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

IWL RAS Publishing

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


Povarskaya 25a, 121069 Moscow, Russia



Types of publications

Information about the author:

Elizaveta S. Apalkova, PhD student, Department of New and Modern Russian Literature and the Modern Literary Process, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leninskie Gory 1, bld. 51, 119991 Moscow, Russia/


E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The article examines the plot of the “reviving” image on the example of “Venetian Mirror, or the Outlandish Adventures of a Glass Man” by A.V. Chayanov and the story of V.V. Nabokov “The Venetian.” The author of the article notes the functional similarity between the images of the mirror and the portrait. These images contribute to the understanding of the nature of art and the disclosure of the psychological world of the individual. The mirror and the portrait in the context of both works act as synonyms and open a channel to the other space. Thus, Chayanov and Nabokov turn to the eternal theme of the limits of human capabilities. Both main characters are psychologically different from each other, but both experience dependence on an external force. One is imprisoned in the mirror, the other becomes part of the picturesque image. Returning to the real world allows them to realize the value of real life. Both writers rethink traditional romantic motifs in order to show the consciousness of the characters who were infl uenced by the world behind the looking glass. The article demonstrates that the similarity of motives is explained by the desire for a creative game with literary constants. Both works belong to the “Venetian” text of Russian literature, in which the image of Venice is associated with the drama of self-deception and aesthetic temptation.

  • Keywords: “Venetian” text, mirror, art, Nabokov, “reviving” portrait, portrait, romanticism, Chayanov.


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