MIKHAIL SHISHKIN’S RUSSIAN SWITZERLAND IN THE CONTEXT OF GUIDEBOOK GENRE
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Abstract: Russian Switzerland is legitimately interpreted as a historic and philosophical treatise on Russia’s and Europe’s pathways not only in critical reviews, but also in the author’s self-commentary. However, at the same time the meaning of the author’s definition of its genre — ‘historic and literary guidebook’ — is underestimated. The book, as it is commonly stated, «only pretends to be a guidebook». Meanwhile, all the constitutive features of a guidebook are strictly observed here — the narrative follows the advance in space and is divided into parts according to locations. In this way, the form of a guidebook contributes to Shishkin’s poetics of achronistic linking. The order of history obeys the order of space: ‘Swiss geography interlinks Russian history in the most unusual combinations’. Furthermore, as is required by the genre of a guidebook, one of the main story lines in Russian Switzerland is the dialogue on space. The narrative is permeated with expressive descriptions of Swiss landscapes seen by the Russian artistic community. Here we see two images of space collide: Swiss highland and Russian lowland. The philosophy of plain collides with the philosophy of mountains, the «mountainous philosophy». By transferring the structure of a guidebook from applied into historic and cultural sphere, Shishkin has produced a promising shift of genre. His attention to metaphysics of space, the idea of projecting cultural and historic collisions into space and compelling the historicо-philosophical narrative to the principles of guidebook genre have turned to be an important step in the historic-literary perspective. Russian Switzerland has anticipated the projection of ‘spatial turn’ into the practice of Russian cultural geographical essay writing. Its development in Russia is connected with the activity of the ‘Putyevoj Zhurnal’ [Travel Journal] literary research group (A. Baldin, R. Rakhmatullin, D. Zamyatin).
Key words: MIKHAIL SHISHKIN, GUIDEBOOK GENRE, SPATIAL TURN, CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY
Abashev, V. V. Mikhail Shishkin’s Russian Switzerland in the Context of Guidebook Genre / V. V. Abashev. In Philological Class. 2016. №2 (44). P. 60-64. DOI 10.26710/fk16-02-11 .