Racine and Mandelstam

Journal Title: Studia Litterarum - Year 2017, Vol 2, Issue 3


This article is a fragment of the PhD thesis Philosophical and Aesthetic Principles of Tragedy in Calderon and Racine (Department of the History of Foreign Literature, Moscow State University, 1988). In her dissertation, the author examined Racine’s presence in Mandelstam’s poetry against the theory of the tragic. Written in the essayistic form, the article examines the following basic images and key concepts of this general theme: (1) cascading shawls as emblematizing heaviness / lightness; (2) a word-confession as expression of pure and redemptive suffering; (3) death by word followed up by redemption. It pays particular attention to the image of the “black sun” and the “tainted day” in Racine’s Phaedra. According to Mandelstam, this image has different connotations and “does not evoke a ready-made meaning” (“Conversation about Dante”). In Racine, Sun is a sacred symbol, it is “the Hidden God”, or Deus absconditus of Jansenism. Phaedra’s sin stains the Sun and darkens it. Phaedra’s last words confirm the redemptive effect of her death. In the article “Pushkin and Scriabin,” Mandelstam writes about the tragic meaning of the artist’s death and compares it with Phaedra’s deed. The study of Racine’s presence in Mandelstam, taking into account the studies of such scholars as Barthes, Goldmann, Poulet and others, allows us to point out explicit and implicit allusions to Racine in Mandelstam’s poetry. It also helps to understand Mandelstam’s idea of the tragedy and the tragic as it developed from 1914 through 1920 when the poet was translating the great French tragedian and at the same time was trying to comprehend the tragic events he witnessed.

Authors and Affiliations

M. Yu. Ignatieva (Oganisyan)


Related Articles

Allegory, Poetrie, Rhetoric: On the Notion of Poetic Fiction in France at the End of the 15 th Century

The allegorical dimension of the text in the early French Renaissance culture became, under the influence of Boccaccio’s Genealogy of the Pagan Gods, the main argument in the defense of poetic fiction (fabula). However...


The essay focuses on the mythopoetic image of the apple tree and its ritual use in traditional culture and folklore of the Slavic nations. The work employs folklore material alongside ethnographic and linguistic data t...


The article deals with the way a literary work “creates” a document out of itself, on the example of Paul Auster’s novels. A document here is the report of a character, a private detective who is watching another chara...

“Prayer to the Archangel Michael” and “The Dream of Our Lady” in the Records of Petr G. Bogatirev (On the Archival Materials)

This is the first publication of “The Dream of Our Lady” and “The Prayer to Archangel Michael,” two pieces recorded by Petr G. Bogatirev in 1914–1915 in the village Bavykino of the Moscow region with a commentary. The pu...

Download PDF file
  • EP ID EP26172
  • DOI 10.22455/2500-4247-2017-2-3-204-219
  • Views 203
  • Downloads 15

How To Cite

M. Yu. Ignatieva (Oganisyan) (2017). Racine and Mandelstam. Studia Litterarum, 2(3), -. https://europub.co.uk/articles/-A-26172