The article sets out to analyse the evolution of the architectural image of the future in Dostoevsky’s work. Two fundamental lines are identified – the City and the Garden. Both are of Biblical origin. In Dostoevsky the image of the City is from the very beginning the negative symbol of possible social development in contrast to the Garden which, on the basis of a perceived folk tradition, is presented as the positive image of the autochthonous Russian utopia.
The analysis of the literary evolution of the two utopian images is then extended to early 20th-century Russian literature. The dichotomy between negative City and positive Garden proves to be clear in most Russian writers with a few notable exceptions (Chayanov, Khlebnikov and above all Platonov) who are orientated towards the difficult task of a synthesis between the two.
The origins of the old-Russian legend about the invisible Kitezh-town can be traced back to the Mongol invasion of Russia: according to the legend, God showed mercy on Kitezh, besieged by the cruel khan Batyj, and made the town invisible. After the schism in the Ortodox Church, the old Believers changed the original nucleus of the legend, which now urged the faithful to leave the corrupt world ruled by Antichrist and enter the holy Kitezh-town. A rich folklore developed around the Kitezh theme; it was so dear to the Russian people that they even worshipped the lake (Svetlojar) upon whose shores they believed the miraculous town stood. Since the second half of the 19th century Kitezh has found its way into Russian literature, becoming a symbol for many writers and poets up to the present day.
This study elaborates a typology of the concept of Paradise in medieval Russia through the analysis of contemporary literary texts. On the basis of terms designating the afterlife, an attempt is made to identify the reception of this idea by medieval Russian society, with particular reference to the understanding of space and time. In this light, consideration is also made of various spaces on earth with the characteristics necessary to render them comparable to Paradise: sacred places, such as churches and monasteries, as well as fantastic lands. Attention is also paid to descriptions of nature, seen as a place of peace, close to the image of the garden of Eden. Such places are considered earthly paradises, sharing many characteristics with the hereafter. The affinities in the tratment of space and time, which assume a higher meaning (sacred and eternal) are especially remarkable, as are other elements perceived by the medieval Russian as a part of the image of a brighter future, on earth as in heaven. An important conclusion concerns a significant similarity between Russian and Western ideas of Paradise, since the literary sources largely coincide. The study closes with a proposal to conduct further research aimed at identifying specific Russian features in the field of folklore.
The term “Soviet folk tale” refers to a specific folk genre that developed in the Soviet Union on the basis of the centuries-old traditions of the Russian folk tale: it was an attempt to use an existing cultural model for ideological and political purposes.
The typological-structural study of the analogies and differences between the poetic features of the traditional folk tale and the Soviet folk tale at a number of levels (sintagmatic semantic narrative, typological and verb-subject) and in a number of genres (magic realistic and allegorical) leads to the identification of methods and procedures necessary for the mythification of reality and of the Soviet hero.