Myth of Russia in German Culture

Introduction

V.V. Savina

Linguistics University of Nizhny Novgorod

THE GERMAN MYTH ABOUT RUSSIA

Introduction

 According to the scholars (N.P. Mikhal’skaya in particular) the image of Russia in Western Europe is a myth, and as any myth it has certain inherent features: opposition of certain semantic elements, their sparsity and indivisibility, as well as a stable structure [1: С.151]. Germany is no exception. The Germans’ perception of Russia (Ros’, Rus’) had been shaped over the centuries and saw little change until the 19th century. The country is enormous in size and is able to defeat opposing states in great battles. Special attention is paid to the severity of the country’s climate. This element in particular becomes the pillar for all the changes of the country’s image up to the late 19th century. The symbols of this idea are frost, snow, and ice. A significant feature of the semantic elements making up the myth about Russia in the European literature of the 16th and subsequent centuries is the fact that the authors present each of these elements in the superlative form. The country is not just big, but enormous, the riches are countless, the power is unlimited, and the nature is the most severe. This tradition of describing semantic elements in the superlative degree remains up to the 20th and the 21st centuries.

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