Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk district: About Leskov's Literariness
This paper explores the concept of of 'literariness' (Roman Jakobson's term) on the material of Leskov's popular scetch Lady Makbet of Mtsensk District. Literariness in Leskov’s „Lady Macbeth” consists of a certain set of literary devices, including: using intertexts from Shakespeare and folklore; cohesive motifs (red and gold colors, the image of river, the black viper), the narrative details (poisoned tea), an overarching liturgical subtext as a symbol (the feast of the Mother of God’s Entrance into the Temple), and a creature appearing as a mystic symbol (the cat). All these marked elements are not merely operative in the texture of the work but also incorporated in a way that makes them nonobvious. Each element has worked for the overall goal — of making the main character more signifcant, or revealing the true meaning of the events for the story as a whole. As a result of this dual activity of, frst, activating and, then, hiding literary elements, the work itself exemplifes true literariness, in Roman Jakobson’s sense.