Svitlana Alexievich’s documentary prose: problems and genreology

in English

  • Ігнатів Ihnativ Ph. D., Associate Professor, Illarion Sventsitskiy Department of Slavic Philology, Ivan Franko National University of Lviv
Keywords: literary non-fiction, genre, «polyphonic genre», choral sounding, memory-confession, author-narrator, protagonist-narrator


Aim. The aim of the study is to highlight the genre features and specific problems raised in the non-fiction prose by the Nobel laureate Svitlana Alexievich, and to examine the nature of how verbal monologue-testimonies and the author’s text are connected in the writer’s works.

Methods. This article uses the historical-genetic and the comparative-typological research methods. The theoretical aspect of this study is based on the author’s own reflection on the nature of the genre she works in, and also includes specific aspects of the literary-critical interpretation of the writer’s works.

Results. This article reports the results of analyzing Svetlana Alexievich’s literary-documental works that are built on the foundation of the close interrelationship between verbal monologue-testimonies about certain events and the author’s text. It’s also noted that the polyphonic sound of life itself (represented by the documented testimonies) converges with the author-narrator’s voice into a coherent whole that manages to capture the spirit of the age, humanity’s experience and emotions, and thus, serves to replicate the image of a certain era. This article also indicates that the author’s worldview plays and important part in the «polyphonic genre», as once the writer has collected the stories and contemplated them, she partially displays her own vision during the editing process. The identification of the typological features of the «polyphonic genre», which is finding a place in most European literatures, allows to broaden and deepen the understanding of the interaction dialectic between the traditional and new genres, and to realize the influence of life material on the evolution of literature as a medium.

Scientific novelty. The scientific novelty of this article lies in the fact that the genre nature of Sveltana Alexievich’s works is examined on the basis of studying the specifics of their poetics. The comparative analysis of the methods used in organizing the polyphonic sounding of the books by S. Alexievich indicates the brand new genre nature of her works that have a unique influence on the recipient.

Pactical significance. The results of this study can be used for developing thematically appropriate courses and special courses on literary theory and the actual problems of modern literature.

Slavonic literatures