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Kekova S. V., Izmajlov R. R. The “eschatological word” in Nikolai Zabolotsky’s poem A City in the Steppe. Izvestiya of Saratov University. Philology. Journalism, 2022, vol. 22, iss. 3, pp. 306-312. DOI:

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The “eschatological word” in Nikolai Zabolotsky’s poem A City in the Steppe

The article analyzes the poem by Nikolai Zabolotsky A City in the Steppe, which was written by the poet after returning from exile in 1946. The poem unfolds before the reader a grand panorama of the Kazakh city of Karaganda. The city appears as a kind of epic and even mythological City that has replaced the timeworn era. It is shown that there are several metaphysical layers in the plot of the poem: along with the description of the real city of Karaganda, the biblical symbolism of both the Old and New Testaments is present in the text. The poetic word of Nikolai Zabolotsky has a unique feature. This feature can be metaphorically described as “multi-readability”. The word reveals all facets of being, it is able to contain and embody the fullness of the meanings of the controversial era, embedded in a broad historical context, primarily the biblical one. The triumph of socialist labor, which creates the earthly kingdom, turns both into a vision of the fi ery hell and the construction of the Antichrist kingdom – the New Babylon. But at the same time, the suff erings of thousands and thousands of people who are called to erect the walls of the New Babylon, in the center of which the idol is Lenin, are building the Heavenly Jerusalem. The “many-read” word acquires a pleroma in the testimony of the eschatological Kingdom of God. The poetic word of Nikolai Zabolotsky becomes “eschatological”. Thus, the poet’s “manyread”, “eschatological” word is always located in two time spaces: in the space of a specifi c historical time and in the space of the time of biblical revelation. The historical chronos is permeated by Zabolotsky’s eschatological kairos, and it is in kairos that his works acquire and reveal their true, innermost, eminent meaning.


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