Dionysian Mystery in the Story “Lucerne” by L. N. Tolstoy
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Abstract: The article is the first attempt to consider the plot-forming functions of the mythologeme of Dionysus in “Lucerne” by L. N. Tolstoy. The interpretation of semantic imagery contexts of the Dionysian mystery in the story is based on the methodological principles of mythopoetic, structural-semantic, and systemic-functional text analysis. The Dionysian archetype is a significant semantic dominant in the mythologized paradigm of the character of a wandering musician who plays the key role in the plot of the mystery initiation experienced by Prince Nekhlyudov. Nekhlyudov is primarily presented as a person in need of spiritual renewal, since he was captured by dissonances and contradictions generated both by his own reflective consciousness and the distorted forms of rational-Apollonian orientations of modern civilization. The meeting with a wandering singer brings out in him the Dionysian elements of a superlogical world consciousness, which make it possible to feel the “causeless joy of life”, overcoming existential and social dichotomies. Unlike traditional mystery plots, the transformation of the character in Tolstoy’s short story does not end with the first initiation. Thanks to the musician, Nekhlyudov experiences spiritual liberation three times, revealing the Dionysian ability to accept and bless the world not only in its beauty, but also in its dissonances, in the dynamic harmony of eternally developing life. Thus, in “Lucerne”, as in several other Tolstoy’s works, the logic of prolonged mysterious initiations is revealed: the protagonist experiences revelation and transformation repeatedly, since, according to the writer, the last, final revelation is impossible. The open finale of the narrative interprets life as a continuously unfolding dialogue with the Universe, requiring from a person a Dionysian oblational self-sacrifice on the path to the fullness and integrity of existence.
Key words: Russian writers; literary creativity; literary genres; literary plots; stories; mystery; myths; archetypes; dionysian; initiation.
Ibatullina, G. M. (2020). Dionysian Mystery in the Story “Lucerne” by L. N. Tolstoy. In Philological Class. 2020. Vol. 25 ⋅ №4. P. 119-130. DOI 10.26170/FK20-04-12.