Biblical Motifs in Modern Donbass Poetry

Valery Mokienko

Abstract


This article studies biblical images found in the modern Russian-language poetry of Donbass, published in the collection An Hour of Courage (Moscow, 2015). The author tries to reconstruct the linguistic view of the world reflected in the civil poetry of the region. The biblical motifs of present-day Donbass are compositionally based on the main conceptual oppositions of the Scriptures, namely, the fight between good and evil, God and Devil, Heaven and Hell. The authors of the poetry collection demonstrate that a war tragedy is hell, an apocalypse that takes the lives of the innocent and, at the same time, is a test of people’s best qualities – staunchness, valour, mercy, and humanity. One of the dominating motifs is trust in God, which may be complicated by a close connection between the biblical and the mundane. The stylistic contest between “the high” and “the low” helps create a peculiar aesthetic expressivity, thus emphasising the dramatic character of the events. The motif of trust in God is connected with hope for pardon, and transforms into despair and even the sense of being godforsaken. What is even more tragic is the motifs of people perishing, which may be perceived as a kind of atonement or punishment for unbelief. In the poetic picture of the collection, it is faith in God that helps overcome the fear of death and grief, and also physical and moral suffering. The poets regard the confrontation with the forces of evil as an allusion to the biblical motif of Cain’s murder of Abel.


Keywords


Biblical motifs; Biblical phrases; civil poetry; conceptual oppositions; linguistic view of the world.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15826/qr.2017.2.238

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