Studia Litterarum (Mar 2020)

Socialist Realism of the Newly Written Literatures (The Case of Sofron Danilov's Novel While the Heart Is Beating)

  • Evgeniya A. Litvin,
  • Semen S. Makarov

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 5, no. 1
pp. 228 – 247


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The article examines the novel of the Yakut author Sofron P. Danilov as an example of a peripheral Soviet literary text. The novel combines the features of the socialist realistic novel, the Thaw period literature, and ethnopoetics. The elements of the Yakut culture are evident at lexical, genre, narrative, and plot levels. The novel is bilingual and contains traditional idioms, paremias, ethnographic realia, and mythological motives. The influence of the Yakut epic on its narrative structure can be seen in the use of certain syntactic constructions and detailed descriptions of characters and objects. Moreover, the novel contains numerous references to such characters of the Yakut culture as shaman and the epic singer — olonkhosut. One more focus of the article is the correlation of local and global history in the novel and the communication between two nations: Yakut and Russian. A rural school is described as a meeting place for two cultures. The novel presents teachers of humanitarian subjects (literature, history etc.) as cultural mediators providing rural children with access to world culture that becomes possible with the aid of Russian language.