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The Problem of Folklorism in Russian Prose of Early Twentieth Century

Oshchepkova AI* and Ivanova OI

Department of Philology, North-Eastern Federal University, Russia.

*Corresponding Author:
Anna Igorevna Oshchepkova
Head of the Department of Philology
North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk
677000, Russia, the Sakha Republic (Yakutia)
Yakutsk, Belinsky st., 58, Russia
Tel: +7 (4112) 49-68-53
E-mail: [email protected]

Received Date: May 05, 2016; Accepted Date: June 20, 2016; Published Date: June 28, 2016

Citation: Oshchepkova AI, Ivanova OI. The Problem of Folklorism in Russian Prose of early Twentieth Century. Global Media Journal. 2016, S3:25

Copyright: © 2016 Oshchepkova AI, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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Russian literature at the beginning of the twentieth century deals with cardinal worldview shift towards the loss of infernality, coherence of poetical view, appearance of trend towards strengthening foundations associated with form and creativeness. Henceforth, the prose was searching for experiments directly with the form of the piece: from the speech level to the reconstruction of genre model, originating in folklore tradition. Analysis of symbolist prose by Andrey Bely and realistic stories of V. Korolenko reveals latent or obvious folkloristic layer, manifesting itself in synthesizing both fairytale structure on the whole, and the elements of mythological narrative, dating back to deep mythological semantics. The brightest forms of folklorism transformation involve the stylization and imitation of mythological narrative, brightly reflected in the stories by Andrey Bely and V. Korolenko written between 1900 and 1905. In his Siberian literary works V. Korolenko focuses on the folklore imitation of the other’s oral tradition (the Yakut epos olonkho) alongside with folklore stylization of modernist proseby. Imitation of the Yakut folklore adds to Korolenko's stories true artistic presentation of Siberian everyday life, people and nature. Diverse variations of folklorism in the plane of mythological foundations enable us to make a conclusion about strengthening form-creative trends in the prose of the early twentieth century, about the search for different rhythmization means, expansion of semantic field of mythological associations, allusions, the use of wide range of stylization methods, not limited by the speech level, and fairy-tale plot components, myth in structuring narrative text


Folklorism; Folklore stylization; Imitation; Mythologism; Narrative; Story; Fairy-tale; A. Bely; korolenko VG


The article deals with the study of folklorism in the literary text in synchronous aspect, which is of more typological, theorized character; its peculiarity is to use folklore consciously having a certain purpose in mind. The synchronic approach is characterized by special literary folklorism, with its focus on the folklorism and folkloristic tradition, but not on folklore itself; although, another type of association between literary text and folklore is possible; it is determined not by author's conscious intention, but rather by the text and language themselves (such definitions, as "genre memory", "language memory", "archetype", show quite obviously, what is meant here). In this regard, it is interesting to analyse how the folklorism in the Russian prose of the early twentieth century was being created. The stories by the symbolist poet Andrey Bely and the realistic writer- V.G. Korolenko are taken as the material to analyze the folklorism of such type. Modernist short story, essentially, has poetics unlike the one of short story of the realistic school. At the same time, both stories of this period have clear focus on folklorism, which is represented differently in these texts. The distinctive features of the symbolist texts are mythopoetics and folklorism (Z.G. Mints, E.V. Pomerantseva, G.A. Levinton, A.V. Lavrov). The issue of folklorism in symbolist poetics is naturally associated with theoretical and folkloristic works by Andrey Bely. Andrey Bely’s creative work presents different variations of parafolkloric nature of the text (G.A. Levinton, V.N. Toporov): their plot structure and stylistic peculiarities despite resembling folkloric ones present the phenomenon of literaryorder/quality?

Scholars share the opinion that the folklorism of Korolenko's proseis a complex, multifunctional phenomenon. The writer actively introduces almost all familiar folklore genres, both poetic and prosaic, into the texts of stories and essays. However, the way of their introduction and peculiarities of functioning in the narrative structure present quite a complex problem. The typology of texts in this case is quite expensive: from evident, quite conscious imitations of folk verse, in the realistic short story ("Marusia's Settlement" by V.G. Korolenko") to author's "folklore-like" stylizations of symbolist prose of various kinds ("The Bush" by A. Bely These texts presumably reveal not only typological similarities and differences of two text types (folklore and literary), but also the peculiar borderline character of Russian short story (modernism and realism) of the early twentieth century, with its focus on the language, stylistic playing with genre-stylistic folklore layers: from the "speech genres" (in M.M. Bakhtin’s interpretation), speech nature of the proverb and saying, to explicit expressions.


The traditions of folklore narration had a certain impact on prose of the early twentieth century. We should emphasize, that we do not mean here the genetic links between pieces with a certain fabulous or epic plot, with individual folklore images and motives, but rather their deep association with the folklore tradition in the type of literary narrative itself, as the pieces of these times entirely belong to their literary epoch. Analysis of mechanisms of using traditions of mythofolklore narrative in these pieces, will provide an opportunity to give a detailed account of distinguishing features of their ”parafolklority”. The story "The Bush" by A. Bely was published in the magazine "Golden Fleece" (1906, No. 7-9), the date of writing was mentioned at the end: Dedovo, May 29, 1906. "The Bush" is understood by the author himself as a result of his use of the folk tradition. It is typical, that Bely himself points to the presence of stylistic elements of folklore origin in the story, such as "the image of fairy-tales", "bylina mood" [Bely 123]. Scholars are also consentient unanimous in recognition of folklore base of this story. V. Piskunov notes special folklore rhythmicity of the piece, saying, that "the prose" of the story "The Bush" sounds "in the spirit of stylized bylina verse and "poetry" of folk exorcism" [1]. The scholar unintentionally emphasizes typological (to some degree) correlation between "verse" and "prose" in rhythmical unity (whole?) of this piece.

V.N. Toporov distinguishes in this piece, on the one hand, the inner genetic relation with the Blok's theme in its autobiographical context, and, on the other hand, with the story "The Silver Dove" by Andrey Bely himself. Moreover, the researcher traces quite definite dynamics in the evolution of Bely’s mythofolklore complex, expressed in the shift from the story "The Bush" to the collection of poems "Ashes", and from it to the story "The Silver Dove", what is expressed, in particular, in the recurrent image - the symbol of "Bush" in these pieces (Toporov) [2]. Folklore stylization in this story is clearly expressed at the stylistic layer of the text structure. It involves the plentitude of inversions, sometimes, combined pressure of the inverted constructions to a variable degree; the repetitions, including the gradational ones; expanded comparisons; the metaphor, the epithet and the metonymy are mainly presented as a principle of image expansion. However, the largest degree of concentration of profolkloric description is expressed in the narrative structure of the story. Repetitions, comparisons, metaphors and other figures of speech are presented not as individual, isolated stylistic devices, but rather in strictly definite plane of space: in sophisticated, ambiguous, in most cases dual structure of the author's word and in plot structure of the story. The narrative structure of the story is typologically associated with the narrative sequence of the fairytale plot. Definite affinity of the whole structure of the piece with the fairytale composition is clearly traced in the story. The nomenclature of simple constituents of the fairytale plot, personages' functions, discovered by V.Ya. Propp, is the initial one in the analysis [3].

The problems of V.G. Korolenko's creative work associations with mythology and folklore attracted the attention of such literary theorists, as A.I. Malyutina, E.K. Mikson, Z. I. Vlasova, K.F. Pasyutin, S.S. Folimonov, S.M. Telegin. To perform the posed tasks, such research methods, as theoretic analysis (the analysis of literary and folkloristic works in order to determine the methodological basis), and comparative historical one (the analysis of folklore, documental and other sources) were used. The works on folkloristic and literary studies by G.E. Ergis, G.A. Byaly, and the collections "Russian Literature and Folklore" served as methodological base of the current research.

V.G. Korolenko spent almost three years in exile in Yakutia, in Amga village: from November of 1881 until September of 1884. He is a unique representative of Russian writers, whose creative work was so deeply influenced by Yakut reality because of the exile length, susceptibility, sensitivity, natural tenderness of his artistic nature, flexibility of imagination, ability to penetrate to other people’s consciousness. Bright originality of Yakut culture, greatly different from the European one, also played an important role. The story "Marusia's Settlement" was firstly published in collection of magazine "Russian Wealth" in 1899 under the title "Marusya". In 1903, when preparing the third book of his "Essays and Stories" for publishing, Korolenko significantly revised the story and gave it another name - "Marusia's Settlement". The story was written between July 30 and August 9, 1899, what is proven by the note in Korolenko's notebook [4]. The basis of the piece is the story of the settler written in Amga. In the first edition of "Marusia's Settlement", Korolenko recollected the "conversations with settlers and vagabonds, which filled the emptiness and barrenness of our life to some extent" [5].


An important peculiarity of flash fiction of the early twentieth century is a complex polygeneity and heterogeneity of images and plots. The plot scheme of the story "The Bush" corresponds to the narrative structure of the fairy-tale. The story has one set of functions, forming the complete composition of the "single-move" tales of magic, where the move is carried out through "struggle-victory", using the terminology of V.Ya. Propp ("defeat" in "The Bush"). At the same time, the plot scheme in the narrative contexture of "The Bush" is also pervaded by the elements of heroic epos (epic songs): battle description, epic characteristic of the hero, snake-like image of the Bush. As a result, the story is presented as a literary combination of elements of two folklore genres - fairy-tale and bylina. Nevertheless, a defining role of the plot core belongs to the traditional fairytale composition.

The story "Marusia's Settlement" has focus on Yakut folklore, in particular, on Yakut heroic epos olonkho in order to reflect authentically cultural and everyday life peculiarities, material and spiritual culture of Yakut people. Picturesque landscapes depicted by V.G. Korolenko can be compared with the description of Middle world in the epos. To depict the folk characters, the writer also uses Russian folklore. Portrait characteristics of Stepan the Wanderer/Vagabond is projected in the author's consciousness to the famous images from folk songs and legends. The heroine of the story Marusia is compared to the larch - the Tree of world in the culture of Siberian peoples. In this case, the writer is probably affected by familiarity with olonkho about the bogatyr Er Sogotokh, as the Yakut consciousness identifies a person with nature images , the collective author of olonkho notes, that hips, shins and forearms of the bogatyr are similar to thick stocks of larches


The experience of folklore stylization in the story "The Bush"

The main parts of the story narrative , obviously, correspond to the traditional functions of fairytale personages, revealed by V.Ya. Propp. The story begins with the apostrophe: "Hey, Ivan Ivanovich, where are you going?". The use of exclamation "hey" signalizes the author's focus on fairy-tale manner and colloquial speech. It shall be noted, that the story also ends with the same motive of "Ivan Ivanovich coming back". Accroding to M.M. Bakhtin, "An element of skaz, that is, an orientation toward oral speech, is necessarily inherent in any narrated story" [6]. B.V. Tomashevsky, in his turn, determines the narrative feature by means of "introduction" of the storyteller: "The introduction of story-teller is accompanied, firstly, by introduction of frame motives of the story-teller and, secondly, by developing the skaz manner of language and composition" [7]. Thus, the frame composition of this story shows the skaz manner associated with narrative of folklore type.

The story begins with the transformation motive: Ivan Ivanovich passes through certain transformation, firstly turning into the burdock, and then - into Ivanushka the fool. Such replaceability of the plant and the character motivates the anthropomorphism of inanimate creature and, on the contrary, reverse metamorphosis of the person into biomorphic state. The main character Ivan Ivanovich is transformed into Ivan the fool, who lives happily under the bush ("initial situation" according to V.Propp): "Like a dipsomaniac he drank silence – and infusions of bright stars, of vivid grass, and of air... The fool spoke with sand and burdock, and fragrant honey flowed from his mouth into the flowers" [1]. In the fairy-tales, the initial well-being is presented as a contrast background for future trouble. In this story A. Bely also uses a traditional devicein which "happiness prepares misfortune". An interdiction is addressed to the hero ("Interdiction" function). "However, when the dawn comes, don't follow us". The hero, naturally, violates the interdiction ("Interdiction violation"): "Once Ivanushkawas exposed at the ravine’s edge, an accessory to curiosity, to look out through the burdockand rocks at the bush’s humble worship of te sunset". The hero recognizes the dawn as his soul , which, as it happens, is stolen by the Bush ("stealing"). "And that soul was his imprisoned soul; the soul, taken prisoner by the monster". "Stealing" function introduces "the villain" into the narrative, the Bush turns out to be "the villain", which captures the hero's Soul. Till this moment, the Bush pretended to be goodnatured and hearty ("Trickery"): "Talked with Ivanushka goodnaturedly". It is remarkable that the hero sings a song of complaint about his stolen Soul. This form is more typical of the epic narrative, where the hero communicates in this way, that he is ready for confrontation and asks for help in further battle (”beginning counteraction"; request for help): "With breast, torn by weeping, we begin the struggle!... Ivanushka howled with lachrymal cry". The horse helps the hero ("helper"): "Once, while Ivanushka was thinking his thoughts, a little, gray, flower-eating horse, surrounded by fies, toddled up... Bowed, asked the fool to follow her..." [1].The horse brings the hero to the gardener's daughter (passage): Ivanushka followed the prophetic beast..." (Bely 2000: 228). The hero tries to carry the gardener's daughter away by force: "Ivanushka seized her madly, rushed away from the bushsorcerer with his precious burden" (Bely 2000: 230) (an attempt of theft). Theft is not the only, but leading, key form of plot introduction in the folkore fairy-tale. The hero of the fairytale solves the initial trouble in forms, corresponding to the introduction. Ivanushka did not manage to take the girl with him as he is impeded by the Bush.

In the story, the hero decided upon counteraction with the Bush. Battle description begins with the fantastic transfiguration of Ivanushka into mighty bogatyr: "The force was breaking the breast, madly and mightily..." ("transfiguration"). The Bush is the first, who strikes a blow "Its left hand, which boiled like a green-furious water-fall wild shield-arm laid on slasher's shoulder with damn hurt" (Bely 2000: 230). The Bogatyr falls, the Bush addresses him: "Against the Tsar? How could you, a slave, dare you to rebel against the Tsar?..." (Bely 2000: 231) (the details of quarrel). The golden ring comes to help the Bogatyr (magical agent) against the dark cloud ("magical helper"). Ivanushka cuts the Bush's cheek ("branding"), the Bush tells calling exorcisms ("request for help). His druzhina comes to help him: "The horizon was foamed up with dust: the thievish storm with its druzhina hurried up to help the Tsar; as if the invisible cavalry shook the surrounding" (Bely 2000: 231). The battle ends with the Bush's victory: Ivanushka loses his conscience. "Dark night fell on the warrior’s eyes; it spread out over everything" (Bely 2000: 232). It is necessary to point out, that the structure of Ivanushka's battle with the Bush has the composition similar to the battle description in epic, bylina narrative. In epos, the battle consists of the following components: the beginning of confrontation - description of bogatyr's might and monstrous force of adversary (the latter frequently, has a snake-like appearance); the description of battle - the Snake is usually the one who attacks first, the bogatyr falls and asks the heavenly powers for help; the bogatyr usually gets magical agent as help ; battle continuation - the bogatyr strikes a crushing blow; the Snake is wounded to death, asks the evil forces for help; then, the help comes as stronger adversary; the battle end - the Snake is defeated (the bogatyr either kills him, or expels). The author, describing the bogatyr's might, reconstructs the archaic representations of physical power of the epic hero in his text: "Whom and how the bogatyr will turn his palm, biting power will raise in him with fever; the exhausted bird crashing into a stone with its breast; this strength tears all the leaves off a tree. But a man? A man’sconsumed breast burst with acid; trying in vain to put out the fire in his breast, a man breaks into a run and is destroyed. That’s the kind of bagatyr’s strength that Ivanushka had in his breast" (Bely 2000: 231). Similar to epic stories, the Bush (the bogatyr's antipode) assumes the appearance of a snake: "wound round, curled under Ivanushka's feet; charmed him with its poisonous aroma..." (Bely 2000: 231).

Unlike the epic bogatyr, Ivanushka stays defeated: he falls asleep. In Slavonic epos, the motive of dream is quite common. The dream is always presented as a peculiar metaphor, focused on further plot development, the solution is always rational and univocal. Sometimes the dream can act as a form of informing about what happened - the hero retrospectively gets to know about the events, which he could not prevent.

When he wakes up, Ivanushka turns out to be sick Ivan Ivanovich ("transfiguration" function). All peripetia, connected with the gardener's daughter, with the Bush, seemed to be a dream to Ivan Ivanovich. Alongside with that, the motive of dream here has more complex character functionally. In folklore texts this motive is static, but here it allows interpreting the plot in symbolist context. The dream in this story dates back to different sources, among which the Gogol's tradition of dream image implementation is the most probable one. The dream in Gogol's "A May Night" and "A Terrible Vengeance" provides an opportunity to disclose the esoteric semantics, connected with the soul mystery", "all dreams depict the situation of "captivity" [8]. The hero's dream of Bely's story is closely connected with his soul capture. Besides, the soul capture takes place in mythological distant past. Once a handsome man with a lilac spot of a burn on the cheek visited the hospital ("pursuit"), Ivan Ivanovich recognizes the Bush in him ("recognition") and makes a decision - to come back home, to the fields ("return”). The hospital turns out to be the dream, and moreover - the prophetic dream. A motive of prophetic dream has the tragically providential character in the short story as well as in the heroic epos. The dream about the lost battle foreshadowed a tragic end to Ivan Ivanovich. In the representation of Bely-the prosaist, the dream implements the idea of coming back to fundamental principles of one’s existence, to some mythological times, that happens only through the metaphysic transformation of soul.

Folklorism of the story "Marusya's Settlement" by V.G. Korolenko

The story starts with the landscape, however, as the events at the beginning of the narrative take place in summer, then, this summer landscape stands in marked contrast in color scheme and author's mood to the writer's winter landscape, customary for the Siberian prose. The epithets, used by the author, are absolutely different: "rank grass", "green wall", "emerald green". In the next sentence, Korolenko's style is similar to the epic style, a little deflated towards the end of the phrase: "the droves of fillies walked "freely" along these rivers; they belonged to Yakut "bogatyrs" of one clan, who managed, in pristine nature, to seize the best plots of God's land" [9]. It is possible to compare this fragment with the description of the middle world in Yakut heroic olonkho epos: "Eight-rimmed, eight-edged/eight-brimmed, eight-rimmed?, with disagreements and disturbances, elegant, beautiful, primordial mother native land..." [10]. The investigator G.U. Ergis writes, that the middle world in olonkho is presented as a wide, unrestricted and fertile country. Its surface is covered with rich and diverse vegetation<…> the fields and meadows are favourable to horse and horned cattle breeding. The Yakut, Evenk and other peoples live on this ground. It is their native motherland [10].

The Korolenko's statement about olonkho in the "History of My Contemporary" presents the doubtless interest. He mentions, that olonkho is not a written poem. It is born, created in the process of performance; this is the idiosyncrasy of its existence. Korolenko emphasizes that "the Yakut poetryhas something, that we do not have - a lot of spontaneity. The Yakut expresses his feelings immediately, finding rhymes and a peculiar rhythm for them without difficulty..." (Korolenko 1989: 347). Then, dealing with the act of performing olonkho, Korolenko writes: "The Yakuts frequently sit by the fireside, and, fixing their eyes on the fire, listen to the long improvisation, the whole poems... Some poems can be sung for several evenings in a row, every listener’s attention is captured". Here Korolenko also tells about rich depictive/artistic? capacity of the Yakut language. When, for instance, the mowing is described, then there is "the description of all mounds of different forms: the mounds with round heads, the mounds with sharp heads, and there is a special noun for each form" (Korolenko 1989: 344-345) [11].

Later, Korolenko continued to show the interest to Yakut folklore, when he came back from exile. In many letters, addressed to T.A. Afanasyeva, he asks to write down the Yakut songs and olonkho for him and to send them immediately. In the letter from Nizhny Novgorod, dated October 5, 1885, Korolenko writes: "I can't forgive me my laziness, which prevented me from gathering the Yakut fairy-tales and songs. Please, be so kind, communicate my friends my request: to write down and send me several songs and fairy-tales, and, especially, about the conquest by Russians. In this, you, Tatyana Andreevna, can help them very much: please, some evening, make Osip Vasilyevich to write down "olonkho" on the basis of your translation. I will be much obliged to you" (National archive of the Sakha Republic [12].

The narrator with his companion, losing their way, bumped into the real divided/cultivated? vegetable garden and the real Little Russian lodge, that was in sharp contrast with the Yakut yurts and looked improperly/irrelevant amid the surrounding taiga. Here they met Marusia and Stepan, united by the "vagabond" marriage, and their worker/labourer Timokha. They came to Yakutsk district for various reasons: Stepan and Maria are the vagabonds, and Timokha suffered for "rural community". Stepan is a adventorousand courageous man, dissatisfied with leading anaimless life in far settlement. His appearance description has a lot of contradictory features: "He was a tall man, with wide shoulders and slender slim figure. He had light-blue eyes, fair hair and almost white moustache, in a strange contrast with darkly tanned red face. He could be called a handsome man, if not the dimness of eye gaze, as if covered with something, and too fair moustache on the dark face. His lips were thick, with a strange rough wrinkle, spoiling quite favourable general impression. Something broken was felt in the figure, not quite normal, although very strong" [2]. In the research "The Siberian Stories by V.G. Korolenko and their folk-poetic basis", A.I. Malyutin notes: "/Based on folk poetics the following most important images-personages of Siberian stories were created: the peasants Makar and Timokha, the coachmen Mikesha and Fedor Silin, the prisoner Yashka, the vagabonds Fedor the Homeless, Vasiliy, Stepan. Like heroes of folk songs, legends and fairy-tales, they are characterized by dissatisfaction with dull, bitter reality, ceaseless drive to another, better life" [13]. The image of Stepan evokes/has associations with the image of the legendary robber Kudeyar, who served as a prototype for the personage of the poem by N.A. Nekrasov "Who is Happy in Russia?", a sinner from the legend, told by the wanderer Ionushka in the chapter " A Feast for the whole village". Kudeyar is one of the favourive/beloved folk heroes, anthemed/glorified? in the pieces of folk art. It is him about whom people composed one of their best songs: "Don’t make a noise, the green oak grove, Don't prevent me, a good fellow, from thinking a thought, as I, a good fellow, shall go for interrogation in the morning, to severe judge, to the Tsar himself..." According to folk stories, "his face was comely", "his body was well-built", "he had superior intelligence" and "heroic strength". The investigator A.A. Krupp mentions, that "the historical prototype of Kudeyar was the robber Kudeyar Tishenkov, who lived in the second half of the sixteenth century" [14]. After the quarrel with the Tatars, Stepan takes charge of the Yakuts for some time, helps them to guard against Tatar robbery raids. Prior to Stepan took lead over them, peaceful and shy Yakut had tried only to protect themselves. Their protection, according to Korolenko, "...almost always was inefficient and cowardly naive. Their desolate, scattered yurts experienced the whole horror of unprotected expectation. Sometimes, going along the tracked roads, one could hear sudden desperate cry, as if somewhere several people were being slaughtered. It was some yurt population to which two or three families came together for a long winter, who warned the unkown traveler, that they were nor asleep and were ready for defense. However, these threats made an impression of fright, almost pleading" (Korolenko 1971: 349-350). When Stepan became the "Yakut general", "...the Yakuts changed, as if somebody inspired the unprecedented valor in the hearts of these shy and intimidated people" (Korolenko 1971: 359). The author's sympathy is in favor of the shy Yakuts, oppressed by the Tatars, but themilieu recognized the neutrality of the political exiles, and, no matter how difficult and bitter the situation is, the autobiographical hero and his companions are to keep the role of indifferent eyewitnesses. Sometimes this role depresses Korolenko very much, he writes: "I'm not the swimmer in this sea, there is no the place for me in this struggle; I can't make a step here. It seemed to me, that there is nobody in this helpless world, covered with snowstorm, who could stand up for the rights courageously and straightforwardly... Those, as seemed to me, who wanted to do something, are unskillful, powerless and coward. And those, who can - do not want to do anything... Each person only trembles for himself, there is nobody, who could understand, that his cause is a part of the common cause..." (Korolenko 1971: 353). In Korolenko's diary note, dated February 22, 1883, we find a story about the conflict between the Tatars and the rest of population, according to which the Yakuts do not look like so helpless. The Tatar Vaska tells about a Yakut woman, who closed three Tatars in the barn (two of them hung themselves there), and she killed the fourth from/with the gun. Vaska does not condemn, but rather praises this Yakut woman, obviously, considering her behavior to be fair. On the other hand, he explains the Tatars’ behavior: "How won't he steal. The first problem, - what courts are here!”

Certainly, this argument is fair and is brilliantly proved by his own experience. He was caught in stealing, and he came to the city in order to come back immediately.

His second argument is deeper: “The tickets (exit permits) are not given. Therefore, one cannot leave, and nowhere to earn. So, what is left to do is to steal”. The story turns out to be quite curious. The man was caught. The community sends him to the city, but he comes back to the same community to be put under surveillance until the court decision on the case is pronounced. The case is being solved for years, and the surveillance suggests that the community has no right to provide him with an exit permit, thus keeping him on its neck/ make provisions for him. It is not their duty to feed him, but he provides for himself by means of robbery and burglary. You need to eat, but you cannot leave to earn your living. Thus, the appeal to the government for assistance only strengthens the evil: the government will not send the thief away, but, on the contrary, fix him to that place, tying the hands for earning, but, of course, won't deprive him of the opportunities to steal. One needs to eat; besides, the situation increasedhis courage: as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb"[15].

In this fragment Korolenko criticizes the social structure, government representatives, for whom this situation is advantageous, as well as the laws, which generate robbery. The patience of even the most obedient person can run out, and he takes the most desperate chances to protect his property. Then Korolenko writes: "In Russia, over and over again you face the cases of atrocity, with cases of brutality and cruelty, as if not corresponding to the people’s character. Now I begin to understand such cases to some degree. It is the spite of the person, who was hold with tied hands for a long time, who "accumulated" discontent in his soul during legal procrastination, who was made angry, irritated and rattled by constant impunity of his enemies. No matter how meek the Yakuts are, even they start practicing vigilantism. The same virtuous Vaska could not sit for two weeks in summer, as he had a good many Yakut pellets in his rump. Another young Tatar walked with tied head, one more person had his arm bonded. Thus, the only way out , left to/for? population, between the oppression by the thievish Tatars and selfish connivance of authorities. So far the Yakuts have been taking the path timidly, but one should not be very penetrating to predict further steps in the same direction" (Korolenko 1925: 287-288). In the story, the government representative (the assessor) explains the situation by the multitude of exiled people, because, according to the law, their number must not exceed one third of the local population. In fact, their number is the same as that of the locals. All the Tatars, captured by the Yakuts, are liberated, as the prisons are packed with alcohol smugglers. Criminal exile was a heavy cross for native people of Yakutia. In particular, a political exile R.A. Steblin-Kamensky wrote about it in his article "Note about the Influence of Criminal Exiles on the Yakut Population" [16]. He characterizes the criminals as, persecuted and ruined by prison and transportations people, unable to work. Meanwhile, according to the law of that time, criminal exiles had to be imparted/ provided with lands, whereas the lands, suitable for ploughing, were not enough even for the needs of local population. Local people had to provide the exiles with butter, milk and other food. Steblin-Kamensky mentions, that the settlers "... hung about..., drinking, behaving disgracefully and frequently committing crimes" (Shirina 27). In his article he also publishes the lines from the document of 1886, according to which the relations between the settlers and indigenous people look like dead-end battle, which can become the carnage (Shirina 28).

The heroine of the story Marusia dreams about real church wedding. She wants to lead peaceful peasant life, cultivating her garden. Living far from native place, she created her corner, where everything had "Marusia's imprint, the one of her personality and her Motherland" (Korolenko 1971: 326). She is a person with once broken fate, and Korolenko compares her with a crooked larch: "Coming back from the forest, at the forest border, my eyes encountered a young larch. Several years ago, the larch suffered from some attack: probably, some enemy put her larvae into the core, - the tree growth distorted: it contorted forming an arc. But later, after several years of struggle, the thin stock became straight again, and further growth went on normally in previous direction: dry branches and twigs fell under the tree, and the crown of thick greenery/green leaves? grew exuberantly and beautifully at the top above the curve" (Korolenko 1971: 338). Maria also wants to forget, to cross out this dark line of her life and to live like everyone else. Finally she manages to do this, but not with uneasy Stepan, but with plougher Timokha.

Siberian peoples consider the larch to be the World Tree; it can be used in funeral ceremonies as a symbol of rebirth [17]. The Yakut consciousness tends to compare the man with the images of nature. For instance, the description of the appearance of bogatyr Kyomus Kyyryktiy in olonkho "Powerful Er Sogotokh" is as follows: "... his hips are like strong larks, his shins are like barkless larches, his forearms are like the knotless larches – that’s the man he is" [18,19]. In the same olonkho, the heroine's tearful eyes are compared with the rain cloud (The Yakut heroic epos 217). Korolenko was familiar with the content of olonkho about Er Sogotokh. The confirmation can be found in the "History of my Contemporary", in which he writes: "I remember a long poem about a man, which is called "Ereydakh-Bureydakh, Er Sogotokh", - in Russian it was something like "the Adventures of Lonely Bachelor" [20]. Korolenko was far from idealizing people. For many years spent in prisons and exile, he met different people, but even in the most down-and-out ones he saw, first of all, the God's creature, a man, who like other people, strives for happiness. However, people have different views on happiness, sometimes achieved through deep suffering, like the one of the heroes of "Marusia's Settlement". Severe conditions taught the writer to search for the light. It is also the influence of Yakutia. As time went on V.G. Korolenko, became more critical in his evaluation of rebellious capabilities of people of “the lower depths”. The same person is the prototype of heroes of the stories "Sokolinets" and "Marusia's Settlement", written with the interval of 15 years. If in the first case the writer poetized his hero-vagabond in every possible way, then, in the second case, he subdued all artistic means (plot situation, portrait, author's remarks, details) to expression of the idea of unrelizability of protest of declassed people. Stepan is a man, full of strength, not deprived of good motives, turns out to be superfluous man everywhere. His "virtue is unconfident and is ashamed of itself", and the strive for social justice makes him a stranger in the customary vagabond milieu. Attachment to this milieu deprives Stepan of his home and the working life is impossible for him: "There is no real working nature in him..."

In our opinion, the writer’s changed worldview of does not emphasize and poetize the poetry of liberty, it is not a major point for him. The leading idea, determining the whole structure of characterology of the free vagabond type is the sharp and bitter affirmation of fundamental degeneracy, severely traumatized character and the psyche of a man in captivity. Hero's propensity to predation, opportunism, almost sick strive for material values are explained by the feeling of centuries of oppression ingrained in his human nature. His originally good nature is deformed by the feeling of unfreedom and bondage, settled down forever in his soul [20-22]. A man, who was in the lower depths e, in Korolenko’s opinion, frequently irrespective of his will, is unable to revive; it is almost impossible to erode a strive for profit and power over others in such personality.


A consistent pattern of appearance of folklore tradition in Russian prose of the early twentieth century is finally conditioned by the evolution of the writers themselves. The short story is the first piece among the "parafolkloric" texts by writers of those times, determining the character of folklore narrative principles, absorbed by them, and, respectively, affecting genre originality of Russian prose of the early twentieth century. The short story "The Bush" is illustrative for the early creative work of A. Bely not only in terms of author's direct use of folklore narrative, but also, what is especially symbolic, in the plane of the first experience of creating such type of text , which reconstructs the poetics of text, stylistically close to folklore at all levels. This is what determines the significance of this piece: it creates the stage in the evolution of early creative work by Bely. The story by Korolenko is linked with oral tradition in a different way, rather than the modernist text. Folklore, first of all, plays the ethnographic role for the writer in connection with depiction of authentic Yakut reality and description of Siberian character. Folklorism for Bely is a peculiar game with "the other’s" word, whereas use of the Yakut tradition by Korolenko becomes not so much the consequence of literary fashion for nationality/folk motives? and exotica, but rather the attempt to see the Yakut landscape with the eyes of the Yakuts themselves. The images of oral folk poetry are either organically included in the artistic fabric of the story "Marusia's Settlement", or affect the authors' artistic concepts and image system. Folklore elements in the piece by V.G. Korolenko organically merge with elements concerned with real events as well as concrete and historical ones. Folklore in the story fulfills different ideological, aesthetic, compositional functions and is subject to certain transformation in accordance with the creative design. Korolenko has an ability to transform definite subjects and notions onto the plane of philosophical generalizations, to associate the artistic material with real events, history and character of the people. At the same time, it is notable that despite the different aesthetic and worldview orientations, Bely and Korolenko experiment with "the other’s" text, thus creating the unique narrative poetics of Russian short story of the early twentieth century [22].

The research findings revealed, that the problem of literary interpretation of folklore tradition has great prospects in terms of analyzing relations between folklore poetics imitation and folklore stylization both in theoretical aspect, and in proper literary one.


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