THE CHARACTER OF REYNARD THE FOX IN THE CHILDREN’S LITERATURE OF FRANCE, GERMANY AND LUXEMBURG (SECOND HALF OF THE 20TH – BEGINNING OF THE 21ST CENTURIES)
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Abstract: The article focuses on the variants of representation and author’s interpretation of the title character of the medieval fables “Reynard the Fox” in the children’s literature of three countries. The functioning of the plot about the Fox in the literary consciousness of France, Germany and Luxemburg is rather significant. The traditional plots and characters of the medieval folklore of the Germanic peoples, as indicated by the name of the main character, originating from the common Germanic roots regin ‘sovet’ и hart ‘krepkiy’ had influenced the formation of the character of a trickster, and were later introduced not only in the novel “Roman de Renard” in France in the 12th–13th centuries but also in the literature of the neighboring Germanic peoples (the Flemish, the Dutch, and the Germans). Thanks to the 19th century poem by Michel Rodange “Renert” (1872), the medieval character “moves” to Luxemburg, which is situated at the crossroads of cultural traditions, and, finally, receives various interpretations in the modern literature of the 20th and 21st centuries. The study is based on the literary works created over the period from the 1960s to 2018 and interpreting the image of the main character of “Reynard the Fox” in the literature for children and teenagers. The analysis shows that the interpretations of the “Reynard the Fox” do not only acquaint the growing generation with the literary classics but also function, the same as fables do, as certain didactic aids. The need for social adaptation of children and teenagers to the problems of life in society explains the interest in the plot about Reynard the Fox under new socio-cultural conditions. On the one hand, the children must acquire the main Christian values; and, on the other hand, in view of the threat of falling prey to false beliefs, they are acquainted, with the help of literary characters, with the kind of behavior that can help them become winners in various life situations. Alongside with the cunning and tricks of the fable characters, such as Tom Thumb and Little Red Riding Hood, the children are offered stories about the tricks of Reynard the Fox. The polysemantic nature and the multilayered structure of the “Reynard the Fox” have determined the use of the medieval plot with the purpose of its realization within new cultural-historical frames, or literary consciousness of other epochs. French children’s literature of the given period interpreting the character of the Fox remains to be more conservative than that of Germany and Luxemburg. The geographic and temporal variety of interpretations of the original work of literature corroborates the saliently archetypical nature of the novel both on the level of the plot and composition, and on the level of creation of the system of characters.
Key words: LIS REYNARD; ARCHETYPES; CHILDREN’S LITERATURE; LITERARY HEROES; FRENCH LITERATURE; GERMAN LITERATURE; LITERARY IMAGES
Kazakova, E. V. The Character of Reynard the Fox in the Children’s Literature of France, Germany and Luxemburg (second half of the 20th – beginning of the 21st centuries) / E. V. Kazakova, T. A. Sharypina. In Philological Class. 2019. №1 (55). P. 144-151. DOI 10.26170/FK19-01-21.