Title of the article:



Marianna V. Kaplun

Information about the author/authors

Marianna V. Kaplun — PhD in Philology, Senior Researcher, А. M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya, 25 а, 121069 Moscow, Russia. ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2427-2855. E-mail: tangosha86@mail.ru


Philological sciences




Vol. 60


pp. 188–200


May 29, 2020

Date of publication

June 28, 2021



Index UDK


Index BBK



The prose novel by N. V. Nedobrovo Soul in A Mask, written in 1914, incorporates basic ideas of the writer’s work and continues development of gender (feminine) discourse of the modern era. To a large extent, the search for a “soul in a mask”, the ability to express a lyrical “I”, coupled with the theatricality of being, the need for a social masquerade, are characteristic of the majority of modernist works. The theme of masks is equally present in the lyrics of symbolism and close to Nedobrovo acmeism (for example, in the work of A. A. Akhmatova, Nedobrovo’s closest friend). The masquerade performs two functions in the novel — plot-forming and philosophical. Having made the center of the story of the reflecting heroine Olga, Nedobrovo displays a number of male characters, a collision which meant to reveal the title female character. Male / female opposition (masculinity / femininity) informs the main conflict of the novel, related to the inability of an intelligent woman of expressing herself in a male society without wearing a mask. The paper shows that the mask serves as a kind of gender projection and represents an attempt to overcome the social masquerade, which is always associated with an identity crisis. Mask, as applied to the heroine and her ready-made social mask gives an opposite effect, only emphasizing the gender difference and, accordingly, leading to the disclosure of the heroine’s femininity. Based on this, “female issue” raised in the story is resolved in compliance with patriarchal ideas of the conservative gender discourse of the turn of the century.


Nedobrovo, Soul in A Mask, modernism, novel, mask, masquerade, theatricality, gender discourse, gender projection, gender opposition, femininity, masculinity.


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