Andrei Zvyagintsev’s Remediation of Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin’s Traditions. The Case of “Leviathan” and “The Golovlyov Family”

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The Golovlyov Family
cultural memory

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Waligorska-Olejniczak, B. (2021). Andrei Zvyagintsev’s Remediation of Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin’s Traditions. The Case of “Leviathan” and “The Golovlyov Family”. Galactica Media: Journal of Media Studies, 3(3), 83-97.


Andrei Zvyagintsev often emphasises the opinion that Russian culture originates from classic Russian literature, i.e. the works of Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Platonov etc. Treating the director’s approach (expressed in many interviews) as a kind of justification the proposed paper focuses on the interpretation of Leviathan from the comparative point of view, adapting the traditions of Saltykov-Shchedrin, in particular those deriving from his novel The Golovlyov Family. The methodological foundation of the presented case study constitute the concepts of cultural memory of Aleida Assmann, Renate Lachmann and Astrid Erll, which find their common ground in treating literature as a medium through which culture is continually rewritten, retranscribed and renegotiated. The interpretation of the selected satirical aspects of eating and drinking activities found both in Saltykov-Shchedrin’s and Zvyagintsev’s works leads to establishing a new intertextual relationship in the domain of cultural memory and to revealing areas of cultural communication between different media, based on structural and symbolic parallels revealed in the literary and cinematic text.


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