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"Филологические науки"


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“Mental fractures” in memoirs about N.S. Leskov

L.L. Pild
80,00 Р

N.S. Leskov v vospominaniiakh sovremennikov / Sost., podgot. teksta, komm. L.I. Soboleva, L.S. Danilovoi i V.V. Sominoi; predisl. A.M. Ranchina. Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 2018. 832 s.

ISBN 978-5-4448-0721-7


Pild Lea L.,

Associate Professor, Senior Lecturer

of the Russian Literature Department

University of Tarty, Estonia



The book in question is the full first collection of memories about N.S. Leskov, and it is notable for the high quality of commentary and text editing; for example, all Leskov’s letters, that are incorporated in memoirs (memoirs that have been published once), were re-checked by re-examining the manuscripts, which in many cases allowed to correct the errors of the first publication.As it was already stated in the book itself (in Introduction, written by A.M. Ranchin), the Russian culture has not developed a “myth of Leskov” (like the myths of Pushkin, Gogol, etc.). For the reviewer, however, it is clear that the texts collected by L.I. Sobolev are nevertheless united by certain themes, recurring often; memoirists do often, may be unwittingly even, engage in dialogue with each other, often disputing (as characteristic examples are discussed ithe descriptions of Leskov’ cabinet and Leskov’ funeral). It is suggested that the polemical spirit was strengthened after the release of A. Faresov’s book “Against the current” (1904), which combines the memoir and biographical narrative.A separate topic of the review is the discussion of what can be called “the myth of Leskov”, namely the building of Leskov’s image acceptable to the Soviet ideology: it is the proximity of essays, letters and fragments collected in the book that allows us to determine who and when initiated the Soviet myth about the writer Leskov. Expressive evidence of such Soviet adaptation of Leskov is presented in the second edition of memoirs by A.N. Leskov (notes give a clear idea of the changes made by the author).The reviewer recalls the need for the scientific biography of Leskov, yet unwritten; this book is deemed to be essential for the task.

Keywords: N.S. Leskov, A.N. Leskov, I.I. Yasinsky, A.M. Ranchin, L.I. Sobolev, the Soviet myth, commentary, textual criticism, memoirs, scientific biography, literary polemics.