Journal Article

The Paschal Archetype of Russian Literature and the Structure of Boris Pasternak's Novel <i>Doctor Zhivago</i>

I.A. Esaulov

in Literature and Theology

Volume 20, issue 1, pages 63-78
Published in print March 2006 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online March 2006 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI:
The Paschal Archetype of Russian Literature and the Structure of Boris Pasternak's Novel Doctor Zhivago

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Although Christian subtext of Russian literature has already been the subject of study but the problems of poetics of this literature have been inspected without any correlation with the most important structural particularities of orthodox liturgical annual cycle. Usually researches tend to work with nothing more but evangelical reminiscences, motives or the peculiarities of the plot buildings. The author of the article pays attention to the fact that the first original composition of Russian literature is Easter preachment of metropolitan Ilarion and the most favorite Gospel among people is the Gospel of John, the beginning of which they always read in the churches when it is the first day of the Easter. Taking this into account, the author of the article insists that the dominant of Russian Culture and Russian literature is the special Easter archetype. It is implied by this term, as distinct from K.-G. Jung's “archetype”, not “the collective unconscious” but “the cultural unconcsious”. If the dominant of occidental cultural tradition is the Christmas archetype, then in Russian Orthodoxal tradition the dominant is Easter archetype. It is not the question of the opposition but the one of the different accents in Christian culture which is common for Orient and Occident; and these accents go back to the formation of oriental and occidental types of Christianity. The author of the article shows in what way exactly the Easter archetype determines the structure of the novel “Doctor Zhivago” written by Pasternak which begins with the scene of the burial and ends with the words about the resurrection and appear before God. So, we have the special Easter novel before us, the main hero of which has the name of “Zhivago” (“Alive”) and it is the word we can hear while Eucharist is going on and it symbolizes the deep connection between the life of every human being and the way which Christ passed to the resurrection. Thus, the subject of the Pasternak's novel is the pilgrimage to Christ which is concealed in his poetics and which every reader of the novel makes, according to the author's idea.

Journal Article.  7843 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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