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

STORY AND PLOT IN THE M. YU. LERMONTOV’S NOVEL HERO OF OUR TIME: SOME OBSERVATIONS

Ranchin A.M.

Abstract

The subject of analysis in this article is the relationship between story (syuzhet) and plot (fabula) in the novel A Hero of Our Time. It is considered not from a traditional point of view, not in terms of the writer’s violation of the chronology of events when arranging chapter stories into a single text (that is, not in the aspect of composition), but in terms of eventfulness and, more broadly, semantics: the story (syuzhet) is a unique interpretation of the events that make up the plot (fabula). Event, following Yu. M. Lotman and M. Bal, is understood as crossing a semantic boundary, manifested in a change in the external and / or internal state of the character. It is demonstrated that, despite the eventual tension of the plots in most of the chapter stories, at the higher (story) level, neither the internal nor the external position of the central character changes. Moreover, Pechorin either disavows the goals he has set, or, in achieving his plans, does not receive satisfaction. At the supra-plot level (which in the article is somewhat conventionally defined as a syuzhet), the novel is devoid of events: their absence is the story of A Hero of Our Time. In this respect, Lermontov’s work, despite the similarity of individual motifs, is radically different from contemporary Russian romantic stories and comes close partly with poems of the Byronic type, and even more with French psychological novels, such as Adolphe by B. Constant and Confession of a Son of the Century by A. de Musset.

Keywords

M. Yu. Lermontov; Hero of Our Time; narratology; event; plot; story; Russian romantic story; French psychological novel.

For citation

Ranchin, A.M. “Story and Plot in the M. Yu. Lermontov’s Novel Hero of Our Time: Some Observationsˮ. Literaturovedcheskii zhurnal, no. 1(63), 2024, pp. 169–193. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.31249/litzhur/2024.63.09

DOI: 10.31249/litzhur/2024.63.09

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