Title of the article:



Natalia A. Prozorova 

Information about the author/authors

Natalia A. Prozorova — PhD in Philology, Senior Researcher, Manuscript division, Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkin House) Russian Academy of Science, Makarov emb, 4, 199034 St. Petersburg, Russia. ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3828-4080. E-mail: arhivistka@mail.ru


Philological sciences




Vol. 61


pp. 199–212


September 20, 2020

Date of publication

September 28, 2021



Index UDK


Index BBK



The paper is the first to analyze Uglich as a place of memory in a creative thought of Olga Bergholz and reveal individual and collective memorization of the old Russian city. The topos of Uglich, which became a spiritual cornerstone for Leningrad`s poetess, gained some new meanings in the perspective of her statements. In the initial period of her creativity, the city developed as an entirely social space, arena for the struggle of old and new world order. A visit to Uglich in 1953 initiated the theme of preserving the monuments and reviving the crafts in the poetʼs mind. In her mature years, Bergholz hold “the city of childhood” as a blessed though later lost place of absolute happiness and harmony, with an allusion to the legendary Kitezh-grad and Kalyazin bell tower. Based on a cultural collective memory, Uglich was actualized and placed among the most important national topos of Russia (historical spot of the death of Tsarevich Dmitry of Uglich) with a metaphorical image of the root-eared bell — a fighter for justice. Bergholzʼs texts reflect the principles of museum commemoration of the Uglich tragedy that are typical for each historical period. The analysis of the poetessʼs working notes for the second (unwritten) part of the novel “The Day Stars,” according to which she was tending to reflect on the innocent victims of olden days (Tsarevich Dmitry, the exiled Uglich townspeople) and contemporaneity (Stalin's repressions), helped to read anew the screenplay “The Day Stars” written in collaboration with I. Talankin. Creative intentions, unrealized in prose, found their realization in a cinematic project that provided effect of presence of the heroine in the Old Russian city, thanks to which the calamities of exiled Uglich townspeople were associated with the lawlessness against Bergholz herself. The role of poet-the-bell was emphasized by constructed Uglich-Leningrad space, in which the heroine performed a symbolic act, accepting a root-eared bell from a dying bell-ringer. The poetess regarded Uglich as a place of memory in the context of lost spiritual guidelines of the first communards as well (“pervorossiane,” who organized the first Society of communal grain-growers in Altai). Thus, according to her creative vision, the city revealed itself as a national loss in terms of the projection “Uglich — Kitezh — Kalyazin bell tower — Pervorossiysk.”


autobiographical genres, journalism, screenplays, Russian poetesses, literary images, individual and collective memory, history.


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