2023. № 2 (36), 365-375

Institute for Linguistic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences


Based on Tatyana Tolstaya’s story “Peters”, the article examines a real/imaginary opposition, analyzes textual methods of representing the emotional-cognitive space of the protagonist, as well as studies the interpretive potential of intertextual elements of the text. It is shown in the research that the story author models the way Peters’s consciousness works, using various fi gurative techniques and methods of representing the plot. In order to form the main character’s cognitive space, T. Tolstaya uses the fi gurative technique of “scenarios”, which contain a convoluted idea of either the distant great present existing “somewhere” or the great future. The imaginary scenarios, which can be short or detailed, have a similar structure and a similar “role assignment”: a female image and the protagonist himself are present in each of them. The real/imaginary opposition is basic for the entire text of the story. In the protagonist’s mental space, an important place is occupied by the concept “German language” formed in the text with the help of repetitions, toponyms, the scenario of the game “Black Peter” (German “Schwarzer Peter”), mental pictures, and a number of precedent phenomena. The polyinterpretability of a literary text poses a few research tasks for the reader, the solution of which depends on the knowledge of the cultural code of the text. The easiest of the tasks mentioned is the philistine reading of the story and the ranking of the main character among useless klutzes, or losers. An analysis of the change in subjective plans as well as of intertextual connections has shown that in contrasting real life and its refl ection in the “magic cinema” of Peters’s consciousness, his ability to mentally transform reality is manifested and genuine drama is incarnated. In the conclusion of the article, doubt is expressed concerning the prospect of comparing the main character with such literary types as Pierre Bezukhov, the man in a case, or the little man.