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Kayanidi L.G. Vyacheslav Ivanov’s Tragedy Prometheus and his Poem The Dream of Melampus: Obvious and Hidden Points of Convergence. Studia Litterarum, 2019, vol. 4, no 2, pp. 206–227. (In Russ.)

DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2019-4-2-206-227

Author: Leonid G. Kayanidi
Information about the author:

Leonid G. Kayanidi, PhD in Philology, Associate Professor, Smolensk State University, Prgevalsky St. 4, 214000 Smolensk, Russia.

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Received: December 30, 2018
Published: June 25, 2019
Issue: 2019 Vol. 4, №2
Department: Russian Literature
Pages: 206-227

UDK: 821.161.1
BBK: 83.3(2Рос=Рус)6
Keywords: mythological poetics, fictional space, symbology, generative model, lexical combinations, Vyacheslav Ivanov, The Dream of Melampus, Prometheus.


Vyacheslav Ivanov wrote the poem The Dream of Melampus and the tragedy Prometheus in different periods of his literary career; while also different thematically, both works have obvious points of convergence. Among those are recurrent images, motifs as well as larger image-related and motivic patterns. Both works share the same spatial and mythological model. Ivanov develops it in The Dream of Melampus; the model consists of three spheres: empirical, mystical, and mythological. The latter generates the first two that function as its reflections. This mythological sphere is constituted of the triad of mythological creatures: 1. male origin, Zeus, 2. female origin, Persephone, 3. son, Sacrifice, Zagreus. The correlate of the first origin is the mystical and empirical Heaven, of the second — the Earth, of the third — the space that separates Heaven and Earth. This model becomes reenacted in Prometheus, however it not so much determines the structure of space as it fosters the development of the tragic plot and the character system of the play. Prometheus builds upon the myth of the sacrifice of Dionysus that becomes the play’s plot pattern and reflects itself in different dramatic scenes: each of such scenes is a transformation of the original myth of Dionysus and Titans. The analysis of lexical combinations demonstrates that the spatial and mythological pattern determines not only the structure of images and motifs but also specific motifs within larger patterns.


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