- Anikin Anton Candidate of Philology, Associate Professor
The article off ers an original aspect of perception in the development of literature through the reference to the characters’ personal names. Authors do not normally make up names, but use the ones that already exist. The name has already some meaning, which can be restored with the help of etymology, as well as from the previous experience of using it both in art and history, or in everyday life. This combination of the author’s imagination and the life of the name is an interesting phenomenon that can be studied as a refl ection of the author’s style, and as a more original observation — the life of the name in the history of literature, and its own evolution. We have proposed and tested the hypothesis that such development has its own internal logic. The article analyzes various stylistic solutions by referring to the internal form of the name, as well as fi lling it with new meanings. The study focuses on the name Melania, which is relatively rare for Russian culture and can be traced to the literature of 18th–20th centuries. This name off ers some advantages in conducting the study, since it has not been used much in literature and has retained its original fl air. The name with Greek roots comes from folk culture. It acquired symbolic meaning thanks to the story of St. Melania of Rome (5th century CE). It became a baptismal name, and later penetrated into the Western and Russian literature, mainly through hagiographies about St. Melania, written by the authors Gerontius and St. Demetrius of Rostov. The study presents almost all known, though rare cases of using the name Melania in Russian literature — from satirical attacks against Western and later Russian sentimentalism (d’Arnot — Prince Shakhovskoy), to the depiction of Russian national characters by Leo Tolstoy and A. N. Ostrovsky. Vladimir Dal and Nikolay Leskov used the folk variants of the name in their works. Finally, we look at the examples of using the name Melania in the 20th century: Maxim Gorky strongly dislikes this name when depicts one of his characters, a hypocrite whom he hates. The development evolves in opposites: idolizing — ridiculing, positive — negative context, popularity — oblivion — revival, etc. Margaret Mitchell’s novel “Gone with the Wind” played a signifi cant role in bringing positive attitude to the name Melania. The results of the observations lead to the general theoretical conclusions regarding the evolution of the name in literature and its relative independence.