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Article

Rocambolesque: фарс истории или игра в биографию (к проблеме типологии авантюрного нарратива. Подходы к теме)

Whenever adventure was central to a description, a specific language was created to accommodate the emergence of a particular genre and narrative configuration. Adventure narratives, the life stories of heroic adventurers, have always been an attractive source of inspiration, often inviting imitation. This article examines several variations of those components which are so typical of the adventure narratives adopted by the Russian literary tradition in the 19th century. Analysed here are the social, cultural and political aspects that stimulated readers' interest in the quest underpinning the history, and in the heroic adventurer as a type. The vivid display of such interest is particularly evident during the second half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. This period is linked to radical changes that were taking place in daily life, to an awareness of the approaching turn of the century, as well as to the emergence of a new type of hero - a gambler, a seeker of adventure, and someone who is the author of his/her own life and biography. For Russian literature and the reading public, of particular significance was the series about Rocambole, by Pierre Alexis Ponson du Terrail, which appeared in France (Les Exploits de Rocambole ou les drames de Paris, 1859-1884). The highly absorbing stories of this metafictional character - a resourceful adventurer - gained enormous popularity and gave rise to the term rocambolesque, which is indicative of something being exceptionally remarkable or in the style of Rocambole. The article traces patterns of perception and interpretations of the image of the heroic adventurer in Russian literature and journalism during the period 1870-1930. The transformation of a number of French novels featuring Rocambole, set against a Russian background, is examined on the basis of historical fiction and documentary sources.