“House Under the Pear Tree” Cherubina de Gabriak: A Mask as a Condition of a Poetic Dialogue

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Нина Барковская


The article discusses the poetic cycle created by E.I. Vasilyeva in 1927, during her exile in Tashkent. The poems are attributed to the exiled Chinese poet Li Xiang Tzu, Vasilyeva herself designated herself as a translator, using the former pseudonym of Cherubina de Gabriac. The problem posed in the article: why does the author use the 1909 literary mask in 1927? What was Vasilyeva’s goal in this secondary hoax? To clarify the questions posed, biographical information about the author was used, con- cerning her acquaintance with Yu. Shutsky and the active anthroposophical activity of Vasilyeva. Also taken into account were works on the mask as a cultural phenomenon and the practice of literary hoaxes. The analysis made the following conclusions. The cycle “House under a pear tree”, consisting of 21 poems, is divided into three parts, 7 texts each, based on thematic motives. In the first part, the motives of separation and foreign land prevail; in the second part the theme of memory sounds; the third part embodies the anthroposophical aspirations of the lyrical subject. Unlike the “dense” Cherubina mask of 1909, which replaced the real author, the masks of Li Xiang Tzu and Cherubina-Dmitrieva in the Tashkent cycle are transparent, deliberately demys- tified by the author. Chinese figurative details, floristic motives, the theme of the in- itiatory path, allusions to modernism at the beginning of the twentieth century. play the role of semiotic units connecting the cultural memory of the reader-interlocutor. Transparent masks removed one after another in a cycle organize a dialogue with the reader, a dialogue with a cultural context, a dialogue-self-reflection and indicate the “unreadiness”, the processuality of the true spiritual “I” of the lyrical subject, striving to unite Heaven, Earth and Human.


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Literary studies