The European Cultural Code in A.I. Solzhenitsyn's Prose: Specific Features of Artistic Functioning


  • Guzel Golikova
  • Olga Volkova
  • Olga Palutina


The article considers some features of artistic functioning of the European cultural code in certain works by A.I. Solzhenitsyn (the story “Matryona's Place” and the novel “The First Circle”). Consistency of the writer’s reference to a medieval Western code, despite its traditional character and close interaction with the Russian classical tradition, is determined by the special outlook of the author, poetics of his creative work and the tasks facing the writer in artistic realization of each concrete work. The theme of Russia (authentic, “nutryanaya”), vividly presented in the story “Matryona's Place” through the symbolic image of Matryona, is a connecting thread not only with the Russian classical tradition and Biblical imagery, but also with the medieval novel about Tristan and Isolde which enables the writer to expressively highlight the opposition “true – false”, including the level of implication, to strengthen the realization of the “vice versa” principle and the principle of “false mirrors”. The camp theme stated in the novel “The First Circle” logically leads the writer to Dante’s “Divine Comedy”, to “Dante’s” code, forming not only ideological and symbolic value of the novel, but also its architectonics. The symbolics of a circle organizes the chronotopes of the novel, Stalin’s hell circles and the horizontal of Non-freedom. The knightly code through the writer’s reference to the Grail symbolics and his symbolic search, which is transformed into the search of Truth and Verity in a totalitarian state, forms a moral and philosophical core of the work, a special symbolics - the symbol of a ladder, the way of the knight up to the Grail Castle, which forms a symbolic vertical of Freedom and turns the motive complex of the novel (first of all – the motives of nativity, resurrection, lavation, moral rebirth, etc.) into special moral and philosophical integrity. The genuine "Russianness" of the writer solving in his creative work not only concrete historical problems, but also the problems of moral and philosophical character in search of universal human values, the Truth, the Verity, the Perfection, brings him to a wide field of the West European culture, in particular, of the medieval one.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2015.v6n3s2p121


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How to Cite

Golikova, G., Volkova, O., & Palutina, O. (2015). The European Cultural Code in A.I. Solzhenitsyn’s Prose: Specific Features of Artistic Functioning. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 6(3 S2), 121. Retrieved from