Man in the Face of Fate: The Motive of Transformation in Gaito Gazdanov’s Short Prose

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Альфия Смирнова


The article analyzes the short prose of Gaito Gazdanov, the stories Transformation, Error, The Fate of Salome, Princess Mary, reveals the meaning and function of the motive of transformation. One of the central questions in the writer’s work is the existential question “man in the face of fate”, which is being implemented in the writer’s texts in the system of motives: happiness and misery, transformation and death, homelessness and roads, etc. The fate of Gazdanov’s characters is formed in such a way that as they pass through the test of death, they fi nd themselves in a situation of “ontological threshold”. After experiencing the initiation, they return to life as different people: the hero of the story Transformation feels a death attraction and regrets that he survived, the female character of another story, The Fate of Salome, after experiencing horror abandons her past and begins a new life in another country. The transformation also occurs with the female character of the story Error, who, having come into contact with the death of her beloved person, realizes the error of her past life and radically changes it. The motive of transformation allows us to reveal the drama of a person (“Another”), deprived of his native home and homeland, in the story of Princess Mary, whose fate is predetermined by the fate of an emigrant, forced to lead a double life.


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Literary studies