Nikolai Leskov's Short Story The Unmercenary Engineers: Between Historical Source, Apocrypha and Hagiography
The paper presents Nikolai Leskov's approach towards history and historical sources as well as the methods writer used when composing his own historical discourse. The issue is discussed on the basis of writer's short story The Unmercenary Engineers where the early years of Dmitry Brianchaninov (the future St. Ignatius) are described. The text analysis demonstrates that Leskov extracted the hero's most important life events from The life story of the bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov edited by the friends of the deceased 12 years after his death (the source he repeatedly names), but at the same time he used several other testimonies, mainly oral. What is more important, from different sources he chooses the facts which better correspond with his own artistic conception and serve to create the appropriate image of Dmitry Brianchaninov. The writer seems to play with multiple points of view, thereby underlining the relativity of every historical narrative which is always an interpretation of the past.
Instytut Rusycystyki Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, ul. Szturmowa 4, 02-678 Warszawa, Poland
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