Genre and style characteristics of Russian noir (L. Petrushevskaya “The New District. Prague”)


This article explores L. Petrushevskaya’s story “The New District. Prague”, included in the book of modern Russian small prose “Moscow Noir. The City of Mutilated Utopias” (2011). The analysis of the story represents the genre and style characteristics of the artistic model, which synthesizes the traditions of a black detective narration, a scary tale, and a naturalistic story. The article solves the problem of elucidating the national specifics of the noir and identifies the key features of genre and style-forming factors, which include the organizing role of the author's intonation, the closedness and intentional repeatability of events, the intensity of the atmosphere, the dominant role of the associative background (where naturalistic details predominate), and the introduction of a specific protagonist – a criminal-victim. The purpose of this research is to comprehend the nature of the noir as a synthetic phenomenon, connecting the traditions of Western cinematography, Russian literature, and folklore. The article reveals the key features of such a segment of modern mass literature as the Russian version of the noir, which combines the traditions of small prosaic literary genres based on national folklore traditions. The principles of the analysis, proposed in this article, can be used as a methodological approach to the interpretation of modern works of mass literature, based on or adjoining the noir, though not fully corresponding to the canons of the genre.

Key words: 

noir, black detective story, genre characteristics, style, modern mass literature, artistic synthesis, L. Petrushevskaya.

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