Institute of Scientific Information for Social Sciences
of the Russian Academy of Sciences
The Journal of Literary History and Theory
Peer-reviewed Academic Journal


Zadorina A.O.

Alena O. Zadorina, PhD in Philology, Associate Professor, Department of Culturology and Art Studies, Siberian Federal University, Svobodny Avenue, 82 А, 660041, Krasnoyarsk, Russia. ORCID ID: ; E-mail: amaltea-20


The article deals with transformation of the gospel parable about eternal life in the stylistically heterogeneous texts of L.M. Leonov. By the use of structural-typological method and the method of motif analysis the key constants of biblical plot are identified: the motif of spiritual and bodily thirst, the motif of unrighteous life (adultery), the motif of life choice, images of the desert and water, the dialogue of the sinner and the righteous. The article reveals Leonov’s precedent texts in which this plot is actualized: these are the works of the 1930 s in which the elements of symbolist and socialist realism writing are combined. The analysis shows that the appeal to the parable in Leonov’s works emphasizes the motif of carnal temptation which is absent in the canonical text. Female images in Leonov are presented as temptresses, harlots, which is emphasized by the paraphrases of the dialogue between the Samaritan woman and Christ about the number of her husbands. A significant deviation from the biblical source is associated with the image of the second participant of the dialogue. Christ in the Bible gives instruction to a woman, and his image is connected with the motives of teaching, salvation, Divine power. Leonov does not have such a character. Closest to this type is the hero ascetic of the story “Locust” while in other cases the hero is presented in a reduced, travesty form which corresponds to the image of a righteous man only formally. Thus, Leonov’s appeal to the parable of the Samaritan woman and the Savior is associated with the development of the temptation motif, one of the most significant in the writer’s work, however, unlike the original source, his thirsty characters are not destined to find the source of eternal life.


biblical story; eternal life; spiritual thirst; bodily thirst; temptation; motive for choosing the path.





For citation

Zadorina, A.O. “The plot of the Samaritan Woman at the Well in the Works of Leonid Leonov”. Literaturovedcheskii zhurnal, no. 4(62), 2023, pp. 11–21. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.31249/litzhur/2023.62.01

DOI: 10.31249/litzhur/2023.62.09


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