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Author: Andrey M. Ranchin
Information about the author:

Andrey M. Ranchin, DSc in Philology, Professor, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Philological Faculty, 1st housing, Leninskie gory, GSP-1, 119991 Moscow, Russia.

ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0414-5106

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 



For citation:

Ranchin, A.M. “On the New Interpretations of ‘Dark Places’ in ‘The Tale of Igor’s Campaign’.” Germenevtika drevnerusskoi literatury [Hermeneutics of Old Russian Literature]. Issue 22. Ed.-in-chief O.A. Tufanova. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2023, pp. 431–454. (In Russian) https://doi.org/10.22455/HORL.1607-6192-2023-22-431-454 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.22455/HORL.1607-6192-2023-22-431-454
UDC: 821.161.1.0
Keywords: The Tale of Igor’s Campaign, “dark places,” interpretation, context, Turkic elements, Turkic epic, Scandinavian and Slavic mythology.
Date of publication: 20.09.2023


The article examines the interpretation of the so-called “dark places” (obscure in meaning and function of the fragments), which are contained in the books of V.A. Vorontsov and A.A. Utkin dedicated to The Tale of Igor’s Campaign. Both interpreters consider The Tale, placing it in contexts that are fundamentally new in comparison with the background against which this literary monument was usually studied. However, these contexts themselves in V.A. Vorontsov and A.A. Utkin are completely different. In the monograph by V.A. Vorontsov is a Turkic-speaking cultural environment and alleged Turkic-speaking legends, in the book of A.A. Utkin — pagan mythology, mostly Scandinavian. V.A. Vorontsov proceeds from the idea of creating the core of the work in the Turkic environment and in the Turkic language. The names of the pagan gods that are present in the text of The Tale, the researcher interprets as the result of a Russian co-author’s or scribes’ misunderstanding of some Turkic “epics” about the campaign of Prince Igor. In contrast to V.A. Vorontsov A.A. Utkin considers the names of pagan gods in The Tale as elements of a mythological system that was historically common to Scandinavians and Slavs. Veles, Dazhbog, Troyan, mentioned in the text of the monument, he considers different names for the same deity and identifies them with Odin. According to the researcher, the author of The Tale proceeds from the idea of this god as the ancestor of the Rurikovich. The article proves that both hypotheses are unfounded and ignore the data of the text.


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