byzantium, describe its prime and its decline followed by a new flourish and a gradual fading on the Greek soil. He will also consider other phenomena similar to holy foolery, especially in medieval Italian culture. Ivanov will proceed to analyze Russian holy foolery, which borrowed some elements from the Byzantine model, but also reinterpreted it quite a bit. Examining both types of holy foolery side by side will shed new light on both cultures. Holy fools vanished in modern Greece. In Russia, however, they are deeply worshiped by the believers up till this day. What is happening to this phenomenon in a modern, secular society?
This review article is the analysis of recent historiography on the issue of military efficiency of the Russian officer corps in 1800–1914. The author reviews three monographs published not long ago (Gudrun Persson's book on Russian military thinking of the second part of the 19th century, John W. Steinberg's research on Russian General Staff in late 19th – early 20th century and Dmitrii Kopelev's study of the German party in the Russian Navy and Fleet) and gives an interpretation of academic research of the theme, approaches applied and findings presented.
The novel Doctor Zhivago, first published in 1957, immediately provoked critical debates that continue to this day, and has been the subject of numerous scholarly studies (C. Barnes, B. Gasparov, P. A. Jensen, A. Lavrov. M. Aucouturier, O. Raevsky-Hughes, I. Smirnov, L. Fleishman, Iu. Shcheglov, A. Khan, and many others). On one hand, Boris Pasternak’s positions (founded on his religious historiosophy) with regard to the events, people and situation that he depicts have formed one of the central topics of critical and scholarly contention. On the other hand, it is the specificity of the novel’s poetics and most centrally of its generic identity, the laws of its organization of novelistic time and problems of the prototypes of its central characters, that have served as objects of debate. It is our contention, however, that the choice of genre (that we have defined as being that of “a historical novel of a new type”) was fundamental for Pasternak and determined the entirety of the novel’s poetics. As we will demonstrate, the author was continuing the tradition of Walter Scott, which had been rejected by other contemporary Soviet authors who described the history of the twentieth century. In taking up work on the novel, Pasternak emphasized many times that he desired to present an image of the course of history of the first half of the twentieth century—the “forty- five-year era,” as he named this period several times in his letters. This dissertation describes the author’s search for a means for the artistic embodiment of contemporary events and his final choice of the “Walter Scott tradition” of historical novel for Doctor Zhivago. In this connection the work includes marked reflections of C. Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities, Pushkin’s The Captain’s Daughter and Dubrovsky, and L. Tolstoi’s War and Peace, as well as sharp polemics with historical works of prose fiction by Pasternak’s contemporaries and with the highly ideologically charged Soviet historiography. Separate consideration will be given to the specific events, situations and names that Pasternak considered it necessary to include in his narrative, presenting in this way his own version of a hierarchy of characteristic phenomena of these decades. The dissertation demonstrates that in Doctor Zhivago history is presented simultaneously as a force, organizing the actions of people and forming their characters and world-views, and also as a chain of events to be understood and made meaningful by the protagonists, and finally as an ineluctable law of human existence that has been reestablished by the force of artistic creation—by the poetry of Iurii Zhivago. At the very foundation of the Zhivago’s poetry lay the ideas of his uncle—the philosopher Vedeniapin, who defines history as an element of the Christian comprehension of the world. The central place of these characters in the novel defines the nature of Pasternak’s techniques with prototypes, by which he embeds into his characters the views, characteristics and fates of various of his contemporaries (A. Bely, A. Blok, D. Samarin, the author himself, and others). We also propose explanation of the work’s many anachronisms, which become a means for communication of the laws of the post-revolutionary period (1917-1943)—a period that “fell” out of history. At the same time we will show how historical time is reestablished in the Epilogue that completes the novel and in the “Poems of Doctor Zhivago.” This dissertation may be characterized as interdisciplinary. In it, the methods of literary- historical and intertextual analysis are applied. The text is examined in relation to social, cultural and historical phenomena of Russia during the first half of the twentieth century.