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Working paper

Формы прошлого в классической европейской литературе

The author of the article examines genres of classical European literature from Antiquity to XVIII century which had the Past as their subject (tragedy, epic literature and novel). The representation of the Past could be understood as myth, history or fairy tale (imaginary story); this triple division was worked out in Hellenistic poetics and it structured the whole history of high literary genres. In Ancient Greece mythic past was practically the only object of representation; in Ancient Rome history entered into tragedy and was brought to the forefront in the epic literature. In the Middle Ages religious drama returned to myth, epos remained mainly historical, and the novel emerged alongside as a new epical form concerned with the imaginary Past. In the literature of Renaissance, Classicism, Baroque and Enlightenment epos remained attained to the historical and mythological topics, while tragedy to the end of this long period approached to representation of the imaginary Present. Tragedy walked the whole way from myth to the imaginary story and from the Past to the Present. Epic literature stopped at the stage of the historical subject, and the novel made instead of it the last step to the Present and the imaginary stories. As a result only the novel managed to eliminate classical genre limitations on the object and forms of literary representation.