Classification – name: Literary studies
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
Collection: The phenomenon of the Russian literary estate: from Chekhov to Sorokin+
Year of publication: 2020
Place of publication: Moscow


Author: Elena A. Andrushchenko
Andrushchenko E.A. “Appear gorgeous, quiet Osuga…”: originality of country “estate topos” in Dmitry Merezhkovsky’s play “Romantics”

About the author

Elena A. Andrushchenko — DSc in Philology, Professor, Leading Research Fellow, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25a, 121069 Moscow, Russia.

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D.S. Merezhkovsky’s play “Romantics” (1917) rarely attracts a researcher’s interest, although it is a notable attempt to revisit the rich material on the family history of the Bakunins contained in A.A. Kornilov’s work “Mikhail Bakunin’s young years. From the history of Russian romanticism” (1915). Merezhkovsky’s “bookishness” in the play is apparent in the creation of the idyllic image of Pryamukhino, where he relied on Kornilov’s book and composed a stylization, in which he handled “someone else’s” text and “point of view”. The stylization is reflected in the “estate topos”, which acts as a decoration for the characters’ intellectual aspirations. Coupled with intertext and mythopoetics, it establishes a myth of the intelligentsia’s religious communality, which Merezhkovsky had been developing in his fiction and public writings of those years. These have common motives of paradise, sacrifice, celibacy, unconscious Christianity, duality, detachment. The properties of the “estate topos” in “Romantics” are such that, on the one hand, it is related to the source, while on the other hand each of its elements is integrated into a particular sequence identifiable by its purpose in “estate” literature. This purports to reflect the reality, but is actually the reflection of its reflection; it binds the events to a concrete time and space, yet also affirms the idea of a timeless, universal realization, which is in line with Merezhkovsky’s mythopoetic creative consciousness.

Keywords: “estate” literature, Merezhkovsky, stylization, mythopoetics, intertext, source.