Aleksandr N. Meshalkin
Kostroma State University
The peasant world in the pre-revolutionary short stories by Ivan Kasatkin
Meshalkin A.N. The peasant world in the pre-revolutionary short stories by Ivan Kasatkin. Bulletin of Kostroma State University, 2020. vol. 26, № 2, pp. 151-155 (In Russ.). DOI 10.34216/1998-0817-2020-26-2-151-155
DOI: 10.34216/1998-0817-2020-26-2-151-155
УДК: 821.161.1.09”20”
Publish date: 2020-03-23
Annotation: The article examines the pre-revolutionary small prose of Ivan Kasatkin. It explores the social and moral dimensions of his stories, the individual features of his depiction of the life of Kostroma peasants in the turbulent years before the Russian Revolution of 1917. Ivan Kasatkin, a peasant born himself, offers an unprejudiced, realistic view of Kostroma fellas at the time, of their complex and contradictory world in all its entirety. In his opinion, the inertness and cruelty of male peasants has social roots, as this is the period when a fella is forced to live the life of a destitute, deprived of basic human rights and utterly humiliated. In this way, Ivan Kasatkin follows in the footsteps of his predecessors, known as Democrat-Writers, such as Nikolai Uspensky, Vasily Sleptsov, Alexander Levitov, as well as his contemporaries, such as Ivan Bunin. At the same time, he makes his own unique contribution to the artistic study of the plight of peasants. He believes, for example, in the feasibility of revolutionary rejuvenescence of life, he believes in peasant happiness. Above all, socially acute stipulations of change are manifest in his childhood narratives. The article focuses on the compositional features of the stories, namely, the use of the road motif, the use of contrast in the portrayal of people and nature, the use of symbolic imagery of forest and the Unzha River. The author argues that Ivan Kasatkin’s artistic approach, his poetics, enable him to convey the intensely poignant and morose atmosphere of living in rural central Russia on the eve of the Revolution, while pointing out the instinctive yearning of male peasants for the new, invigorating beginnings of life.
Keywords: realism, tradition, independence of artistic thinking, inertia and cruelty of peasant world, social topics, human rights, childhood, anticipation of change, motif of road, symbolisation of river and forest.
Literature list: Zankovskaia L.V. Krest'ianskie rasskazy I.M. Kasatkina [Peasant stories I.M. Kasatkina]. Novyi mir [New world], 2002. pp. 142–144. (In Russ.). Kasatkin I.M. Muzhik. Rasskazy [Man. Stories]. Moscow, Sovetskii pisatel' Publ, 1991. 382 p. (In Russ.). Krupyshev A.M. Prigotovlenie k zhizni [Preparation for life]. Vechnye vskhody: sb. ocherkov o pisateliakh Kostromskogo kraia / sost. Iu.V. Lebedev [Eternal seedlings: Sat. essays about the writers of the Kostroma region, comp. Yu.V. Lebedev]. Iaroslavl', Verkh.-Volzh. kn. izd.-vo Publ. 1986. pp. 114–128. (In Russ.). Lebedeva S.N. «Epicheskie poemy» I.M. Kasatkina [“Epic poems” I.M. Kasatkina] Vestnik Volzhskogo universiteta im. V.N. Tatishcheva [Bulletin of the Volga University by V.N. Tatishchev.], 2012, № 4. pp. 61–66. (In Russ.). Skobelev V.P. Tvorchestvo I.M. Kasatkina [Creativity I.M. Kasatkina] Revoliutsiia. Zhizn'. Pisatel' [Revolution. A life. Writer]. Voronezh, Izd-vo Voronezhskogo un-ta Publ, 1978. pp. 76–93. (In Russ.).
Author's info: Aleksandr N. Meshalkin, ORCID 0000-0001-7140-5572, Candidate of Philological Sciences, Associate Professor, Kostroma State University, Kostroma, Russia. E-mail: meshalkin62@bk.ru