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By Karen L. Ryan-Hayes

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Extra resources for Contemporary Russian Satire: A Genre Study

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The illustrator of the tale represented the boas with a snake in a military service jacket, who has his left hand inside the placket and his right hand behind his back; the depiction immediately recalls Stalin's Iskander's transparent allegory 23 typical dress and posture. The rabbit in the illustration is wearing spectacles, the unmistakable appurtenance of the Russian intelligent. His suit jacket and cuffed pants complete the visual portrayal. Critics have reinforced an allegorical reading of the text, though they differ as to the particularity of the target.

A somewhat broader interpretation of the work regards it as an allegorical treatment of social hierarchy and its by-products of tyranny and philistinism. Sergei Ivanov, a proponent of this point of view, elaborates in a review of Rabbits and Boa Constrictors: I am least of all inclined to see in Rabbits and Boa Constrictors a caique of some concrete social arrangement. Sometimes the author approaches the reality we know, sometimes he departs from it. 31 While commentators like Ivanov agree that one target of Iskander's satirical allegory is Soviet society, they tend to see its focus as more encompassing.

Whereas authorial intrusion may be problematic in other Iskander's transparent allegory 19 literary forms, it is a determining feature of allegory. e. what is expressed and what is meant. The primary or literal level consistently points to the secondary or abstract level, though these levels remain distinct and parallel. Moreover, the primary level is often considered subordinate to the secondary level: " I n allegorical novels, then, the 'significance' exercises a close control over the plot, imagery, tone, and characters.

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