Prof. Helena Tolstoy. About introduction in the text of indirect, implicit meanings

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Helena Tolstoy’s lecture is devoted to introduction in the text of indirect, implicit meanings. It discusses  some such meanings that are called mythopoetic because they bring to the texts ways of thinking that are connected with myth, fairy-tale, religion, and superstition. Figures of speech the author uses often help him to smuggle such meanings in. Different personages in the novel are compared or otherwise linked with different things. Some, like Prince Andrei with his cult of Napoleon, are linked with a historic person. About others it is cleverly shown that they are linked to inanimate things. A number of personages are tied to this or that animal, so than one can speak of Tolstoy’s bestiary: the little Princess has an expression of a squirrel, Sonya is extensively likened to a kitten, the bearish Pierre takes part in the Houssars’ prank with a bear, his father has something of a lion, etc. If Sonya is a kitten, who is Natasha? The lecture shows that Natasha is included in this system too – but indirectly. Early versions of the novel help check what the author had in mind.

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