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Secondary text and its features in E. P. Rostopchina's "Chatsky's Return to Moscow...."

Chzhai Dandan

Postgraduate Student, Department of the History of Russian Literature, Faculty of Philology, Lomonosov Moscow State University

518172, China, Guangdong Province, Shenzhen, Guojidasueyuanlu str., 1, office 277






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Abstract: The purpose of the study: to consider the relationship between the secondary and the original literary work at the level of images of heroes, storylines, and text; to determine the features of dialogic in books, as well as to identify similar features of the original and secondary works, as well as to establish differences between them. The subject of the study is the artistic techniques of aging of continuation texts, identified on the basis of a dialogical text of the Russian writer of the XIX century E.P. Rastopchina. The method used was the analysis of the texts of the original and secondary works using the classification of intertextual interactions by Gerard Genette to identify connections based on excerpts from texts.   This side of Evdokia Petrovna Rostopchina's creativity has been little studied not only in Russia and China but also around the world. Studying this sphere allows us to explore the phenomenon of dialogicity and thereby opens up new opportunities for studying the theoretical basis in this direction. The analysis of the play "Chatsky's Return to Moscow" shows that it is characterized by close intertextual ties with the primary work. In addition, the "Note from the author" in Rostopchina's play creates a paratextual connection between the two works. It is also possible to trace architexturally in the texts. At the same time, it is important to note that for these works it is the least obvious kind of intertextual relationship, and even the genre of the original and the continuation is defined differently by the authors. Nevertheless, both in the original and in the secondary work there are elements of a comedy of intrigue and a sitcom. This gives reason to talk about architextual intertextual connections. And finally, the conducted research of the works allows us to say about the presence of hypertextual connections, which are noticeable due to close paratextual and intertextual relations.


Evdokia Petrovna Rostopchina, paratextuality, intertextuality, intertextual links, dialogicity, text, classification by Gerard Genette, women's literature, russian literature, hypertextuality

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


IntroductionEvdokia Petrovna Rostopchina is one of the most notable Russian writers who lived and worked in the middle of the XIX century.


The beginning of her creative activity was marked by a huge success. Both critics and literary figures, including Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov, Vasily Andreevich Zhukovsky, Vladimir Fedorovich Odoevsky, and others, spoke favorably about Rostopchina's works. A specific feature of Rostopchina's artistic creativity was the method of "dialogue" with precedent texts. Starting in the 1830s with short replicas of the works of A. S. Pushkin and M. Y. Lermontov, she came to the end of her creative career to create full-fledged sequels of the comedy "Woe from Wit" by A. S. Griboyedov and the pamphlet "House of Madmen" by A. F. Voeykov. Despite the fact that Rostopchina's works are of interest to modern researchers, the issue of the secondary nature of the text continues to be insufficiently studied.

Exploring this problem, we turned to the concept of intertextuality, which was formulated on the basis of M. Bakhtin's work "The problem of content, material and form in verbal artistic creativity" and described by Yu. Kristeva in the monograph "Bakhtin, the word, the dialogue and the novel", 1995, the author of this concept says that all texts are constructed as a mosaic of citations. As a result, all texts are in a state of constant dialogue. Continuing this concept in the theory of "text analysis", R. Barth describes the problem in the collection "Selected works: Semiotics. Poetics". In turn, Genette in the work "Palimpsests: Literature in the second degree" offers a classification of intertextual connections, which allows you to organize the types of interactions that arise between different texts.

The current material is devoted to Rostopchina's play "Chatsky's Return to Moscow, or a meeting of familiar faces after twenty-five years of separation. A conversation in verse", which was written in 1856. The purpose of the study is to consider the features of the interaction of the secondary work with the original at the text level, as well as the development of the plot, meaning, images of the main characters. To do this, it is necessary to solve a number of tasks, including:

1) determination of the characteristic features of the secondary text and types of intertextual interaction;

2) identification of similarities and differences in the plot and character of the characters in the original play and the sequel.


Paratextual connections in Rostopchina 's work The connection of Rostopchina's text "Chatsky's Return to Moscow" with the paratext is clearly traced both through the use of the title and through the actors of the play and the author's notes.


According to Genette's classifier of intertextual interactions, the dialogue of these works refers to the phenomenon of paratextuality, based on the connection of text and paratext with forewords, prefaces, illustrations, etc. The task of referring to the text of Griboyedov's work can be both informative (to convey to the reader a message about a person, event, time) and functional (proto-text for subsequent texts).

The full title of the work by E. P. Rostopchina, indicated in the Collected Works, reads as follows: "Chatsky's return to Moscow, or a meeting of familiar faces after twenty-five years of separation. A conversation in verse." In addition, after the title there is a subtitle: "Continuation of the comedy by A. S. Griboyedov: "Woe from wit"". The mention of the main character in the title of the secondary work, as well as the mention of the play "Woe from Wit", makes obvious the paratextual links between the original text and the text of the "sequel". After the subtitle, the liver of the actors is given with an indication of their age. And finally, there is a "Note from the author", which explains the time and place of the action, as well as provides information about the heroes of the work. It should be noted that Evdokia Petrovna paid considerable attention to the arguments about the time of the appearance of the play "Woe from Wit" and the correspondence of the age of the characters of the work "Chatsky's Return to Moscow" to the age of Griboyedov's heroes.


Intertextual connections in Rostopchina 's textIn addition to the paratextual connections, Rostopchina's work also traces an obvious intertextual interaction with the original play.


According to Genette's classification, such is the presence of one text in another in the form of plagiarism, quotations, allusions, etc. Turning to the exhibition "Chatsky's Return to Moscow", it is not difficult to notice that it repeats and continues the situation of the original play. For example, at Griboyedov's, Chatsky, disappointed with Moscow society, leaves both Famusov's house and Moscow. A quarter of a century later, he appears in the same living room in Rostopchina's play.

According to A.M. Ranchin, "The plot of Chatsky's Return to Moscow is rather not a continuation, but a repetition" [1, p. 565]. And it really is. In Rostopchina's work, events, the situation and even phrases of some characters are repeated. For example, in Griboyedov's play, the first appearance of the Countess-Hryumina's granddaughter in the hall is accompanied by her words:

"Ah! grand' maman! Well, who arrives so early!

We are the first!"

Rostopchina 's heroine appears with the same exclamation:

"Oh, my God!... not a soul!... There is no one.

I'm the first!... Annoying fear and pity ..."

Using the indignation of the countess-granddaughter from an early arrival, Rostopchina demonstrates that, despite the passage of time, the character of the character has remained the same.

Another striking example is Natalia Dmitrievna. At Griboyedov 's she meets Chatsky with the words:

"Am I not mistaken?.. He's right in the face

Oh, Alexander Andreevich, are you?"

She says almost the same words at Rostopchina 's:

"Oh, my God! Platosha, look,

Who do you see in front of you?"

Thus, we see a significant similarity between the two works both in the positions and characters of the characters, and in the form of their dialogue. At first glance, paraphrasing the text "Woe from Wit" may seem like imitation. However, it should be borne in mind that Rostopchina follows the logic of the development of the characters of the characters set by the author of the original work, and assumes events and life situations that could happen to them in a quarter of a century. The same place of action, as well as the repetition of some scenes, indicates the presence of strong intertextual connections.


Similarity and difference in the plots of the works of the two authorsE. P. Rostopchina masterfully notices the characteristic features of Griboyedov's characters.


As a result, their development looks logical. But it is impossible not to notice the differences — the author introduces new characters, and the old characters are developed in a new plot.

Famusov is old and does not shine with health, but despite this he is still not indifferent to the ladies. He is literally fascinated by Molchalin's young wife. Petrushka, who has already turned 68 years old, due to his age, does not cope with the duties of a servant so deftly, but, as before, he is devoted to his master. The maid Lisa still helps with the housework. But twenty-five years have passed and now she is addressed by her patronymic. Sofia Pavlovna, becoming the wife of a Rock-tooth, turned into a domineering mother of a family, far from being considered a model of high morality. The Countess-Hryumin's granddaughter, despite her age, remains a social gossip. Thanks to the patronage of Famusov, Molchalin became a full state councilor and has all the opportunities for successful career growth. And the Gorich couple, having succumbed to the ideas of Slavophilism, enthusiastically supports Yeleykin. However, two of the Gorich daughters out of six, introduced by Rostopchina, adhere to pro-Western views. This is Zizi, who has become committed to the ideas of emancipation. She smokes a cigar and wears George Sand-style clothes. And also Mimi, who married Professor Feologinsky, who is a Westerner.

The position of Griboyedov's heroes in the text of the sequel has changed more externally than internally. For example, Famusov, who dreamed of a son-in-law with ranks and stars, achieved his goal and sincerely believes that he took good care of his daughter's fate, despite the fact that the wedding with the Rock-Tooth was arranged with a scandal. Not seeing anything special in this, Famusov believes that a person is able to get used to everything. The son-in-law-the governor— that's what's most important. And he perceives his daughter's protests and tears as nothing but a childish whim. At the same time, Famusov himself, despite his venerable age (and he is already 78 years old), is in love with Molchalin's wife. When looking at her, he "smacks the tips of his fingers" with pleasure and melts from her "roguish eyes". Carried away by a young woman, Famusov does not notice how expensive courtship costs him. Money issues are now solved by Molchalin, who has actually become the guardian of all the estates. Intrigues are being woven in the Famusov house and enmity is flourishing, because Sophia, as an heiress, cannot like this state of affairs.

Sofia, who is in love with Molchalin at Griboyedov's, nevertheless agrees to become the wife of a Rock-tooth. At first glance, such a development of her fate may seem contradictory and not logical. However, there is an explanation. It is enough to recall Chatsky, who said that she needed a "servant husband", "a boy husband". If you look at the situation from this point of view, then there is nothing surprising in the marriage of Sophia and Skalozub. Quite quickly reconciled to her fate, Sophia allows herself love affairs with other men and directs the career of her husband, who completely obeys her. When meeting Chatsky at first, Sophia is embarrassed, but nevertheless does not forget about her interests. She introduces her daughters to him, not hiding that she wants to marry one of them to Chatsky. However, the interest completely disappears when it turns out that he is not as wealthy as Sophia expected. As for Skalozub, he, as before, benefits from his official position, takes full advantage of his status and does not disdain to take bribes.

But what about Chatsky? Disappointed in Sophia, he plunges into science and travels around the world. For a quarter of a century, he has matured, has become more restrained in his feelings and no longer rushes into arguments with the same fervor. He himself says the following about himself: "I have become cooler, smarter and kinder..." [1, p. 566].

And indeed, communicating with different people, Chatsky easily recognizes extremes, finds the golden mean, expresses the right judgments. Nevertheless, his visit is unsuccessful again. Moscow society rejects Chatsky again. The only exception is the new heroine, who was introduced into the work by Rostopchina, Princess Tsvetkova. She persuades Chatsky to visit her and promises to introduce him to people who are better than those met in Famusov's house.

This is how Rostopchina presented the main characters of "Woe from Wit". And I must say that the author has so skillfully described the characters that their actions do not seem implausible to us. For example, Famusov, described by Griboyedov, does not even think of the idea that his daughter could become the wife of a nobleman. It is not surprising that in Rostopchina's work he gives her in marriage to a Rock-tooth, despite protest and tears. It is not surprising that Famusov is fascinated by Molchalina, since he was not distinguished by strict morals before and courted Lizonka. And of course, it is impossible not to recognize Griboyedov's daughter Famusov in Rostopchinskaya Sophia Pavlovna. Being a product of her environment, she couldn't grow up to be different. Having no example of high morality and strict morality in her childhood, she uses officials and adjutants for entertainment, forcing them to serve herself. More than that! Acting exactly as her parents once did, she orders her daughter to lure Chatsky into her nets. Considering the above, it seems natural that after marriage she quickly comes to terms with her fate and no longer sees anything wrong with this marriage.


ConclusionThe above examples clearly demonstrate that the plot of "Return" so closely echoes the work of Griboyedov that thoughts of imitation involuntarily arise.


Being in Famusov's house, Chatsky again witnesses different views on social phenomena and is forced to voice his opinion. The work ends with a scandal that broke out in Famusov's house. Chatsky was again disappointed in Moscow society. The similarity between the works can be traced both in the lifestyle and social positions of the characters, as well as in their behavior, character, and actions. And this means that the scenario described by Rostopchina looks more than realistic. The main purpose of the original and secondary works is to present Moscow society with all its customs and mores. According to Professor Ranchin, Rostopchina took Griboyedov as an ally in her struggle aimed at exposing the hypocrisy of the leaders of popular ideological circles and public associations at that time, as well as false views in her modern society [3, p.12]. To solve this problem, Rostopchina follows in Griboyedov's footsteps from the beginning to the end of the work.

However, despite the significant similarity of the works, there are differences in the concept of the plays. First, Rostopchina introduced new heroes. These are the poet-Slavophile Eleikin, and Molchalin's wife, and his four children, and Professor Feologinsky, and the young teacher of the Skalozub sisters, and Sophia's children, among whom the author paid special attention to the emancipated Faith. And of course, this is Princess Tsvetkova, who became the only supporter of Chatsky. Secondly, Rostopchina, unlike Griboyedov's work, all the participants of the evening immediately recognize Chatsky's authority — they all want to know his opinion, and Sofia Pavlovna even plans to marry one of her daughters to him. And finally, the main difference between the works lies in the finale. Despite the fact that Chatsky is again rejected by secular society, Princess Tsvetkova promises to introduce him to the best people. [1, p. 579] Thus, Rostopchina forms a radically different message and rehabilitates Moscow in the eyes of both the main character and readers. Thus, she makes it clear that not all Moscow society is like the people who gather in Famusov's house.

The analysis of the play "Chatsky's Return to Moscow" shows that it, like other secondary texts, is characterized by close intertextual links with the primary work. They are especially pronounced in the borrowing of characters, as well as in the development of their characters, according to the logic set by Griboyedov. The relationship is expressed in imitation, parody, reworking of the plot and theme. In addition, the "Note from the author" in Rostopchina's play creates a paratextual connection between the works. It is also possible to trace architectuality in the texts. At the same time, it is important to note that for these works it is the least obvious kind of intertextual relationships, and even the genre is defined differently by the authors. If Griboyedov calls "Woe from Wit" a comedy, then Rostopchina sees her play as "a conversation in verse." Nevertheless, both in the original and in the secondary work there are elements of a comedy of intrigue and a sitcom. This gives reason to talk about architectual intertextual connections. And finally, the conducted research of the works allows us to say about the presence of hypertextual connections, which are noticeable due to close paratextual and intertextual connections.

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