The Artistic Structure of Perceptive Space in the Story “A Lear of the Steppes” by I. S. Turgenev

Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates


2019, Vol. 5. №4(20)

The Artistic Structure of Perceptive Space in the Story “A Lear of the Steppes” by I. S. Turgenev

For citation: Huixin J., Rogachova N. A. 2019. “The Artistic Structure of Perceptive Space in the story ‘A Lear of the Steppes’ by I. S. Turgenev”. Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates, vol. 5, no 4 (20), pp. 75-86. DOI: 10.21684/2411-197X-2019-5-4-75-86

About the authors:

Huixin Ji, Postgraduate Student, Department of Russian and Foreign Literature, Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Tyumen;

Natalia A. Rogachova, Dr. Sci. (Philol.), Professor, Head of the Department of Russian and Foreign Literature, University of Tyumen;; ORCID: 0000-0001-8424-1861


This article scrutinizes I. S. Turgenev’s “A Lear of the Steppes” and the artistic structure of its perceptual space. The story, written in 1870, finds its place between the middle and the last periods of the author’s artistic life and combines realistic, mystic, and fantastic features. The purpose of this work is to show the “ambivalent essence” of the protagonist in a composition of visual, acoustic, and olfactory artistic space. These aspects were studied on olfactory codes and landscape imagery. The novelty of the current research lies in comparing the poetics of spatial images to the point of view of the narrator, whose psychoacoustic experiences became the subject of the author’s self-reflection. The story’s sensory space is multilevel: it is concentrated in the “hero of the steppe”, Kharlov, and in the narrator, and for the latter the steppe is both a friendly and a foreign world. The topic of estrangement of a patchy understanding of the motherland is latent and reveals itself in the personal mode of narration. This article also shows that the narrator’s view dominates the visual space; the narrator describes the protagonist’s portrait in terms that are characteristic of the steppe’s landscape. The acoustic and olfactory spaces are also depicted from the point of view of the narrator. The subjective character of the sensory images serves to emphasize the conflict that lies at the basis of the narrative structure of the story whose main two types of characters turn to be a natural national character and a reflecting character molded under the influence of the European culture.


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