Библиографическое описание:

Кунусова А. Н. The images of Venice and “Northern Venice” in the Russian Poetry of XX-th century: the parallels and the areas of contact // Молодой ученый. — 2011. — №8. Т.2. — С. 22-24.

One of the prominent features of the Venetian text of the XX-th century (mainly in its second half) is the contamination of two topos – Venice and Petersburg. The relationship between these two cities is defined by a number of reasons both at formal, and at cultural-esthetic levels. “A second practical reason for the prominent place of Venice in Russian literature and thought is in the model it offers for comparison with a seemingly “native» entity: the city of St Petersburg” (Hinrichs, 1997: 64). The researcher considers that the representation of the communications between Venice and Petersburg in the Russian literature gains in strength after known events of 1917 and is connected with the subsequent actualization of the motive of the apocalypse, characteristic for both cities.

The most wide artistic interpretation of the spiritual unity of the two loci is represented by the works of Joseph Brodsky, for which Venice was a mirror reflection of his native city, in which he was unable to return. Beside him, other representatives of the Russian poetry have addressed the topic of the image of Petersburg in the "Venetian" poems. In this article we review the main features of the poetic manifestations of St Petersburg in the Venetian text on a material of poems of A.Purin («Prisnilas` mne Venezia osen`ju…», «Mne snilas` Venezia: golubi, sornij kanal …»), of A.Kushner («Kogda bi grad Petrov stojal na Chernom more…»), of K.Pomerantsev ("Vozvrashenie"), of V.Perelmuter ("Venezia"), etc.

In A.Kushner's poem «Kogda bi grad Petrov stojal na Chernom more…» on the foreground there is an image of Petersburg which is reflected also in the title. We have dared to include this poem in the lyrical case of the Venetian text of the Russian literature of the XX-th century. In our opinion, it corresponds to it not only by formal criteria (the name of Venice is mentioned), but also from the ideological point of view. In spite of the fact that the first three quatrains, making 75 % of all poem, are ideologically-thematic focused on Petersburg and its role in the history, and the image of Venice is appearing only at the end of the poem, the latter is not less important. The comparison of the cities in this poem represents the individually-author's relation to Venice and Petersburg, and not in favor of the last. Kushner's poem is written in the minor tonality aggravated six-foot iambic verse and a conditional tense:

Kogda bi grad Petrov stojal na Chernom more,

Kogda bi tsar` v slezakh prorvalsja na Bosfor,

Mi b zhili bez toski i kholoda vo vzore,

Po milosti sud`bi i k nej popav v favor.

V kanalakh bi togda pleskalis` nereidi

Ne tak, kak eta tvar` v snegu i sinjakakh,

Ne snilis` bi nam sni, ne mu4ili obidu,

I bil bi zdravij smisl v gerojakh i bogakh.

Kogda bi grad Petrov s gori, kak vinogradnik,

Shpalerami sbegal k ustupchivim volnam,

Ne idol bi vzletal nad bezdnoj, - Mednij Vsadnik

Ne mchalsja b, prizemljas`, po trupam, po telam.

The parallel «Petersburg - Venice» in Kushner's poetic text is realized also through the motive of the dream. In the description of the cultural capital of Russia the dream is presented with a negative connotation: « Ne snilis` bi nam sni, ne muchili obidi / I bil bi zdravij smisl v gerojakh I bogakh». The negativity of this concept is distributionally caused: the lexeme "an insult", the anaphoric «not» create a negative aura of the initially neutral word "dream". Besides, the antithesis «a dream – common sense» creates additional semantic senses.

With reference to an image of Venice the poet models the other field of connotation: «Lazurnie bi sni pod vekami pestreli / Geraklovi stolpi, ikarovi krila …». The color symbolism, in our opinion, isn't casual: the blue (in this case – azure) is predominant in the coloring of the Italian text as a whole and of the Venetian in particular.

The motive of the dream is present also in K.Pomerantsev's poem "Vozvrashenie". The lyrical hero stays in a borderline, between dream, imagination and reality: «Mne ne spitsja. Mechti kolobrodjat, / za oknom vse zabito vesnoj …». Unlike the previous poem, in the following the image of Petersburg is presented occasionally and reads thanks to a metonymy (the Neva prospectus – Petersburg):

Nad Venetsiej noch` kruzhevnaja

nachertila serebrjanij krug.

Zakhlebnulas` neonovim bleskom,

provalilas` skvoz` tisjachi let

i nautro prosnulas` na Nevskom,

podzhidaja fevral`skij rassvet...

Despite the sketchy image of Petersburg the accurate differentiation of the cities is shown first of all at the lexical level. Venice reveals through negatively painted lexemes ("gulkij", "sumrak", "zadikhaetsja", "otshvirnet", "zakhlebnulas’"):

Solntse, more,

mechti i dorogi…

Gulkij sumrak reznikh kampanil:

schast’e bilo sovsem na poroge,

v dver’ stuchalos’,

No ja ne pustil.


Mel’kajut pejzazhi,

zadikhaetsja motociklet.

Veter vskinetsja, grud’ju naljazhet,

otshvirnet fioletovij sled.

If Venice is the unfulfilled dream, the failure to happiness, something hypothetical Petersburg is a part of the real, «the legendary country». The antinomy «Venice – Petersburg» is also observable in the image of the cities in planes occurring at different times: the first appears during the summer period, the second – in winter:

Solntse, more,

mechti i dorogi…

Gulkij sumrak reznikh kampanil…


Zakhlebnulas` neonovim bleskom,

provalilas` skvoz` tisjachi let

i nautro prosnulas` na Nevskom,

podzhidaja fevral`skij rassvet...

Venice’s autumn is presented in A.Purin's poem: «Mne prisnitsja Venezia osen’ju…». The minor mood of the product is echoed by realities of Venice:

pokritaja plesen`ju lestnitsa
v mutnij, temnij kanal;

list, kachaemij v cherni

otrazhennikh lepnin;

vlazhnij gorod vechernij,

topolinij poplin.

The gloom of Venice is supplemented with similar Petersburg features:
kupol tusklo-jantarnij,

vlastelin na kone,

gorod lunnij, fonarnij…

Monferran, Falkone.

The motive of the dream, characteristic for the perception of Petersburg in the Venetian text, is also included in an outline of a poem of Purin that it is shown in the initial line of the product. Unlike Kushner's poem the image of Venice is here central, it makes ѕ of the poetic text. However the motive of the dream creates the effect of unreality of the events so that the primacy of the image of Venice it is lowered in spite of the fact that the image of Petersburg is declared only in the last quatrain, without having a direct nomination and being presented only by anthroponyms: Мonferran, Falkone.

The similar effect of unreality is observed also in another poem of Purin («Mne snilas’ Venezia: golubi, sornij kanal…»). Similarity of the tonality of both products, probably, is covered in absence of real contact with the city that the poet declares also:

Ja tam ne bival najavu – i ne nado – chital
novellu odnu pro smjatenie chuvstv i kholeru

The perception of Venice in this case has a mediated character: the poet means T.Mann's work « The Death in Venice». Total tragedy, gloom is also connected with the reception of the Italian city by the Russian poet. The motive of the death declared in the product of the German writer, is also present in a poem of Purin:

Ja ponjal, chto umer, - i ne ogorchilsja…A son
gondolu tolkal:naviga mosti, i portali
vo mrake tesnilis’, zagrobnij nebesnij visson
spirtovkoj pilal… I poplili rodnie kvartali…

Tragedy of Venice and Petersburg, as it is known, is connected with the surreal existence of the two cities, their “otherness”, as connects both cities. Especially clearly this idea develops in V. Perelmuter's poem "Venice":

Ikh dvuedinuju prirodu
Krepit predchuvstvie bedu:

Odin vse glubzhe vkhodit v vodu,

Drugoj voskhodit iz vodi…

However the poet marks also the total distinction of Venice and Petersburg, her antinomy:

Dva goroda, kak na vesakh,

Na chashkakh Severa i Juga,

Kak otrazhenija drug druga…

Perelmuter, as though summing up the previous experience of the reception of both the cities in unity, focuses the attention on subjectivity of this perception «in biassed, steadfast eyes»:

Oni, konechno, ne ravni

Godami i sud’boj svoeju.

No kak-to Peterburg vidnee

Iz italijskoj storoni.

The given poem represents the meditation about the destiny of the native land of the poet which, according to an epigraph «comprises a survivability stock and consequently is capable to every possible successes». «skvoz’ Peterburga neljudimost’», any country is more easily perceived, according to the poet.

So, the interpolation of the image of Petersburg in the Venetian text is characterized by the generality of the perception of the Italian city poets of second half of the XX-th century. The connection of the two topos within the limits of one product leads to the imposing of images that leads to the displacement of semantic dominants: not always it is represented clear where one locus comes to an end and another begins that allows to speak about unity of an artistic image. In this case a binding thread between the two cities is the motive of the dream. Petersburg and Venice supplement each other also, representing a male and a female form accordingly. Besides, actually the name "Petersburg" (unlike the lexeme "Venice") frequently doesn't appear in "the Venetian" lyrics of the analyzed period, however it is explicated by using the onims, connected in the consciousness of the reader with the image of Northern Venice: «the Neva prospectus», «New Holland», «the Copper Horseman», "Falkone", «Peter's hailstones», etc.

As a whole, the image of Petersburg is one of the most significant in the system of spatial coordinates in the Venetian text of Russian poetry of XX-th century.

  1. Hinrichs J.P. In search of another St Petersburg: Venice in Russian poetry (1823 – 1997)/ – Mьnchen, 1997.

  2. Mednis N. E. Venezia v russkoj literature. – Novosibirsk, 1999.

Основные термины: Venice, Venetian text, Petersburg, XX-th century, Northern Venice, Petrov stojal na, stojal na Chernom, St Petersburg, russian poetry, Venice supplement, Russian literature, poem, image, mne Venezia osen`ju…», «Mne prisnitsja Venezia, bi nam sni, antithesis «a dream, bi sni pod, Russian literature gains, bi zdravij smisl


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