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The heroic ethos in the "Slovo o polku Igoreve": A comparative study in the light of early Western European epic

Romanyk, Tamara; (1990) The heroic ethos in the "Slovo o polku Igoreve": A comparative study in the light of early Western European epic. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis is a comparative study of heroism and its literary expression in the Slovo o polku Igoreve and its Western European counterparts. The need for such a study was dictated by the Slovaks unique position within the corpus of Russian medieval literature and its hitherto virtual exclusion from major studies of European literature of the same genre. The principal aim is to draw the Slovo into the sphere of European heroic tradition by establishing a case for the existence in Kievan Rus' of a native heroic tradition whose literary manifestations hold certain features in common with western heroic literature. Although the non-Russian texts used here represent different historical periods, the criterion which renders them useful for comparison with the Slovo is that they reflect similar social and cultural conditions, a stage of literary development somewhere on the threshold between the pagan heroic age and the relatively recent Christian ethos. Despite the absence of other Russian works closely resembling the Slovo, the chronicles, military tales and ecclesiastical writings of medieval Rus' have yielded much that is useful to this study, as have also the oral traditions of Russia and her neighbours. The five chapters comprising this thesis are devoted to the following: defining heroism and identifying the qualities which make a hero; the influence of both Christianity and paganism on the heroic world view and its literary expression; literary concepts of time, history and geography; the conventional roles of the supporting cast surrounding the hero; and the recurrent images, themes and motifs in heroic literature not already dealt with in full. Many of the conclusions drawn from this study have also served a secondary aim by repeatedly demonstrating, on the basis of literary and ideological criteria, that the Slovo can only belong to the pre-Tatar period.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The heroic ethos in the "Slovo o polku Igoreve": A comparative study in the light of early Western European epic
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Language, literature and linguistics; Heroism
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10124170
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