Contemporary Russian Satire: A Genre Study by Karen L. Ryan-Hayes

By Karen L. Ryan-Hayes

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Although this holds true for much of classical allegory, the directionality of modern allegorical interpretation is less uniform (Leyburn, Satiric Allegory, pp. 4-5). g. The Divine Comedy) as well as many modern allegories are concerned with examining evil more centrally than with exhorting readers to achieve goodness. This view of satire and allegory as proximate modes in terms of intention and procedure is consistent with Iskander's ideas about the function of literature. In an interview with the emigre critics Vail' and Genis, he speaks in almost mystical terms about literature: "...

Kroliki i udavy, p. 65). 48 He enhances the irony of their serving as moral judges by having the mother marmoset elaborate on her swinging instructions to her daughter. She emphasizes that one must not be afraid to fall, that taking risks is necessary; when confronted with a moral dilemma that holds some danger, however, she hypocritically counsels cowardice. Moreover, in denouncing Sharpie later at the rabbits' special meeting, the mother marmoset exaggerates her own heroism. She includes the detail of having spit in Sharpie's face in her retelling, although this remained only an intention in reality.

It is important to Sharpie that he maintain his perception of himself as a liberal and a free-thinker making only minimal concessions to authority, but these concessions turn out to be pivotal. In fact, he is quite eager to cooperate with those in power to improve his own situation. Both Sharpie and the Poet are representative of the Soviet intelligentsia, the focus of Iskander's most caustic satire. As Ivanova notes, "Iskander's view is skeptical and his evaluation of the essence and the actions of the 'intelligentsia' is deeply pessimistic" ("Bestiarii," 109).

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