Classification – name: Literary studies
Pages: 249-266
Publisher: A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IWL RAS Publ.)
Rights – description: Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 (СС BY-ND)
Rights – URL:
Language of the publication: Russian
Type of document: Research Article
Collection: Estate Real — Estate Literary: Vectors of Creative Transformation
Year of publication: 2021
Place of publication: Moscow


Author: Ekaterina E. Dmitrieva

About the author:

Ekaterina E. Dmitrieva, DSc in Philology, Leading Research Fellow, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 a, 121069 Moscow, Russia; Professor, Russian State University for the Humanities, Miusskaya 6, 125993 Moscow, Russia.


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The article is devoted to one of the most significant elements of the estate structure of France in the 17th century, which found its most vivid expression in the park of the famous country residence of the French kings — Versailles, — and its reflection in literature. The Versailles labyrinth, created during the reign of Louis XIV and destroyed at the end of the 18th century together with its unique fountains that illustrated Aesop’s fables, remaines in the cultural memory thanks to the competition of three French poets of the second half of the 17th century — La Fontaine, Perrault and Benserad — who translated the fables. The rivalry of these authors for the right to illustrate fountains, one of whom, in fact, gave the king the idea of the maze (Perrault), is examined in the paper in the context of the dual symbolism of the labyrinth: propaedeutic and moralistic — and at the same time playfully-preciously-erotic. The passage through the maze, as well as through the Versailles park follows the principles of the of geese game (Jeu de l`oie).

Keywords: symbolism of the maze, Versailles labyrinth, Louis XIV, La Fontaine, Benserad, Perrault, geese game (Jeu de l`oie).