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2022 №25

Author: Elizaveta A. Legen’kova
About the author:

Elizaveta A. Legen’kova — PhD, Professor, Head of Department, Department of German and Romance Languages, St. Petersburg University of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Fuchika 15, 192236 St. Petersburg, Russia.

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The article deals with the image of the Lenin’s Mausoleum and the cult of the leader associated with it in the travelogues of French writers and journalists in the second half of the 1920s and early 1930s. The Mausoleum is the constant place of pilgrimage for both the Soviet people and foreign guests. For French travelers it is of interest as a Moscow sight reflecting the ideology of the Soviet system, a means of propaganda, a place for planting new cults and religions, which seemed strange in Moscow that proclaimed atheism. The authors note the Asian character of this cult, which demonstrates the impenetrability of the Western and Eastern mentalities. Arguing with Soviet propaganda, which is effective in a country where the vast majority of the population is illiterate, they come to the conclusion that it is impossible to create a myth about the leader’s immortality in civilized countries with a long democratic tradition. Based on the stereotypes that have entered in the minds of the French since the time of Marquis de Custine and creating new ones, the authors try to comprehend the Mausoleum as a cultural phenomenon. The detailed ekphrastic descriptions and sketches from crowd standing in line at the Mausoleum are overland with philosophical reflections and journalistic pathos. The counter arguments to Soviet propaganda is the metaphor of a dead man masqueraded in a living person, extended not only to the image of Lenin, but also to the dominant ideology of the state he has built. The Appendix contains Russian translations of excerpts from travelogues by French authors.

Keywords: Mausoleum, Lenin, travelogue, French novelists and journalists, Soviet propaganda, myth, West and East.
For citation:

Legen'kova, E.A. “‘Great Grave’: Mausoleum of V.I. Lenin in French Travelogue of the 1920 –1930s.” Literaturnyi fakt, 2022, no. 3 (25), pp. 110–141 (In Russ.) 


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