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Anti-theodicy narrative in the novel “Vadim” of M.Yu. Lermontovова

Huang Xiaomin
80,00 ₽

UDC 82.161.1-3        


Huang Xiamin,

Doctor of Philology,

Head of the Russian Language Department

Renmin University of China (Beijing)




“Vadim” is the first experience of Mikhail Lermontov in prose. Some Russian scholars define it as ahistorical novel. The combination of themes of individual revenge with the theme of peasant revolt is a peculiar feature of “Vadim”. The author of the novel raises the question of the origin of evil, presupposed by “heocracy”, and by analyzing the hero Vadim’s revenge motive, the anti-theodicy’s narrative mechanism of the novel can be explained. The scene in which the hero abets his companion to hang the captured old man is a direct experiment of anti- theodicy and a powerful testimony of the writer's anti- theodicy standpoint. According to Leibniz’s theory, Vadim's evil belongs to moral evil. Lermontov’s view of good and evil echoes Leibniz’s theory. Leibniz believes that evil exists to show good and make it the object of opposition, and that man can achieve perfection in the process of winning good over evil. From the novel two righteous images — the nameless old man and the wife of a soldier, persisted in their beliefs in times of crisis, which showed the writer’s inheritance of theodicy’s standpoint. Before hanging, the nameless old man recalls the death of Jesus Christ and at the last moment of his life still believed that Jesus had conquered death. The scene of the torture of a soldier’s wife resembles the “martyrdom of the righteous”. For the truth, for what she believes, she is willing to sacrifice herself. This is the proof of the two repeated verses in the novel: “Come to me all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest”. Lermontov’s theological view in “Vadim” is paradoxical.

Keywords: Lermontov, “Vadim”, Leibniz, theodicy, narrative.



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