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On Ekphrastic Thesaurus in Alexander Grin’s Works. P. 73–81

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Section: Philology




Margarita I. Kryukova
Institute of Philology, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences; ul. Nikolaeva 8, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russian Federation;
Elena Yu. Kulikova
Institute of Philology, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences; ul. Nikolaeva 8, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russian Federation;


Ekphrasis plays a very important role in Alexander Grin’s artistic world and is widespread in his works, which indicates the writer’s adherence to the intermedial paradigm of 20th-century culture with its attention to the synthesis of arts and inclination for media systems. This article analyses ekphrastic thesaurus in Alexander Grin’s oeuvre and classifies the descriptions of works of art found in his prose. Grin applies different kinds of ekphrasis: classical, dynamic, mimetic, non-mimetic, and topographic ekphrasis. Predominance of non-mimetic ekphrasis was identified, when the paintings, sculptures and artefacts described do not exist in reality. The author creates amazing pictures and statues in his imagination and then puts their detailed descriptions in writing. In his works, Grin verbalizes painting and sculpture, endowing them with dynamic representation and making them either part of the plot or fullfledged characters. In addition, this study dwells on the correlation between the concepts of ekphrasis and metaphor. Ekphrasis is almost exclusively based on metaphor which assimilates the living with the lifeless and vice versa. Grin’s ekphrastic thesaurus is broader than the traditional definitions of this concept; his prose combines the static and the dynamic in a natural way. Paintings in works of art (Grin’s prose in this case is rather a confirmation of than exception to the rule) are always pictures brought alive. Conversely, an artist can, through ekphrasis, impart deathly features to the living world, opposed to the frozen world of art, as “liveliness” of the world of art can be described more convincingly than the dynamics of the real world. A writer represents an image as something living and contrasts an abstract combination of objects and things – forms of space devoid, in his opinion, of meaning – with the content or descriptive beauty of the picture. Thus, the intratextual space in Grin’s works can generate the pictorial.


Alexander Grin, intermediality, ekphrastic thesaurus, ekphrasis, non-mimetic ekphrasis, dynamization of ekphrasis
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