2019, Volume 16, Issue 2

Back to the Table of Contents

Lyudmila N. Ikityan
Interregional Territorial Development Institute
Armyansk, Republic of Crimea

A Legitimate Error: On One Surname in the Works of Leonid Andreev

Voprosy onomastiki, 2019, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp. 199–212 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2019.16.2.022

Received 26 January 2018

Abstract: The paper aims to substantiate/refute the implications behind the title character’s name of Leonid Andreev’s first novel Sashka Zhegulev, pertaining to some pronunciation and spelling allusions it suggests. The controversy arises from the alleged explicit reference to the toponym Zhiguli Mountains, with the inherent historical, cultural, and connotative marking. The author proves the fallacy of this approach that contradicts the whole concept of the novel, its main symbolism, and a number of textual facts, which cumulatively provide the evidence for the research. The latter is added up by linguocultural data and self-intertextual references to the writer’s early unfinished play. Concurrently, the article contains some general provisions on character naming in Andreev’s works (particularly, the use of speaking names, initial abbreviations, and elliptical “zero-structures”). The novel in question features a name change to the main character — as Sasha Pogodin becomes Sashka Zhegulev — which appears a fullpotent literary device when the latter form is put to the title. As the study suggests, the surname Zhegulev is brought by a number of phonetic-accentological and lexical-semantic (essentially dialectological) factors. The contextual analysis reveals a link to Andreev’s early literary attempts (sketches of the drama Zhekulin) and helps to establish the sequence of the onym’s formation: Zhekúlin Zhegúlin Zhegúlev Zhégulev. The form Zhegulióv proves incorrect even with regard to the text itself and one fragment in particular when cited in accordance with the authentic “sounding” (positional changes of the sounds) that allows for the only option — Zhégulev. The author argues that decoding and interpreting the semantics of literary proper names requires attending to the pragmatics of the author, so as to avoid the trivial and thereby superficial associations which turn out persistently misleading both for the regular readers and the representatives of the academic community.

Keywords: naming in literature, literary onomastics, proper name, the poetics of the proper name, name change as a literary device, name (title) of a literary work, Leonid Andreev, Sashka Zhegulev.


Fedosyuk, Yu. A. (2011). Russkie familii. Populiarnyi etimologicheskii slovar’ [Russian Surnames. A Popular Etymological Dictionary]. Moscow: Flinta; Nauka.

Fomin, A. A. (2004). Literaturnaia onomastika v Rossii: itogi i perspektivy [Literary Onomastics in Russia: Results and Perspectives]. Voprosy onomastiki, 1, 108–120.

Glushchenko, T. A. (2006). Imena personazhei kak sposob vyrazheniia avtorskoi modal’nosti v p’ese Leonida Andreeva “Mysl’” [Character Names a Means of Delivering the Author’s Pragmatics in Leonid Andreev’s Play Thought]. In P. A. Kovalev (Ed.), Tvorchestvo Leonida Andreeva: sovremennyi vzgliad: materialy mezhdunar. nauch. konf., posviashch. 135-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia pisatelia (28–30 sent. 2006) [Leonid Andreev and his Works: a Modern View: Proceedings of the International Conference Dedicated to the 135th Anniversary of the Writer’s Birth (September 28–30, 2006)] (pp. 101–104). Orel: Kartush.

Grachev, M. A. (2009). Zhiguli i zhigan: o proiskhozhdenii toponimov [Zhiguli and Zhigan: on the Origin of Place Names]. Russkaia rech, 2, 191–104.

Iezuitova, L. A. (2010). Leonid Andreev i literatura Serebrianogo veka: izbrannye trudy [Leonid Andreev and the Russian Silver Age Literature: Selected Works]. St Petersburg: Petropolis.

Ikityan, L. N. (2017). D’iavol’skaia provokatsiia (stat’ia pervaia). Khristianskaia ontologiia i sposoby ee proverki v drame Leonida Andreeva “Anatema” [The Devils Provocation (Article One). The Christian Ontology and its Verification in Leonid Andreev’s Drama Anathema]. Gumanitarnaia paradigma, 2, 5–15.

Kamanina, E. V. (2000). Roman Leonida Andreeva “Sashka Zhegulev”: Problema neomifologizma [Leonid Andreev’s Novel Sashka Zhegulev: the Problem of Neo-Mythologism]. Filologicheskie nauki, 4, 22–30.

Kozmenko, M. V. (2012). U istokov dramaturgii Leonida Andreeva: neizvestnaia p’esa o zakone i zhizni cheloveka [At the Onset of Leonid Andreev’s Drama: an Unknown Play about Law and Human Life]. Uchonye zapiski Orlovskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta, 4, 192–194.

Moskovkina, I. I. (2005). Mezhdu pro i contra: koordinaty khudozhestvennogo mira Leonida Andreeva

[Between Pro and Contra: the Framework of Leonid Andreev’s World]. Kharkiv: KhNU im. V. N. Karazina.

Sapozhnikova, L. M. (2015). Natsional’no-kul’turnyi komponent v semanticheskoi strukture monoreferentnykh

sobstvennykh imen (na materiale nemetskogo iazyka) [The Cultural Component in the Semantic Structure of Monoreferential Proper Names: the Case of the German Language]. Voprosy onomastiki, 1(18), 175–185. https://doi.org/10.15826/vopr_onom.2015.1.009

Smirnova, L. A. (1993). Russkaia literatura kontsa XIX — nachala XX veka [Russian Literature of the Late 19th — Early 20th century]. Moscow: Prosveshchenie.

Veselovsky, S. B. (1974). Onomastikon. Drevnerusskie imena, prozvishcha i familii [Onomasticon. Old Russian Names, Nicknames and Surnames]. Moscow: Nauka.