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Early Zoshchenko’s “middle” literary field formation

Yu.B. Balashova
80,00 ₽




Balashova Yuliya B.,

Doctor of Philology,

Professor of the History of Journalism Department

Saint Petersburg State University



The article examines the early, or “manuscript” period of Mikhail Zoshchenko’s work, covering 1914–1920. Based on the early stories (of different lengths) material; lyrical and philosophical miniatures; critical articles; writer’s letters and notes, the thesis about combining traditions of the mass magazine fiction and elite modernist literature is discussed. The humor legacy clearly attracts the unknown writer Zoshchenko (who wrote for himself) with the plot construction mechanisms: in the range of “something happens” — “nothing happens.” The “high” literary tradition was in demand by “early” Zoshchenko mainly from the literary fairy tale, short story and lyrical-philosophical essay genre traditions perspective, significant for modern culture. The indicated literary and philosophical context was interesting for a young writer due to the possibility of directly formulating a set of ontological questions about the world and human creature. The “mutually contradictory features” combination (as Yu.M. Lotman defined) forms the fiction “middle field”. The “mature” Zoshchenko unique narrative technique has a dual (in the usual interpretation — mutually exclusive) address: the ordinary readers and the connoisseur-intellectual, began to take shape in terms of updating “opposite” genre-thematic traditions precisely in the early, little-studied period. At the same time, M.M. Zoshchenko’s style (the famous “Zoshchenko’s tale”) took shape only at the next stage of the 1920s. It’s paradoxical, but true: the writer’s stylistic experiment is secondary to the plot and thematic searches.

Keywords: Mikhail Zoshchenko, humorous fiction, lyrical and philosophical prose, popular literature.



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