On Bacchic Vocabulary in F. M. Dostoevsky’s Novel “Crime and Punishment”

2020. № 1, 56-67

Olga A. Dimitrieva, I. Yakovlev Chuvash State Pedagogical University (Russia, Cheboksary), olgaal_79@mail.ru


The article deals with the vocabulary characterizing the situation associated with the use of alcohol, or Bacchic vocabulary, in F. M. Dostoevsky’s novel “Crime and Punishment”. We’ve considered the language used by the author to characterize the state of intoxication and its peculiarities in his novel. The research suggests that the adjectives in the novel play a special part in helping us understand atmosphere of wine drinking. The word combinations of adjectives and temporal and quantitative adverbs, as well as adverbs with the qualitative characteristic of the attribute, are also of interest. The article draws attention to the fact that some Bacchic words have a peculiar connection to the spatial world of the novel. In particular, we analyze the differences between two expressions za pivom (while drinking beer) and pered posudinkoi (literally in front of the bottle). The paper proposes that through the use of Bacchic vocabulary F. M. Dostoyevsky established a connection between lookalike heroes (e. g. Raskolnikov and Svidrigailov). It is concluded that the original intent to name the novel “The Drunken” was deliberate and this lexeme bore a special meaning. The Bacchic vocabulary is used by Dostoevsky to express a strong emotional shock, the physical embodiment of which is associated with alcohol intoxication. For example, Raskolnikov is often mistaken for a drunken: in the scene after the murder and during repentance in the square, his appearance is associated with the state of excessive alcoholic intoxication, expressed by intense verbs with a word formant na- ... -sya. In conclusion, it is to say that Bacchic vocabulary has a symbolic role in the novel.