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2024 №31

Author: Youlia A. Maritchik-Sioli
About the author:

Youlia A. Marichik-Sioli — PhD in Philology, Senior Researcher, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya St., 25А, bld. 1, 121069 Moscow, Russia.


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The article is devoted to the reception of the novel “The Body” (1933) by emigré writer E.V. Bakunina in French and Russian literary criticism in the early 1930s. A number of researchers have already analyzed the responses of Russian critics to the publication of the novel but have not paid enough attention to a cross-sectional view of the perception of the writer’s work. This question is of interest insofar as it allows us to identify weaknesses and strengths of Bakunina’s work and rethink the literary and cultural norms established in the early 20th century. One of the article’s crucial questions is critics’ reaction to the verbalization of the female character’s body experience. In France, the literary context of the 1920s and 1930s, the presence of progressive journals, and some trends in the history of French literature contributed to the fleeting but genuine interest of critics in the novel. At the same time, the focus on preserving the best traditions of Russian literature in exile, the historical “memory of culture,” and the requirement to observe the artistic measure led to a sharp rejection of body discourse among emigré critics. The conclusion focuses on the stereotypical perception of the novel by French and Russian literary criticism, and emphasizes the importance of studying the creative heritage of “minor” authors. If French literary criticism often perceived Bakunina’s novel through the prism of the distinctive features of the “Slavic soul,” then Russian criticism judged the writer’s novel through an established grid of artistic criteria (measure, taste, femininity).

Keywords: “women’s literature,” “emigré daughters,” reception, body discourse, artistic measure, “minor author.”
For citation:

Marichik-Sioli, Y.A. “ʽVery Russian, the French Would Say... Very French, the Russians Would Say’: The Metamorphosis of E. Bakunina’s Novel ‘The Body’ in French and Russian Literary Criticism.” Literaturnyi fakt, no. 1 (31), 2024, pp. 217–241. (In Russ.)


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