Literary Borrowing in the Work of N.S. Leskov: A Case Study of The Spendthrift
Leskov researchers have often and justifiably focussed on the influence of Old Russian literature and folklore in his prose. However, 19th century Russian literature is equally essential to his work. Leskov often borrowed plot devices, images, and names from his contemporaries; these aspects of his work, namely his 'intertextuality' and literature-centrism are under-appreciated. This paper demonstrates this aspect of his poetics using his play The Spendthrift, showing that The Spendthirft presents a combination of allusions to 19th century works including A.S. Griboedov's Woe From Wit, N.V. Gogol's The Inspector General, A.N. Ostrovsky's Krechinsky's Wedding and A.V. Sukovo-Kobylin's The Case. Using the terminology of postmodernism, the term "pastiche" may be rightfully applied to Leskov's play. Whereas in postmodern art, pastiche is the result of the author's frustration with everything already having been written, Leskov uses others' texts for polemical purposes with the intention of formulating his own literary position.