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2020 Vol. 11 № 2

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Pushkin texts in the description of characters by Dostoevsky and Nabokov

DOI
10.5922/2225-5346-2020-2-4
Pages
47-57

Abstract

In his novels, Dostoevsky refers to the Pushkin text to describe characters. For Dostoev­sky, Pushkin is an ethical and aesthetic touchstone; the writer’s voice is consonant with that of the poet’s persona. In some cases, the Pushkin text is embedded in religious discourse (the parable of the prodigal son). In interpreting the Pushkin text, Dostoevsky’s characters present and disclose themselves. The ‘dreamer’ from ‘White Nights’ invokes the Pushkin text to con­vey the values of his own. In her peculiar account of the ‘poor knight’ ballad, Aglaya is trans­forming religious discourse into aesthetic and mundane. Pushkin’s St Petersburg text, whose sign is wet snow, creates the space in which contradiction-ridden Hermann (The Queen of Spades) and Dostoevsky’s paradoxalists develop. The Pushkin code in Dostoevsky’s texts is what the images of characters are built on. It is a text-producing and plot-building technique and an element of literary discourse, of author-reader interactions. These techniques are used by Vladimir Nabokov in Despair and “The Visit to the Museum”.

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