BLACK-LETTER PROLOGUE OF THE 17TH CENTURY IN N. S. LESKOV'S CREATIVE WORK: THE RECONSTRUCTION OF A LITERARY MISHAP
Authors: Inna Nikolaevna Mineeva
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The article deals with N. S. Leskov's perception of the 17th century Prologue. From 1870 to 1890s the writer gave conflicting characteristics of the functional purpose of the Prologue, the history of its existence and publications in Russia, from the book, appointed by the church for godly edifying reading and helping to “comprehend the Word of God”, to the deprivation of its ecclesiastical authority at all. Since 1886s, Leskov defined the Prologue as a “renounced”, “non-canonical” book. The analysis of archival materials has confirmed a supposition previously expressed in science that the writer called the fully printed version of Prolog, published in Synod printing in 1642—1643s, as “renunciation”. This edition was the one that was not subjected to book correcting (“knizhnaya sprava”) during Nikon's reforms. Antiquity and preservation of monuments always were determinative criteria for the writer. Such characteristics are not lacking in tangible ground and are based on the scientifically proven observations of the 19th century. It was found that the monograph of Kiev Theological Academy Professor N. I. Petrov, “On the origin and composition of the Slavic-Russian printed Prologue (The foreign sources)” (Kiev, 1875), had a significant impact on the development of Leskov's own position. Leskov made a simple creative move. He transferred the scientific fact, the “non-canonicity” of “pre-Peter” Prologue, in the literary fact. Not only the heuristic search of Leskov in the history of its publications lies within the strategy to provide the Prologue of 1642—1643s edition by the status of “renounced”, but also the creative quest. Given the “accountability” of his works written on the subjects of the Prologue, on the part of the censorship, the writer had to find an access to the new language of “cryptography”. An appeal to the “non-canonical” Prologue as a literary source turned out for him as the freedom of creative expression. The second “non-canonical” plan hardly fits into the scope of the 19th century censorship; author's reflections on the issues of faith, sainthood, fall of man, active love hides in the Prologue situations and images.