The Reminiscence of the Periphrasis “On the Banks of the Neva” in the Memoirs of Irina Odoevtseva

2023. № 1, 114-127

Karina A. Zhulkova, Institute of Scientifi c Information on Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia, Moscow),
Victoria V. Nikultseva, Moscow University of Finance and Law MFUA (Russia, Moscow),


The article emphasizes the reminiscent nature of the nominative periphrasis “on the banks” (rus. — na beregah) and draws attention to the fact that the onomastic periphrasis that Russian poetess and prose writer Odoevtseva uses in the title, in the epigraph, in the preface as well as in the conclusion of her memoirs, is not used as in Ivanov’s version “on the shore” (rus. — na beregu) and not in the Pushkin’s bookish version “on the rivages” with the incomplete-vowel lexeme (rus. — na bregah), but in the full-vowel (rus. — na beregah). That makes it more secular and expands not only the urban place of the city described in the memoirs, but also the literary context.
Thereby, the author of the memoirs refers to a great range of poetic works of XIX and XX centuries (“Eugene Onegin”, “October 19” (“The forest drops its crimson dress ...”) by A. Pushkin, “January day. On the banks of the Neva ...” by G. Ivanov, “Cassandra” by O. Mandelstam, “Elegy” by A. Ladinsky, “December 14, 1918” by Z. Gippius, “To my homeland. Elegy” by P. Pletnev, etc.), which establish a special style characteristic of the literature of St. Petersburg. The periphrasis “on the banks of the Neva” becomes a functional stylistic device and a distinctive feature that gives additional allusions to Odoevtseva’s memoirs, in which the post-revolutionary Petrograd (formerly name of St. Petersburg) is presented as the centre of Russian culture rather than a city of historical upheaval.

For citation:

Zhulkova K. A., Nikultseva V. V. The Reminiscence of the Periphrasis “On the Banks of the Neva” in the Memoirs of Irina Odoevtseva. Russian Speech = Russkaya Rech’. 2023. No. 1. Pp. 114–127.