Reminiscences of Russian culture in A. S. Byatt’s novel The Children’s BookAbstract
Having considered one of the interviews, given by A. S. Byatt, the author concludes that the writer’s attitude to Russia is largely mediated by the Russian literature from Dostoevsky and Tolstoy to Pelevin. The researcher brings forward the problem of mythologization and demythologization of the image of Russia, and stresses the fact, that the fictional (Tatarinov) and real (Stepnyak, Kropotkin) images of Russian anarchists are given in the perception of the British. The author comes to the conclusion that the reminiscences of Russian culture do not so much support the national myth as they reveal the state of European culture on the eve of the First World War. The author focuses on the references to the Russian tomb (Raca or reliquary) at the beginning of the novel and Diaghilev’s ballet “Petrushka” in the last part. These reminiscences are closely related to Europe (England — Gloucester candelabrum, Germany — music by Richard Wagner, puppet theater). Therefore, raca (reliquary) is only supposedly called “Russian,” and the names of the creators of “Petrushka”, Russian composers and artists (Stravinsky, Benois, and others) are not mentioned at all. Nevertheless, the reminiscences of Russian culture unexpectedly bring together the images of religious (relic) and carnival (Petrushka doll) cultures, which are constantly “reviving” in the works of various types of art.