Download PDF:
For citation:

Zhuleva A.S. Mythopoetics of Space in the Novels by Yuri Rytkheu. Studia Litterarum, 2018, vol. 3, no 3, pp. 208–231. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2018-3-3-208-231

Author: Albina S. Zhuleva
Information about the author:

Albina S. Zhuleva, PhD in Pedagogical Sciences, Senior Researcher, 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: June 27, 2018
Published: September 25, 2018
Issue: 2018 Vol. 3, №3
Department: Literature of the Peoples of Russia and Neighboring Countries
Pages: 208-231

UDK: 821.131.1.0
BBK: 83.3(2=753.1)6
Keywords: Chukchi literature, Yuri Rytkheu, novels, perception, autobiography, space, mythological poetics, architypes, opposition, story, national image


The article examines mythopoetic basis of the spatial imagery in the novels by a Chukchi writer Yuri Rytkheu. It reveals the specificity of the worldview of the author and his characters as well as the evolution of the writer’s creativity. The author argues that mythological representation of space in Rytkheu’s novels follows such general principles of the genesis of myths as anthropomorphism, “the law of participation” (communion), and late animism (Levy-Bruhl). Rytkheu projected traditional mythological spatial forms and images onto the poetics of the text with the help of mythologemes and archetypal binaries (top-bottom, friend-stranger, close-distant, life- death). The analysis of his two novels written with a gap of forty years — Aivangu and In the Mirror of Oblivion — reveals two different approaches to spatial substrates. In the first novel (1964), there prevails “real” space as the novel’s setting and mythologism of images veiled. The second novel written in the 1990s, the years of Rytkheu’s temporary emigration in Europe (Denmark, Germany), undergoes influence of postmodernism and neomythologism. In this novel, mysterious, multi-faceted space becomes a meaningful object of representation shown from a variety of perspectives.


1 Bart R. Izbrannye raboty: Semiotika. Poetika [Selected works: Semiotics. Poetics], trans. from French, Moscow, Progress Publ., 1994. 616 p. (In Russ.)

2 Bahtin M.M. Tetralogiya [Tetralogy]. Moscow, Labirint Publ., 1998. 607 p. (In Russ.)

3 Bahtin M.M. Epos i roman [Epic and novel]. St. Petersburg, Azbuka Publ., 2000. 300 p. (In Russ.)

4 Bogoraz V.G. Chukchi. Religiya [Chukchi. Religion], authorized trans. from English. Leningrad, Izd-vo Glavsevmorputi Publ., 1939. 216 p. (In Russ.)

5 Gachev G.D. Nacional’nye obrazy mira [National images of the world]. Kosmo-Psiho- Logos. Moscow, Izd-vo Akadem. Proekt Publ., 1995. 480 p. (In Russ.)

6 Gej N.K. Kategoriya hudozhestvennosti i metahudozhestvennosti v literature [Categories of fictionality and metafictionality in literature]. Literaturovedenie kak problema. Trudy nauchnogo soveta Nauka o literature v kontekste nauk o kul’ture Literary studies as a problem [Literary Studies as a Problem. Proceedings of the scientific Council on literary research in the context of cultural studies]. Pamyati Aleksadra Viktorovicha Mihajlova posvyashchaetsya. Moscow, Nasledie Publ., 2001, pp. 280–301. (In Russ.)

7 Evropejskie sud’by koncepta kul’tury (Rossiya, Germaniya, Franciya. Aagloyazychnyj mir [European destinies of the concept of culture (Russia, Germany, France, Anglophonic world)]. Moscow, IMLI RAN Publ., 2011. 374 p. (In Russ.)

8 Karmin A.S. Kul’torologiya [Cultural studies]. St. Petersburg, Piter Publ., 2001. 926 p. (In Russ.)

9 Kessidi F.H. Ot mifa k logosu [From myth to logos]. Moscow, Mysl’ Publ., 1972. 312 p. (In Russ.)

10 Kofman A.F. Latinoamerikanskij hudozhestvennyj obraz mira [South American artistic worldview]. Moscow, Nasledie Publ., 1997. 320 p. (In Russ.)

11 Levi-Bryul’ L. Sverhestestvennoe v pervobytnom myshlenii [The supernatural in primitive thinking]. Moscow, Pedagogika-Press Publ., 1999. 608 p. (In Russ.)

12 Losev A.F. Istoriya antichnoj estetiki. Aristotel’ i pozdnyaya klassika [History of ancient aesthetics. Aristotle and the late classics]. Moscow, Iskusstvo Publ., 1975. 776 p. (In Russ.)

13 Lotman Yu.M. Hudozhestvennoe prostranstvo v proze Gogolya [Fictional space in Gogol’s prose]. Lotman Yu.M. O russkoj literature [On Russian literature]. St. Petersburg, Iskusstvo Publ., 1997. 848 p. (In Russ.)

14 Merlo-Ponti M. Fenomenologiya vospriyatiya [Phenomenology of perception], trans. from French. St. Petersburg, Yuventa, Nauka Publ., 1999. 602 p. (In Russ.)

15 Poshataeva A.V. Literatura narodov Severa (Istoki. Stanovlenie. Razvitie) [Literature of the peoples of the North (Sources. Formation. Development)]. Moscow, Nauka Publ., 1988. 168 p. (In Russ.)

16 Rytheu Yu. Ajvangu. Roman [Ajvangu. Novel]. Rytheu Yu. S. Golubye pescy. Roman i povest’ [Blue Arctic foxes. The novel and the novella]. Moscow, Sov. Rossiya Publ., 1976, pp. 3–263. (In Russ.)

17 Rytheu Yu.S. V zerkale zabveniya. Roman [In the mirror of oblivion. Novel]. St. Petersburg, Izd-vo zhurnala “Zvezda” Publ., 2001. 400 p. (In Russ.)

18 Semushkin T. Chukotka. Povest’ [Chukotka. Story]. Moscow, Hudozhestvennaya literature Publ., 1967. 391 p. (In Russ.)

19 Tajlor E.B. Pervobytnaya kul’tura [Primitive culture], trans. from English. Moscow, Politizdat Publ., 1989. 573 p. (In Russ.)

20 Toporov V.N. Prostranstvo i tekst [Space and text]. Toporov V.N. Semantika i struktura [Semantics and structure] Moscow, Hudozhestvennaya literature Publ., 1983, pp. 227–284. (In Russ.)

21 Florenskij P.A. Sochineniya: v 4 t. [Works: in 4 vols.]. Moscow, Mysl’ Publ., 1999, vol. 3 (2), pp. 3–170. (In Russ.)

22 Frezer Dzh. Zolotaya vetv’ [Golden bough]. Moscow, Politizdat Publ., 1980. 832 p. (In Russ.)

23 Fuko M. Poryadok diskursa [The order of discourse]. Volya k istine: po tu storonu znaniya, vlasti i seksual’nosti. Raboty raznyh let [The will for truth: beyond knowledge, power and sexuality. Works of different years]. Moscow, Kastal’ Publ., 1996. 448 p. (In Russ.)

24 Fuko M. Drugie prostranstva [Other spaces]. Intellektualy i vlast’: izbrannye politicheskie stat’i, vystupleniya i interv’yu [Intellectuals and power: selected political articles, speeches and interviews]. Moscow, Praksis Publ., 2006. Ch. 3, pp. 191–204. (In Russ.)

25 Hajdegger M. Bytie i vremya [Being and time], trans. from German. Har’kov, Folio Publ., 2003. 503 p. (In Russ.)

26 Shpengler O. Zakat Evropy. Ocherki morfologii mirovoj istorii [The Decline Of Europe. Essays on the morphology of world history]. Moscow, Mysl’ Publ., 1999. 620 p. (In Russ.)

27 Yung K.G. Psihologicheskie tipy [Psychological type], trans. from German. Minsk, OOO “Popurri” Publ., 1998. 656 p. (In Russ.)