An imaginary journey to an utopian anti-world (on the example of “The Tale of Luxurious Life and Fun”)

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“The Tale of a Luxurious Life and Fun” is a late composition of Old Russian literature, it includes some references to European sources (including Polish and Ancient Roman literature). Democratic literature of the 17th century offered the readers to get acquainted with other characters and plots: a person who is not distinguished by virtues becomes the main character of the story, which deals with staying in an amazing country of luxury and fun and the way to this country. With special care, the author draws a possible and desirable life of a hawk and a lazy person in a utopian world, but warns about the cost of staying in such an amazing place. Parodying the genre of walking known in Old Russia, in which the pilgrim was enriched spiritually, the writer tells about a new type of travel that devalues and depersonalizes a person, deprives him of the possibility of development. The absence of direct edifying and didactic digressions, however, does not deprive the text of depth: the hero is given the opportunity to choose, and he has the right to decide how to behave and which path to choose.

About the authors

Ekaterina A. Andreeva

A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Author for correspondence.

Ph.D., senior researcher

25A Povarskaya St, Moscow, 121069, Russian Federation


  1. Likhachev, D.S., & Panchenko, A.M. (1976). Smekhovoi mir Drevnei Rusi [The laughing world of Old Russia]. Leningrad, Nauka Publ.
  2. Skazanie o roskoshnom zhitii i veselii [The legend of a luxurious life and fun]. (1986). In V.K. Bylinin, V.A. Grikhin (Eds.), Satira XI–XVII vekov [Satire of the 11th–17th centuries] (pp. 221–224, 458–459). Moscow: Sovetskaya Rossiya Publ.
  3. Panchenko, A.M. (1976). Materialy po drevnerusskoi poezii. IV (Stikhotvornaya parallel' k “Skazaniyu o roskoshnom zhitii i veselii”) [Materials on the Old Russian poetry. IV (Poetic parallel to “The Legend of a Luxurious Life and Fun”)]. Trudu otdela drevnerusskoi literatury (TODRL) [Researches of the Department of Old Russian literature] (vol. 30, pp. 318–323). Leningrad, Nauka Publ.

Copyright (c) 2020 Andreeva E.A.

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