TATIANA MEGRELISHVILI                                                                                                                                                  # 11



The question about role and place of Boris Akunin in modern Russian literary process – is the whole culture question, and it is closely connected with the democracy theme. In very wide meaning the meaning of the term “democracy” – the life style, in which the one person, going to self-expression, uses the game model of life and rejects the every ideology as a sign of old epoch, which is understood by him as a repressive civilization.

All these beginnings are important for understanding the verges of poetics and the sense of author’s sum in series “The New Detective”, where the repressive civilization is considered from the position of game model of life. The action happens in last one third of XIX – beginning of XX centuries, where the normative was one of the marked signs of Peterburg Empire and was important as in social sphere, as in literature.

In novels from series “The new Detective” about Erast Fandorin’s adventures the Peterburg text of Russian culture is put to the test by the vision, the main sign of which is performance, understanding of conditional character of eternal values, the bringing out it on the another semantic plane. The game with the stereotypes “the unlimited faith in progress”, “the great literature”, and “nice crime” creates in reader’s mind many associations, connotative correlated with normative conciseness. But the meaning of it is changed, and on the first plane is the ironic, game understanding.

 The game beginning of Akunin’s prose is displayed in principals of narration. In series “The New Detective” in spirit of Bart’s conception of author’s personality annihilation and with the base on detective narration tradition is used the special narrative method, which lets to ignore the traditional author’s image. There is clearly underlined the narrative instantion, which is not incarnated in art text in image of personage-narrator, but recreated by the reader in reading process – the implicit author. There is created the alter ego of author, which is necessary, because the reader is like co-author of the text.

It gave a possibility in series “The New Detective” in frames of play beginning to construct a model of this preformatted implicit author, whose conciseness consists of marked elements of creative manner of Russian and world literature classics.

There is created the special narrative instantion. The author, Georgi Chkhartishvili not only is under a pseudonym Boris Akunin, but also “materializes” the model of implicit author, giving him the name and the last name. And in frames of the whole cycle this instantion is understood as a responsible for making the creative communication with the reader.

The double of the author begins the high intellectual game with the reader, in frames of which is made the communicative dialog. In the same time the implicit author himself is a product of this game of author’s mind with itself.

The implicit author became for the author one of the methods to go out from totality, contrasting himself to classic writers – the representatives of normative writers conciseness. And in this sense in series of Fandorin’s adventures is the influence of U. Eko, whose peculiarities of author’s conciseness we can find in game manner of implicit Fandorin cycle author’s communication with the reader.

So, what kind of are the texts of B. Akunin, which is proclaimed the responsible for the communication with the reader? The XIX century becomes something like a main hero of Akunin’s creation. “The Axis of Time” (M. Hidegger) becomes that spoke, on which are all the adventures in fable. The difficult process of its move is realized in two flatnesses, created by the spatio-temporal text coordinates.

The novel time rotates according to the axis of historical time, taking the reader from one-tenth anniversary to another. The markers of the time become the characteristic peculiarities of Russian mentality of epoch of modernistic decadence: the total supremacy in conciseness of the idea, empire ambitions, ideological murder, suicide as a method of understanding life and death riddle and many others, which is not new for Russian reader because of Russian classic romanistic. These last questions of life the implicit author proposes to the reader to understand from health skepticism position. The main hero – Erast Fandorin – moves in European-Asiatic space, and his explosions help to implicit author to demonstrate to reader the other world: living by the laws of old traditions: the East of going to progress West.

In place of crossing the fable angles is Russia and its marked symbol – Moscow, which plays the role of topos of types, the literary tradition of which connects the creative world of the novel with the creation of important figures in Russian literature, from one side, and from another – it is a crossing of different historical mentalities and in the same time the eternal town, with its own life style.

The crossing of spatio-temporal fable peculiarities forms the turns of spiral, the inside space of which in Akunin’s prose always is full of some important for Russian history situation. The history moving by spiral around the time axis makes an effect of “eternal returning” of the same (Nitzsche). The necessity of repeating of anxious times in national history is not only the fable element: the repeating of historical realities lets to express the point of view about the modernity – by its sharpness Akunin’s novels are turned to contemporary Russian reality.

The structure of narration principals in series “The New Detective” is based on much opposition. Among them we can underline two main types: narrative and discursive, springing up in communicative process of implicit author and reader. The narrative oppositions are also such oppositions like implicit author – main hero, Fandorin – second personages, already discussed space coordinates of the text (East-West). The discursive oppositions have philosophic character. Also takes place the time opposition last-present, implicit author-reader, author – implicit author. These oppositions being in the text in difficult interaction make the different functions as narrative, as genre-making character, create the strict narrative model, one of the aims of which is fully discover in reader’s understanding the main parts of implicit author image.

The same aim has the principal of carnival used in narration (by M. Bakhtin)[1]. The carnival culture – the changed laughing culture is one of the main principals of narration organization in Akunin’s prose. The novels of Fandorin cycle are ironic and in some sense is mock according not only to traditional detective, but also to main principals of poetic and genre structure in Russian literature of last third of XIX century. In the same time Akunin not only continues the traditional detective form, but also ironically re-understands it.

The image of Fandorin – philosopher recreates in ironic variant the stereotype of Sherlock Holmes, symbolizing the synthesis of two mentalities – eastern and western. But Fandorin has the unusual function for the detective novel: during the reading process Fandorin demonstrates to reader such peculiarities of his character, which became usual for Russian literature on several points of its development. So Fandorin becomes the collective image, in which the marked personages of Russian literature in XIX century are shoved in very characteristic points.

The decipherment – the characteristic peculiarity of genre and post-modernistic world outlook – in Akunin’s novels has not only the constructive role in fable, but helps to proceed that peculiarities of modern world’s spiritual picture, which belonging to normative, in post-modernistic understanding to old conciseness is shown thanks to association with the classic texts of Russian prose.

The bearer of opposite mentality is implicit author – the alter ego of Georgi Chkhartishvili. The law of game makes a difference between Chkhartishvili and the implicit author, whose name is on all the books – Boris Akunin. The mind games of G. Chkhartishvili create Boris Akunin, who is like collective figure of Russian writer from XIX century. Chkhartishvili planes temes and motives – Akunin incarnates them in text. In this special duality we can see one more popular stereotype of Russian literature: there is a model of conception, forming and development of one metatext in Russian literature of XIX-XX centuries. In opposition Akunin-Chkhartishvili considered in point of view of everything said, we can underline the next: Russian man in its development, talked about by the classic of Russian literature of XIX century, came 200 years later after Pushkin. He is not a double of his great ancestor, but he developed the central Pushkin’s line – the idea of free creation, where the main criteria is he game beginning, stimulated only by the inspiration.

The person of democratic postmodern mind, Chkhartishvili in this parallel proclaimed the democratic spirit of freedom – this is so long time waiting phenomenon, very necessary today. With the symbolic of this new person in series about Erast Fandorin’s adventures is connected the matatext of whole Russian literature, finding its coded incarnation in opposition Chkhartishvili-Akunin. The decoding in intertextual spirit the symbolical meanings of this one metatext has the reader as a recipient. To him, contemporary, Chkhartishvili proposes to understand at last very necessary in modern world conception of personality – free from tyrannical dictate, which resurrects Pushkin’s conception of personality of “self-dependent person” and which the great Russian poet tried to leave in his contemporaries mind as a deposit of greatness of Russia. And this aim explains the mind game of modern Russian writer. That textual reality, which realizes in author’s mind game process, is one of most important effects of author’s influence.


Bart 1989: Bart, R. Selected works: Semiotics. Poetics. M. 1989. p. 385.

Bakhtin 1965: Bakhtin, M. Francois Rabelais and the national culture of middle ages and Re naissance.M.: 1965

Epshtein 1998: Epshtein, M. Postmodernism in Russia. M. 1998. P.15-16

Gogol 1952: Gogol N.V. Full collection of works. M.: 1952, p.50

Link 1976: Link H. Rezeptionsforschung: Eine Einf in Methode und probleme-Stuttgart: 1976, p.22

Mann 1988: Mann, U. Poetics of Gogol. M.: 1988

Megrelishvili 2005:  Megrelishvili, T. Agatha Kristy's hat, Umberto Eco's glasses and Lev Tolstoy's beard.

"Literature and other things" 2005, p.13-27



Volume 1, issue 1


Rustaveli Institute of Georgian Literature

Georgian Electronic Journal of Literature