For citation:

Kalavszky Zs., Urakova A.P. Exploring the Boundaries of Texts and Literary Cults. Studia Litterarum, 2020, vol. 5, no 4, pp. 66–87. (In Russ.)

https://doi. org/10.22455/2500-4247-2020-5-4-66-87

Author: Zs. Kalavszky
Information about the author:

Zsófia Kalavszky, PhD in Philology, Researcher, Institute for Literary Studies (MTA Centre for Excellence), Research Centre for the Humanities, Ménesi út, 11–13, 1118 Budapest, Hungary.


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

Author 2: A.P. Urakova
Information about the author 2:

Alexandra P. Urakova, PhD in Philology, Senior Researcher, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 a, 121069 Moscow, Russia.


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Received: April 29, 2020
Published: December 25, 2020
Issue: 2020 Vol. 5, №4
Department: Literary Theory
Pages: 66-87

UDK: 82.0
BBK: 83
Keywords: literary cult, cultic text, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Vladimir Ulyanov-Lenin, Milorad Pavić, Alexander Pushkin, Prince Ferdinand.


This article was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, grant no 18-512-23002 (2018–2021).


The essay focuses on the interrelated phenomena of literary cult and cultic text. Bearing on the conceptual ideas of Sergey Zenkin and Péter Dávidházi, we problematize the boundaries between text and cults on the example of two case studies. One has to do with a recent interpretation of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a nineteenth-century bestseller novel that had a great impact on literary and political life of the United States in the antebellum period. David S. Reynolds argues that Ulyanov-Lenin’s escape from the Finnish mainland by breaking his way on the broken ice of the river to an island might have been inspired by Uncle Tom’s Cabin where a fugitive slave Eliza does exactly the same thing. This essay suggests seeing this random encounter of the East and the West, the fictional and the “real” not as а curious anecdote or coincidence but as a mechanism of inventing a cultic text. What happens when one of the prominent figures of the European historical narrative, the crown prince assassinated in 1914, reads the works of the Russian poet before the fatal day in Sarajevo? Milorad Pavić building his short story Prince Ferdinand Reads Pushkin upon recognizable allusions to Pushkin’s texts, highlights similarities and differences, the fatal and the accidental in the stories of the poet shot in the duel and the Austrian crown prince being a victim of an assassination — two intersective storylines that may be described as “isomorphic plots.”


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