Article: PDF
DOI: 10.51762/1FK-2022-27-01-14
Abstract: The article investigates the novel by Ivan Sergeevich Shmelev “The Sun of the Dead” (1923), dedicated to the Civil War in Russia as one of the most critical periods in Russian history. The text of the work, considered by the authors of the article to be an expression of “a story told”, thematizes, for example, the relationship between the Bolsheviks and the Church, the purposeful destruction of the intelligentsia, the use of hunger as a tool of the population control, the barbaric treatment of the civilian population, the disrespect for the workers on whose behalf the Bolsheviks incited the revolution and the depreciation of human life and material wealth. The novel also accuses Europe of having idly watched the destruction of the remnants of old Russia. The analysis is based mainly on historical and comparative methods, with the help of which the text of the work is associated with historical events, on the one hand, and with the biblical New Testament text, primarily with the “Revelation to St. John”, on the other. The analysis carried out shows that the writer’s creative plan is based on the belief that the Civil War represents the end of one era, which is primarily shown in the signs that can be associated with the images of biblical horsemen who bring destruction. The comparative analysis confirms that in his novel, Shmelev touches on the motifs found in the Bible. In the text of the novel, special attention is paid to the motif of the end and the themes of destruction and annihilation, which are considered universal by the biblical text. Shmelev’s almost documentary text depicts them as phenomena characterizing the dangerous sprouts of a new way of life in post-revolutionary Russia. At the end of the article, the main conclusions are formulated, which are based on the opinion that Shmelev managed to include both the structure and the thematic elements of the biblical text in the novel “The Sun of the Dead”, building the novel as a stylized, updated version of the apocalypse. The text under consideration can be viewed both as “evidence” and as a historical document, which, from the point of view of an eyewitness acting in the person of the narrator, reflects the process of the formation of Soviet power in Crimea in connection with a more widely understood historical context, both Russian and European.
Key words: Russian literature; Russian writers; literary creative activity; literary genres; literary motifs; literary plots; novels; civil war; Bible; apocalypse.

Для цитирования:

Догнал, Й. Мотивы апокалипсиса в романе И. С. Шмелева «Солнце мертвых» / Й. Догнал, И. Цинтула // Philological Class. – 2022. – Vol. 27 ⋅ №1. – С. 123-132. DOI 10.51762/1FK-2022-27-01-14.

For citation

Dohnal, J., Cintula, I. (2022). Motifs of Apocalypse in I. S. Shmelev’s Novel “Sun of the Dead”. In Philological Class. 2022. Vol. 27 ⋅ №1. P. 123-132. DOI 10.51762/1FK-2022-27-01-14.

About the author(s) :

Josef Dohnal

University of Ss. Cyril and Methodius (Trnava, Slovak Republic)

Masaryk University (Brno, Czech Republic)

ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0763-5784


Igor Cintula

University of Ss. Cyril and Methodius (Trnava, Slovak Republic)

ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6740-9669

Publication Timeline:

Date of receipt: 29.08.2021; date of publication: 30.03.2022


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