Keywords: Nikolai Leskov, comic, laughter, irony, humour, caricature, “Monastic Islands on Lake Ladoga”.
For citation:

Ilyinskaya Т. B. Religious and comic in Nikolai Leskov (Travel notes “Monastic Islands on Lake Ladoga”) // Two centuries of the Russian classics, 2020, vol. 2, № 2, pp. 228–243. (In Russ.) DOI 10.22455/2686-7494-2020-2-2-228-243

Author: Ilyinskaya Т. B.
Information about the author:

Tatyana B. Ilyinskaya, ORCID 0000-0003-2690-7930, Doctor of Philology, Professor, General of the Army A. V. Khrulev Military Logistics Academy, Nab. Makarova st 8., St. Petersburg, Russia

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Received: April 15, 2020
Published: June 17, 2020
Issue: 2020 Volume 2 No. 2
Department: Russian literature XVIII and XIX centuries
Pages: 228-243
DOI: 10.22455/2686-7494-2020-2-2-228-243
UDK: 821.161.1.09"19"

Abstract: The article discusses the poetics of the comic in the artistic depiction of the nearchurch environment by Nikolai Leskov. The author of the article focuses on travel notes “Monastic Islands on Lake Ladoga” (1873). Associated with the genre of pious walking, notes concentrate various types of comic, which makes the work contrast with respect to the existing literary tradition. The comparison of the original newspaper version of “The Monastic Islands” with the final text allows one to conclude that Nikolai Leskov deliberately enhanced the comic tone of the essay when processing it for book publication. An examination of “The Monastic Islands” in the context of the apologetic literature on Isle of Valaam mentioned in them provides material for a real commentary on travel notes, revealing hints of the author who is polemicising with liberal journalism. An analysis of “The Monastic Islands” from a chosen perspective allows us to build a typology of humour and comic: a mocking laugh of an atheist, “vulgar laughter” of the crowd, comic decline of religious hypocrisy, superstitious myth-making, cutesy feminine piety, as well as linguistic comic arising from the use of colloquialism, church-slavicism and biblicism. On the basis of the complementarity of the voices of the main and secondary narrators, comic characters of the near-church environment are created including a “terrorising hypocrite”; an exalted lady of society, arbitrarily combining spiritualism with Christianity; “unwilling pilgrim”; a superstitional simple involved in the process of “religious” legend-making. The plot-chronotopic connections of the “Monastic Islands” and “The Enchanted Wanderer” printed after them explain the reasons for the decrease in the comic severity of the essay as the narrative moves to the ending.


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