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Article

«Любовь сильнее смерти»: о восприятии «Клары Милич» Тургенева Франсом

The paper makes the first attempt at analyzing I. Turgenev’s tale Clara Militch as a pretext for A. France’s Leslie Wood. France uses Turgenev’s text in several ways, taking plot elements (the motives of chaste marriage, physical love between the protagonist and his dead lover, the death of the protagonist), borrowing the personages system and citing Turgenev’s characters directly. These borrowings prove that France consciously alluded to Turgenev’s tale. The borrowings so numerous allowed us to look at Leslie Wood as a certain interpretation of Clara Militch. Still, France’s perception of Turgenev’s tale seems to have been different from that of the contemporary critics. He was not interested in either historic or cultural context, nor in the psychoanalytic aspect of the tale. Instead, France concentrated on the theme of mystic love, the interaction between the male and the female, interpreting these aspects in his own way. While physical love stars the heroine, Leslie Wood is built around the man’s feelings and actions. Turgenev’s heroine displays a bright, even demonic personality, whereas France’s character obediently follows her husband. France does not stress the fatality of love beyond grave, but rather studies its role in the progress of the human soul. Placed among the other stories of the cycle L’Étui de nacre, many of which also deal with the theme of love and death and chaste marriage, Turgenev’s plot becomes another point of view in the complex narrative system of the cycle. Still, looking at Leslie Wood with the view of Clara Militch softens France’s irony, showing the characters in a more dramatic, tragic light.