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Kofman A.F. Chingiz Aytmatov’s Fictional World. Studia Litterarum, 2019, vol. 4, no 2, pp. 292–311. (In Russ.)

DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2019-4-2-292-311

Author: Andrey F. Kofman
Information about the author:

Andrey F. Kofman, DSc in Philology, Deputy Director, Head of the Department of Modern European and American Literatures, А.М. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 а, 121069 Moscow, Russia. ORCID ID: 0000-0002-3799-9343

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Received: February 19, 2019
Published: June 25, 2019
Issue: 2019 Vol. 4, №2
Department: Literature of the Peoples of Russia and Neighboring Countries
Pages: 292-311

UDK: 821.512.154
BBK: 83.3(5Кир)6 + 83.3(2Рос=Рус)6
Keywords: Aitmatov, open space, primordial, boundless, historical time, mythological time, past, singing.


In Aitmatov’s works, there are three dimensions of reality. The first one is that of the modern or recent history that conveys the element of transformation, changeability, and fragility. The second one relates to the characters: for all their individuality, there is a basic archetypical human principle polarized between the good and the evil, that shines through all of them. The most significant level is the third one that gives sense of inner unity to Aitmatov’s diverse works: this is something unchanging, transpersonal, combined of mythology and archetypes that are not subject to historical change — e.g. the national worldview model. Space represented as an open and positively charged space plays the major role in this model. The fictional space in Aitmatov’s works has two distinct mythological features: it is primordial and infinite. The peculiarity of this vertical (heaven/earth) spatial structure is in that the Kyrgyz writer perceives heaven and earth in terms of organic unity. His worldview is complete, there is no opposition or hierarchy within it that distinguishes it from the mythological world pattern: the latter, as a rule, was organized according to the hierarchical principle, e.g. the underworld, earth, and heaven. Aitmatov’s worldview is imbued with the spirit of animism; he widely uses mythological motifs of metempsychosis and zoomorphism in his fiction. Distant past has indispensable value for the author and his characters: it acts in a dual function, as the most important means of national self-identification and as an ethical measure. The life of Aitmatov’s positive characters falls into two dimensions of time — historical and mythological, However these two dimensions do not oppose each other, they are easily and organically combined within the artistic fabric of the text as well as in the consciousness and life of the characters themselves.


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