Bunin’s Background in Boris Yulsky’s “White Mazurka”
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Abstract: The article deals with the story “White Mazurka” by the writer of the Eastern emigration Boris Yulsky. Yulsky’s creative work is usually associated with Chinese traditions, highlighting the oriental line which permeates his prose. However, in the vein of classical Russian literature, Yulsky created two works which refer the reader to the mid 19th century and bring them back to the world of noble manors and Pyatigorsk resorts. These are “Lermontov’s” short story “The Moon over Beshtau” and the story “White Mazurka”. The urgency of the study consists in identifying Bunin’s themes in Yulsky’s prose on the example of his story “White Mazurka” and in discovering the position of the artist who wrote his works in the middle of the 20th century. The research methods rest on the historico-literary, phenomenological, typological and comparative approaches and are based on the works of researchers of the poetics of the Eastern emigration and specialists in Bunin’s creative activity. The purpose of the study is to show that the story “White Mazurka” does not only demonstrate the reception of the noble Russia in the new century and new (eastern) space, but is also a reference to the short story written two years earlier by I. A. Bunin – “Natalie” from the collection “Dark Alleys”. The motives and the elements of the plot of Bunin’s short story and Yulsky’s story have a certain similarity: the arrival of a young relative at a noble manor, the meeting with the main female character, the characters’ ambivalent love – carnal and sublime, the ball scenes which became mainstream in both texts, the separation, and the tragic finale. At the same time, “White Mazurka” also echoes other short stories from “Dark Alleys” (“Tanya”, “Zoyka and Valeria”) and even kind of anticipates the “Clean Monday” of 1944. Conclusions. The “parody” of the 19th century turns into the creation of a new text in Yulsky’s story, which, on the one hand, combines the motives of classical literature, and on the other, shows how Bunin’s background forms the position of the 20th century modernist, who creates a multi-layered narrative space joining the tradition and its transfiguration in new forms.
Key words: I. A. Bunin; B. Yulsky; Eastern emigration; tradition; intertextuality; narrative.
Kulikova, E. Yu. (2020). Bunin’s Background in Boris Yulsky’s “White Mazurka”. In Philological Class. 2020. Vol. 25 ⋅ №3. P. 39-47. DOI 10.26170/FK20-03-03.