The article tends to grasp the Pushkin Myth in Konstantin Paustovsky’s
works. The author explores the influence of the official commemorative discourse of the Pushkin celebrations of 1949 (the 150th anniversary of Pushkin’s birth) on the play “Our Contemporary”. She also examines Paustovsky’s essays
which depict the writer’s visits to Pushkinskye Gory, where the poet’s estate was
located. The article enlightens the historical and cultural context of “Our Contemporary”. The method of discourse analysis was applied to the speeches of
Konstantin Simonov and Sergey Vavilov. The analysis is based on the conception of Pierre Nora’s lieu de mémoire as well. The first part of the article
describes the key components of the commemorative discourse of the 1937 and
1949 anniversary celebrations. During the postwar period, a certain allusiveness
emerges in the texts on Pushkin, which could be explained as a consequence of
manipulation with linear time that resulted in definite historical parallels between
the 1812 War and the Great Patriotic War. At that time, the Pushkin celebrations
were focused on regional lieux de mémoire. Thus, Tsarskoye Selo and Pushkinskye
Gory were quickly restored after the war to demonstrate the power and growth
of the USSR. The second part of the article pinpoints on an inner opposition of
Paustovsky’s works to the solemn anniversary rhetoric of Pushkin’s celebrations
of the 1930s–1940s. In his essays, Paustovsky decreases ritual pathos that official
speeches about Pushkin and Pushkin’s places contain. He emphasizes the metaphors of devastation and abandonment unusual in Pushkin commemorative discourse. The prevalent image of monumental Pushkin is replaced by a depiction of
a real man who was transformed after his death into the genius loci of Mikhailovskoye estate. The third part of the article is the analysis of the architectonics of
“Our Contemporary”. The opposition of two locations – Odessa and Mikhailovskoye – constitutes the composition of the play. However, scenes that occur
in Odessa and Pskov Governorate include hidden parallels that materialize in
common motifs, locations, and personage’s functions. The issue that is explored
in the concluding part of the research is how Paustovsky’s play refers to a campaign against “cosmopolitanism”. The blending of Pushkin’s poems and ideological implications produces a complicated interaction between authenticity and
artificiality. Paustovsky applies the rhetoric of the Cold War period in a broad
context (e.g., use of the adjective “rootless”). He provides a different interpretation of the Pushkin myth as an object of people’s love and worship. Personages
referred to the people are regarded as witnesses who give testimony on the poet’s
life. They also positively appraise the poet’s “words”. The author concludes that
“Our Contemporary” reflects the pivotal issues and motifs of Soviet commemorative discourse of the Pushkin celebrations. Nonetheless, Paustovsky describes
the poet not as a monument but as a genius loci. Focus on everyday life and
the incorporation of Pushkin’s poems reinforce the image of the poet as a private person. Other characters give testimonies that constitute Pushkin’s biography
Original languageRussian
Pages (from-to)25-46
JournalТекст. Книга. Книгоиздание
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

ID: 104867132