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Keywords: S.A. Yesenin, drawings, article “The Keys of Mary” (1918), alphabet, Pugachev (1921), G.I. Uspensky
For citation:

Shubnikova-Guseva N.I. Yesenin’s Drawings as Part of the “Real” Commentary to His Works. Studia Litterarum, 2018, vol. 3, no 2, pp. 288–309. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2018-3-2-288-309

Author: Natalya I. Shubnikova-Guseva
Information about the author:

Natalya I. Shubnikova-Guseva, DSc in Philology, Director of Research, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 a, 121069 Moscow, Russia.

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

Received: December 12, 2017
Published: June 25, 2018
Issue: 2018 Vol. 3, №2
Department: Textology. Materials
Pages: 288-309
DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2018-3-2-288-309
UDK: 821.161.1
BBK: 83.3(2Рос=Рус)6 + 85.15(2)6

Abstract

For the first time, the paper discusses the drawings by Yesenin in his article “Mary’s Keys” (1918) and on the margins of the autograph of the dramatic poem Pugachev (1921) considering them as part of the commentary on these works. The figures of letters in “Mary’s Keys” serve as a key to Yesenin’s understanding of the letters in the Russian alphabet and their literary-historical context. Yesenin considers Russian alphabet or any alphabet not only as a set of letters arranged in a particular order, but also treats it in figurative sense, like the ABC of self-knowledge in the world. The figurative meanings of Yesenin’s drawings in “Mary’s Keys” trace back to his conversations with Andrey Bely, to the ideas of such futurist poets as A. Kruchenykh’s, V. Khlebnikov’s and others, and to the ideas of K. Balmont’s. The drawings in the margins of the Pugachev autograph, especially the picture “The Ears of Rye,” associate the characters of the poem with the power of the earth, agricultural labor, the ear of rye, and relate them to the works of G. I. Uspensky Peasant and Peasant Labor (1880) and The Power of the Earth (1887). Yesenin singled out these series among the literary heritage of Uspensky, as is evidenced in his review <”About Gleb Uspensky”>. The essay therefore argues that Uspensky’s ideas influenced both ideology and figurative language of the poem Pugachev.

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