Russian historical novel in a new way: “Tobol” by Alexey Ivanov

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The article aims to find out the deep artistic meanings of the novel by A. Ivanov “Tobol” to show the originality and significance of its structure, modifying in many ways the genre of the historical novel. This is evidenced by the author's tangible focus on the possible transformation of the novel into a form of cinema - accented visual imagery of the novel's components (landscapes, architectural sketches, paintings of everyday life) and, most importantly, the exciting drama in the development of the plot, in all its lines, with a powerful energy of actions and dialogues of the characters (the tragic conflict of the Siberian governor Gagarin and tsar Peter I, the clash of Remezov and Gagarin, the struggle of schismatics, the resistance of the Voguls in their conversion to Christianity, the war with the Dzungars). The article suggests that the Siberian reality of the Peter the Great era is considered by the writer from a very deep angle: Siberia, with its many national and socio-historical identities (pagans-Voguls, nomadsDzungars, Cossacks, etc.), with their inevitable struggle, is seen as the “key to Russia”, to understanding the complexity of its historical destiny. An important task is also to pay attention to the connection in the novel of the forms of realistic narrative with the magic of the wonderful, fantastic (in the images of the pagan view of the world of many characters), bringing together the work of A. Ivanov with modern magical realism in literature.

About the authors

Lidia A. Kolobaeva

Lomonosov Moscow State University

Author for correspondence.
1 Leninskie gory, bldg. 51, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation

Doctor of Philology, Professor of the Department of History of Modern Russian Literature and Modern Literary Process


  1. Ivanov A. Tobol. Mnogo zvanykh: roman-peplum [Tobol. Many are called: a novel peplum]. Moscow: AST Publ.: Editorial Office of Elena Shubina, 2017. 702 p.
  2. Ivanov A. Tobol. Malo izbrannykh: roman-peplum [Tobol. Few are chosen: a novel peplum]. Moscow: AST Publ.: Editorial Office of Elena Shubina, 2019. 827 p.
  3. Bykov D. Aleksei Ivanov. “Geograf globus propil”. 1996 god [Alexey Ivanov. “The geographer has spend globe on drink.” 1996] // Bykov D. Isolation time, 1951–2000. Moscow: Eksmo Publ., 2018. P. 433.



Abstract - 171

PDF (Russian) - 232




Copyright (c) 2019 Kolobaeva L.A.

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