“Edible” Detail in the Short Story of G. F. Kvitka-Osnovyanenko “Soldier's Portrait”

2022. № 3, 106-116

Anna V. Kravchenko, Maxim Gorky Institute of Literature and Creative Writing (Russia, Moscow),


The article examines “edible” details – the artistically significant food and beverage and their descriptions in the short story “Soldier's Portrait” by G. F. Kvitka-Osnovyanenko. The aim of the study is to compare the different short story translations into Russian and to reveal the “edible” detalisation value for the author and his translator (V. I. Dahl), to specify the role of such material in creation of the literary images of the characters, the Ukrainian life flavor and the national character traits.

The study comments on how the perception of the “edible” detail in works of G. F. Kvitka-Osnovyanenko has been changed: from the assessment of ethnographic significance towards the search for its functionality in crating a literary image. The article gives the assessment of V. I. Dahl’s attitude to this detailing level when working on his first short story translation into Russian. It is concluded that the strategy of the direct translation of the “edible” detail leads to the destruction of regional and author's gastronomic imagery, to missteps and even curiosities.

The analysis allows to confirm both the artistic and the stylistic significance of the regional (Ukrainian) “edible” detail returning to the Russian text of auto-translation by G. F. Kvitka-Osnovyanenko. The paper shows the “edible” detail multifunctional use in creation of the Ukrainian life flavor, the images of the characters and the national character traits. The increase of the role of such material in the work becomes noticeable: the author complicates the “edible” part function and uses it in more complex forms of description.

For citation:

Kravchenko A. V. “Edible” Detail in the Short Story of G. F. Kvitka-Osnovyanenko “Soldier’s Portrait”. Russian Speech = Russkaya Rech’. 2022. No. 3. Pp. 106–116. DOI: 10.31857/S013161170020749-2.