The Limit Situation and the Narrative of War (on the material of the novel “My Lieutenant” by Daniil Granin)

Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates


2020, Vol. 6. № 1 (21)

The Limit Situation and the Narrative of War (on the material of the novel “My Lieutenant” by Daniil Granin)

For citation: Kuprin A. S., Danilina G. I. 2020. “The Limit Situation and the Narrative of War (on the material of the novel “My Lieutenant” by Daniil Granin)”. Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates, vol. 6, no. 1 (21), pp. 90-104. DOI: 10.21684/2411-197X-2020-6-1-90-104

About the authors:

Anatoly S. Kuprin, Postgraduate Student, 1 year of study, Department of Russian and Foreign Literature, University of Tyumen;

Galina I. Danilina, Dr. Sci. (Philol.), Professor, Department of Russian and Foreign Literature, University of Tyumen;, ORCID: 0000-0002-0100-0948


The purpose of this study is the analysis of limit situation in the narrative of war. The material of the study is the novel of Daniil Granin “My Lieutenant” and related texts.

In the first part of the paper, the authors explore existing approaches to the term “limit situation” and similar concepts into scientific and philosophical traditions; limits of its applicability in literary studies and its relation to the categories of “narrative instances” and “event”. Proposed a literary-theoretical definition of the limit situation, which can be used in the analysis of fiction texts. Existing approaches to the examination of the situation of war are analyzed: philosophical-existential, psychoanalytic, sociological, literary. In the second part of the paper, the authors propose their method for analyzing limit situations in texts about war, which basis on existing approaches and preserves the text-centric principle of studying the structure of the story. Two interrelated areas of research have been identified: the study of war as a continuous limit situation in the intertextual aspect (the discourse of war); the study of limit situations (death, suffering, guilt, accident) in the narrative of war as part of a specific text. In the third part of the scientific work,the analysis of war as a continuous limit situation results in the study of the concept of “limit” (border) in a fiction text. The role of “limit” (border) concept in the texts about the war is studied, the possible types of limits in the discourse of war are examined.

Limit situations in the narrative of war are analyzed on the basis of the novel “My Lieutenant” by Daniil Granin. A review of journalistic and scientific works about the novel revealed both the continuity and the differences between the novel and the “lieutenant” prose of the 20th century. An analysis of the limit situations in the novel revealed their key position in the narrative. These situations are independent of the fiction time, of the fluctuation of the point of view’; the function of the abstract author is to build the narrative as a “directive” immersion of the hero and narrator in these situations.


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