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Author: Mario Caramitti


Over the last twenty years Ilya’s “Zaitil’shchina” has been more and more frequently ascribed to the “genre” of skaz. Considering Sasha Sokolov’s interest in and inclination towards such a multifaceted device, a consistent and careful analysis of it should be conducted. As a result of this analysis, basic skaz features – a chaotic multilingual syntax, non-standard word layers, the narrator’s unreliability, word play (especially on a proverbial basis) – appear to be present in chapters written from Ilya’s perspective. However, it is also possible to identify elements fully opposed to the very nature of skaz: the authorial and creative role of the narrator, intertextuality, the use of an addressee as a displacing variation of the lyrical self, the use of poetic words and devices. To sum up, we shall consider skaz as only one of the stylistic layers (perhaps the most important) of Ilya’s “Zaitil’shchina,” as it constitutes a very peculiar metaprojection of the textual, stylistic, and performative heritage of folk tales and byliny on a modern narrative. For a plot synopsis of Between Dog and Wolf, please consult the introduction to this issue.

In: Canadian-American Slavic Studies