Boris Volkov. The Return of a Forgotten Name
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Abstract: The article for the first time presents the work of the writer of the Eastern emigration Boris Nikolaevich Volkov (1894–1954). He was known to contemporaries for his publications in Harbin, Shanghai, Paris, Prague and other cities, where he was published under various pseudonyms. However, he is now a forgotten author. The article analyzes two short stories by Volkov: “The Steppe Crow” and “The Descendant of Genghis Khan” from the perspective of the writer’s autobiography, as well as in the light of the cultural traditions of the Mongols. The analysis involved the “Ancient Mongolian Legend of Genghis Khan”, which helps to reveal the semantic core of the plot motives of the works related to the traditions of steppe hospitality. The most exotic of them is hospitable heterism. The plots of both works are based on autobiographical events and refer to the early period of the writer’s life, when he was a Civil War participant on the side of Kolchak. Sent by the admiral to Mongolia to oppose Ungern’s Pan-Mongol campaign, Volkov was sentenced to death by the baron. So he was forced to flee to China. The Mongols helped him in his dangerous journey. The twists and turns of this adventurous part of the biography are reflected in the two works under analysis. In them, Volkov appears as a real artist, whose works replenish the arsenal of ethnographic literature. Thematically, both stories belong to the corpus of works that develop an international theme in Russian literature of the early twentieth century. The characters of the stories learn the wise and poetic attitude of the Mongols to the world, to life and death, based on ancient traditions and customs.
Key words: Literary emigration; Eastern emigration; writers-emigrants; literary creative activity; Russian emigration; literary genres; short stories; literary plots; poetics of the plot; cultural transfer; hospitable heterism
Proskurina, E. N. (2020). Boris Volkov. The Return of a Forgotten Name. In Philological Class. 2020. Vol. 25 ⋅ №4. P. 60–69. DOI 10.26170/FK20-04-06.