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Reference:

The "alien child" motif as a through code in the prosaic macrocycles of Boris Akunin and Dina Rubina

Borunov Artem Borisovich

ORCID: 0000-0003-2507-7218

PhD in Philology

Associate Professor of the Department of Romano-Germanic Languages Moscow State University of Humanities and Economics

107150, Russia, g. Moscow, ul. Losinoostrovskaya, 49

borunov.artem@yandex.ru
Other publications by this author
 

 
Pinaev Sergei Mikhailovich

ORCID: 0000-0001-7064-7510

Doctor of Philology

Professor, Department of Russian and Foreign Literature, Peoples' Friendship University of Russia

117279, Russia, g. Moscow, ul. Miklukho-Maklaya, 6

serpinaev@mail.ru
Sil'cheva Alina Georgievna

PhD in Philology

Associate Professor, Department of History of Journalism and Literature, Moscow State University named after A.S. Griboyedov

111024, Russia, g. Moscow, shosse Entuziastov, 21

alinka-krasulka@mail.ru

DOI:

10.25136/2409-8698.2022.6.38358

EDN:

PKESPA

Received:

27-06-2022


Published:

04-07-2022


Abstract: The subject of the study is a cross-cutting code that unites the prose macrocycles of modern authors as a supertextual unity. The object of the research is a macrotext as a format of a literary work in the works of writers Dina Rubina and Boris Akunin. The authors consider in detail such aspects of the theme as the cross-cutting theme of a strange / adopted / unrecognized / illegitimate child and its connection with the clan and family, and the implementation of this theme in novels united in trilogies or macrocycles. Particular attention is paid to such an aspect of the motif as the onomastic code - distortion, change, re-voicing of the name and surname of the protagonist becomes a recurring motif. The main conclusions of the study are: a statement of the homological similarity of the supertextual unities of the works of contemporary prose writers, highlighting the motive of the interaction of the genealogical tree of the family with someone else's child, its self-identification as part of the family and woven into the fabric of the family and its history as the bifurcation point of the macrotext. A special contribution of the authors to the study of the topic is the consideration of this motif in its diversified interpretation in various works and the connection of this motif with the onomastic code of the works. The novelty of the study lies in the comparison of the works of Boris Akunin and Dina Rubina, which were not previously considered in a comparative aspect.


Keywords:

Akunin, Ruby, end - to-end motive, trilogy, macrotext, supertext unity, onomastic code, semiotic code, novel, prose

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

In modern literature, the format of a macrocycle is widespread a supertext united by common motives, characters, and plot. Examples are the trilogies of Dina Rubina "People of the Air" ("Leonardo's Handwriting", "The White Dove of Cordoba", "Petrushka Syndrome"), "The Russian Canary", "Napoleon's wagon Train", etc. The first trilogy consists of three novels with no common heroes. The unifying factor for this trilogy is the figure of the central hero of the novel a man endowed with unique abilities in the field of art (circus art in "Leonardo's Handwriting", painting in "The White Dove of Cordoba" and puppet theater in "Petrushka Syndrome"). The trilogies "The Russian Canary" and "Napoleon's Wagon Train" are closer to the format of classic trilogies: they are cycles of three novels in which the family history develops, traced over several generations.

Boris Akunin, the author of several dozen works of various genres about Erast Fandorin, as well as about his ancestors and descendants, also creates his works in the genre of macrotext. The series "New Detective", started by the author as an homage to classical literature and an attempt to combine the language of Russian classics with a detective story in the spirit of recognized masters of the genre [Snigirev], has grown over 22 years to a multigenre super-cycle, the breadth of which is more than 600 years (from Fandorin's ancestors ("The Falcon and the Swallow") to his stay a great-grandson in a hypothetical future ("Children's Book for boys").

The question of cyclogenic factors in the work of Dina Rubina is considered in such studies as the dissertation of E.S. Tulusheva "Principles of cyclogenesis in the trilogies of Dina Rubina "The Russian Canary" and "Napoleon's wagon Train" [25], the monograph of E.F. Shafranskaya [26], articles by D.D. Ziyatdinova [10], G.S. Zueva [11], V.Yu. Panovitsa [13] and others. The cycloforming bonds of the Akunin macrotext have been analyzed in a number of studies by one of the authors of this article - [7; 8; 9].

Despite all the dissimilarity of genres and themes in which Boris Akunin and Dina Rubina work, there is a cross-cutting motif in their macro-textual unity, which becomes unifying in the work of both writers, and Dina Rubina can trace the development of this motif in her three newest trilogies, plot-unrelated to each other. We are talking about the motive of "someone else's child" - in the history of families, the motive of adoption constantly arises, the upbringing of a nonadopted, adopted child. The same motive can be traced in the "Fandorin corps", and Akunin reveals it in a peculiar way the key role in the plot of some novels is played by the motive of ignorance: the son does not know the father or the father does not know the son.

Consider the motif of someone else's child in the work of Dina Rubina. The latest trilogies of the writer open with a scene of adoption: "Leonardo's Handwriting" is the story of Anna Nesterenko, adopted by a childless married couple, Maria and Anatoly. Life in this foster family is the first rejection and the first misunderstanding in Anna's life: the foster mother hardly accepts the girl's unique talent, her obsession with mirrors and amazing features of perception of the world.

"The White Dove of Cordoba" is the story of Zakhar Cordovin, whose roots can be traced back many centuries. The genealogy of the Cordovin-Cordover family dates back to the time of King Solomon: "a wellknown, very branched genus, the origin of the Spanish name is, as you know, from Cordoba, although the roots of the genus go back to the ancient wilds after all, Jews appeared on the Iberian Peninsula under the Romans - and even lead to the Jerusalem Temple, and not the Second, and the First One" [14, p. 407]. Cordovin learns about the ancient history of his family only in adulthood, as a child he is brought up as the illegitimate son of an illegitimate daughter: his mother, Rita Cordovina, was the illegitimate daughter of Zakhar Cordovin Sr., and she gave birth to his full namesake from an unknown father: "He took a few steps to the couch, looked at the child and froze. Before him lay the same damned Zakhar, Zakhar again and only Zakhar, as if this dead scoundrel this gopnik! somehow managed to make a child of his own daughter!" [14, p. 244]. The hero of the novel finds his true family only in Spain, in the city of Cordoba, having finally learned the whole history of his branched family. In this sense, he himself is a "stranger", an abandoned child.

In "Petrushka Syndrome", the theme of children introduces a tragic line into the family history of Peter and Lisa. Lisa suffers from a genetic disease, due to which she can give birth to boys with Angelman syndrome (Parsley syndrome) and healthy girls. The main characters are legally married and raise their own children, but the truth about the tragic genetic disease in the ancestral history of their family is revealed to them by a professor the adopted son of one of those women who received a dangerous inheritance due to a curse.

Thus, in "People of the Air", the motif of the adopted child becomes binding for textual unity, and, like many other motifs of this trilogy (see [23]), receives a "female" version of the implementation in "Leonardo's Handwriting", a male one in "The White Dove of Cordoba", and a special, unusual (in this case case peripheral, implemented in the image of a minor character) in the "Parsley Syndrome".

In the "Russian Canary", for which the theme of family relations and the interaction of a child with his ancestors is also key, the main character is an illegitimate child, who, like Zakhar Cordovin, does not rightfully bear the family name, but becomes one of the brightest representatives. Leon Etinger "the last Etinger" - is also born of a father whose full name is revealed only in the finale of the story, and Etinger acquires not only the family of his mother, whose surname he bears, but also the family of his father.

In "Napoleon's Wagon Train", the motive of the adopted child is revealed through the tragic love story of Nadezhda and Aristarchus: Nadezhda, pregnant with Aristarchus, learns about his connection with her sister and attempts suicide. Nadezhda, who survived but lost the opportunity to have children forever, is approached by her sister, offering to adopt Aristarchus' child. Nadezhda agrees, and raises Alexey as her son, without dedicating him to the story of his birth. Just as Zakhar Cordovin Jr. looks like an exact copy of Zakhar Cordovin Sr., so Alexey is born extremely similar to his father Aristarchus, so that he identifies himself even in Alexey's photo: "I didn't understand. Where am I? When? She opened her eyes with an effort and squeezed her eyes shut from the light of the lamp: he was standing at the table and holding a photograph in his hand" [17, p. 21]. As E.S. Tulusheva notes, "The story that originally happened in the family of Aristarchus is duplicated in the family of Hope: the adopted child is hidden, his surname is changed, any ways of identifying him with blood relatives are destroyed. And just as Aristarchus does not have time to see his own grandmother, whose existence he learned from his dying mother, so Alexey sees his own father only after death and does not learn the whole intricate history of the family inheritance: "the connection of times has been broken" [25, p. 128].

The motif of a child abandoned / adopted / finding a true family is also one of the cycleforming ones in the "Fandorin corps", and this is manifested in the pedigree of the two main characters of the cycle - Erast Fandorin and Masahiro Shibata. Masa, Fandorin's constant friend and assistant in most of the works of the New Detective series, turns out to be twice an adopted son he is "adopted" by Erast Petrovich Fandorin: "According to the documents, his name was no longer Masahiro, but Mikhail Erastovich (after the godfather). Fandorin had to share his surname with the newly minted servant of God the Japanese asked for this as the greatest reward that a suzerain can give a devoted vassal for long and diligent service.

The passport is a passport, but Erast Petrovich has spoken to himself the right to call the servant as before - Masa. And mercilessly stopped the godson's attempts to call Mr. "otoo-san" (father) and even more so "batyuska" [2, p. 29].

In the novel "Just Masa", the final (for June 2022) "Fandorin corps", Masa learns his true story: he turns out to be the son of a "noble thief" who was adopted by the will of his father's murderers: "What's his name Masahiro? Let it be Masahiro Shibata. Raise the puppy in our way. A robber, a murderer. No stupid rules and canons. That's when Tatsumasa will burst into bloody tears in the next world.

Tadaki's smile widened.

Tatsumasa's son will not become a "noble thief". He will become my soldier and will live by my rules. That's what real revenge is, you fools. Learn" [5, p. 93].

The motive of adoption is also important for the family history of Fandorin himself: in the novel "Extracurricular Reading", dedicated to the adventures of Danila Fondorin, the reader learns that Danila's descendants are not related to the von Dorn family, since his only natural son Samson left home in a nervous fever and went to an unknown destination, and the boy took Samson's name- prodigy Dmitry Karpov. Thus, all the Fandorins, starting from Samson Danilovich, his son Isaac Samsonovich and Erast Petrovich's father Peter Isaakievich, as well as the descendants of Erast Petrovich are not related to the von Dorn family, although they do not know about it. It is noteworthy that all representatives of this genealogical chain have one son, and only the hero of the "Adventures of the Master", Nicholas, who is Erast Petrovich's grandson, has two children a son and a daughter. The judgment from the "Russian Canary" by Dina Rubina can be fully attributed to the Fandorin family in Russia: "The Etinger family is always do you hear? always, like the threadlike pulse of a patient, I kept on the only offspring, the only hope not to disappear, not to become completely sick. As if some careless Parka, nodding over the yarn, suddenly recollects and pulls out with a hasty hook the only thin loop of the next generation that was almost missed" [20, p. 258].

Also in the Fandorins' genealogy there is a motif of an unrecognized son the hero of the first part of the Diamond Chariot, staff Captain Rybnikov, is the son of Erast Fandorin and a Japanese woman O-Yumi (Midori), and he knows that Fandorin is his father, but Fandorin himself never gets to know about it: written before suicide in Rybnikov burns a letter in prison. "P.S. A letter written and burned by a prisoner named Acrobat.

May 27, 1905

Father,

It is strange for me to address you like this, because since adolescence I have been used to calling another person "father" in whose house I grew up.

Today I looked at you and remembered what my grandfather, mother and foster parents told me about you" [1, p. 708].

Rybnikov dies, leaving no descendants, and the Fandorin family continues to hold on to the only son. Becoming the sole heir of the father, the son continues to "pay off" his debts in the literal and figurative sense for example, Erast Petrovich Fandorin, who has phenomenal luck in any gambling, is inclined to associate this mystical luck with no less phenomenal bad luck of his father: "I have a rare gift, gentlemen, - terribly lucky in gambling. An unexplained phenomenon. I've been used to it for a long time. Obviously, the whole point is that my late father was just as unlucky. I always win at any games, and that's why I can't stand them" [6, p. 88]. Professor van Dorn, a character in the Children's Book for Boys, also believes in the inextricable connection of a representative of the genus with the abilities of his ancestors. He offers Erast Jr. (Eraser) to find a unique artifact "the apple of Paradise", which was discovered by his ancestor, the crusader Theo von Dorn. Eraser fails in this field (like his sister Gel in the "Children's Book for Girls"), which is quite understandable from the point of view of the topic of the genus: they are not descendants of von Dorn, which, however, they do not know about.

The theme of gender in the macrotexts of modern literature receives an unexpected reading in the onomastic aspect and this method of unfolding the motif is present in both Akunin and Rubina. Tracing the history of the family, both writers draw attention to the transformation of the surname. So, in the "White Dove of Cordoba", the change of the name Cordover Cordovez Cordovin is described, in the "Napoleon Wagon Train" - Bugerini Bugero Bugrov. The same is observed in Akunin: the surname Fandorin has a lot of reading options: de Dorn, von Dorn, van Dorn, Fondorin, Dorin, Dronov, Dorn, etc. As L.G. Kihney and E.S. Tulusheva note, "the onomastic code of identity and identification of a male name having an ancient origin should be recognized as a cross-cutting motive of Dina Rubina's creativity. The novel "The White Dove of Cordoba" outlines the main points of this endto-end motif (phonetic re-alignment of the name, its animalization, the connection of the identity of the name with the identity of appearance and personality, the name as the key to the history of the genus and family and the hereditary treasure - lot), subsequently revealed in more detail by the author in the text of the trilogy "Napoleon wagon Train", where along with with the bearer of a rare name, there are stories of other names and surnames. ... The name serves as a kind of password, like the fabulous "Open Sesame!", it should lead to untold treasures the ancestral inheritance, which, by a tragic coincidence, the heroes never manage to find. Transformations and deformations of the name, its identification with representatives of the genus, family are semiotic loaded in the artistic world of the latest works of Dina Rubina. The onomastic cipher ... functionally manifests a hidden, forgotten connection of generations connected by deep kinship" [12, pp. 216-217].

In the supertextual unity of the "Fandorin corps", the function of the "ancestral inheritance" is performed by paranormal abilities - all the characters are endowed with phenomenal luck and luck, which is persistently emphasized by the author. They manage to avoid death and achieve their goals in the most difficult and incredible situations, and this ability is transmitted not only to direct representatives of the Fandorin family, but also to carriers of distorted versions of the surname.

Thus, in the macro-textual units of modern writers Boris Akunin and Dina Rubina, a common motif is seen that performs the role of a cyclical staple - the motif of an adopted / alien / illegitimate child, organically interwoven into the fabric of the genus, family and allowing the family "gift" to unfold more fully. The presence of this motif is explained by the attention of both authors to the history of Russia in the context of world history and the desire to trace the family, genealogical ties of the characters over several centuries. The format of macrotext unity itself tends to such a development: the creation of super-large texts involves the unfolding of the history of the genus over several centuries.

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Peer reviewers' evaluations remain confidential and are not disclosed to the public. Only external reviews, authorized for publication by the article's author(s), are made public. Typically, these final reviews are conducted after the manuscript's revision. Adhering to our double-blind review policy, the reviewer's identity is kept confidential.
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The reviewed material concerns the analysis of texts by quite popular authors these are Dina Rubina and Boris Akunin. The comparative format of the work is available, however, it is worth noting that such a "misalliance" of comparisons has practically not been found in scientific criticism, which gives reason to talk about novelty, productivity and conceptuality. The article considers the "motif of someone else's child" as an end-to-end code of the prosaic macrocycles of Akunin and Rubina. I note that such a "scientific guess" is quite correct, indeed, this aesthetic variant is resolved precisely taking into account this motive. The article is independent, the objectivity of the point of view is beyond doubt; the author skillfully compiles critical sources, summarizes data, and based on the analysis, deduces an original model of reception. The style of the composition is actually scientific: for example, this is realized in the following fragments "despite all the dissimilarity of genres and themes in which Boris Akunin and Dina Rubina work, there is a cross-cutting motif in their macrotextual units, which becomes unifying in the work of both writers, and Dina Rubina can trace the development of this motif in her three newest trilogies, plot-wise unrelated to each other. We are talking about the motive of "someone else's child" - in the history of families, the motive of adoption constantly arises, the upbringing of a child who is not their own adopted, adopted. The same motive can be traced in the Fandorin corps, and Akunin reveals it in a peculiar way the key role in the plot of some novels is played by the motive of ignorance: the son does not know the father or the father does not know the son," or "the motive of an abandoned / adopted / finding a true family of a child is also one of the cycle-forming in the Fandorin corps Moreover , this is manifested in the pedigree of the two main characters of the cycle Erast Fandorin and Masahiro Shibata. Masa, Fandorin's constant friend and assistant in most of the works of the New Detective series, turns out to be twice an adopted son he is "adopted" by Erast Petrovich Fandorin: "According to the documents, his name was no longer Masahiro, but Mikhail Erastovich (after the godfather). Fandorin had to share his surname with the newly minted servant of God the Japanese asked for this as the greatest reward that a suzerain can give a devoted vassal for long and diligent service," etc. The terms and concepts used in the work are unified, no discrepancies have been identified. The article is not only practical, but also theoretical in nature; the material can be actively used when reading / studying the course "History of Russian Literature". The comparative character is inherent in the text as a whole: "the theme of gender in the macrotexts of modern literature receives an unexpected reading in the onomastic aspect and this method of unfolding the motif is present in both Akunin and Rubina. Tracing the history of the family, both writers draw attention to the transformation of the surname. Thus, the "White Dove of Cordoba" describes the change in the surname Cordover Cordovez Cordovin, in the "Napoleon Wagon Train" - Bugerini Bugero Bugrov. The same is observed in Akunin: the surname Fandorin has a lot of reading options: de Dorn, von Dorn, van Dorn, Fondorin, Dorin, Dronov, Dorn, etc." In my opinion, the purpose of the work has been achieved, the author states that "in the macrotextual units of modern writers Boris Akunin and Dina Rubina, there is a common motif that plays the role of a cyclonic bond - the motif of an adopted / alien / illegitimate child, organically woven into the fabric of the genus, family and allowing the family "gift" to unfold more fully. The presence of this motif is explained by the attention of both authors to the history of Russia in the context of world history and the desire to trace the family, genealogical ties of the characters over several centuries. The format of macrotext unity itself tends to such a development: the creation of super-large texts involves the unfolding of the history of the genus over several centuries." The list of sources includes works of different types and time limits. The text does not need editing, revision, or expansion of the illustrative base. The main requirements of the publication are taken into account, the theme of the work is consonant with one of the thematic vectors of the magazine. I believe that the problematic spectrum presented in this work can be organically continued using the example of other works. With that said, I would like to note: the article "The motive of "someone else's child" as an end-to-end code in the prosaic macrocycles of Boris Akunin and Dina Rubina" can be recommended for open publication in the journal "Litera".
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