Pushkin, Gogol and Bova: Allusions to Popular Print Literature in the Works of Russian Classics

2019. № 1, 74-87

Alexandra A. Pletneva, Vinogradov Russian Language Institute of the Russian Academy of Science (Russia, Moscow), apletneva@list.ru


This article examines the influence of folk (lubok) literature on the texts of the Russian classics. Lubok prints were very popular in the nineteenth century. They were known as a favorite reading for peasants and burgers, and in fact, were considered as a public literature. Russian classical authors derived stories and clichés from the lubok literature. These borrowings were successfully identified by our contemporaries, but not by descendants. This article analyzes the lubok roots of Gogol’s novel “The Nose” and “The Tale of Tsar Saltan” by A. S. Pushkin. Pushkin and Gogol used lubok literature for different purposes. Using the lubok print “The Tale of The Nose and The Severe Frost”, Gogol was interested in the plot, the situation when the nose ceased to be a part of the human`s body and became an independent subject. Pushkin used the other way. Lubok literature was considered to be as a sample of the folk literature, that would enrich the literary language by developing new stylistic features. Therefore, he was not interested in the plot, but in some expressions, wordplays and clichés.