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Title:P. I. Mel'nikov-Pecherskii in the History of the Russian Novel
Author(s):Shapovalov, Veronica
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Pachmuss, Temira A.
Department / Program:Slavic Languages and Literatures
Discipline:Slavic Languages and Literatures
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, Slavic and East European
Abstract:Both opponents and admirers of of Mel'nikov-Pecherskii's literary works agree that he gave a precise description of everyday life, religious ceremonies, customs and traditions of Old Believers in the Transvolga district.
The dissertation proposes a different approach to Mel'nikov-Pecherskii's novels and reappraises his literary reputation in the history of Russian literature. The literary and historical sources of the novels In the Woods (1871-73) and On the Hills (1874-81) are identified and analyzed. The identification and the analysis of literary and historical wellsprings affords a deeper understanding of the events in the novels, as well as of the characters and their actions.
Mel'nikov-Pecherskii's novels go far beyond the frame of the ethnographical novel. In the novels In the Woods and On the Hills, Mel'nikov-Pecherskii turned to the crucial theme of Russian literature--the search for the supreme truth. Almost all of his characters search for the Absolute, although the idea of this Absolute is different for each of them. Some of the characters are engaged in a search for a true religion, or in God-seeking.
Like Dostoevskii and L. Tolstoi, Mel'nikov-Pecherskii in his novels shows man as prey to mysterious forces within and without which can lead under certain circumstances to his destruction both moral and physical. In his two novels, Mel'nikov-Pecherskii uses middle-class characters as material for tragedy and shows that tragedy often arises out of their social and class experience. Moreover, Mel'nikov-Pecherskii uses the classical elements of tragedy in a purely Russian setting, thus creating Russian counterparts to the classical tragic heroes of world literature.
The novels In the Woods and On the Hills are steeped in Russian mythology and Russian folk and Biblical symbolism. The recurring mythic symbols create a mythic time-setting in the novels. The dissertation explores Mel'nikov-Pecherskii's use of mythology and symbols as creating the necessary literary premises for the development of Russian symbolism. The novels In the Woods and On the Hills may be looked upon as a link between the Russian literary traditions of the 19th century and the works of Russian symbolists. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)
Issue Date:1988
Description:294 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1988.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8823247
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1988

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