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Peter Weil “In Search of Brodsky” (intertextual discourse)

Liberal Arts in Russia. 2022. Vol. 11. No. 1. Pp. 47-57.
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Bogdanova O. V.
A. I. Herzen Russian State Pedagogical University
48 Moika River Embankment, 191186 Saint Petersburg, Russia
Vlasova E. A.
Russian National Library
18 Sadovaya Street, 191069 Saint Petersburg, Russia


The authors of the article study the intertextual strategies of Peter Weil in the essay “In Search of Brodsky” (2008) and comprehends the features of the essayistic discourse of the famous expatriate publicist. The authors show that the distance of the “free essay”, the genre nature of which implies a high degree of subjectivity and mosaic, in Weil’s text is seriously cramped by the principles of factology and factography, the desire to accurately fix the date, address, time of year, to provide historical information, to include information from a guide to Venice in the text. As shown in the course of the analysis, Weil’s use of the techniques of an excursion and tourist review allows the essayist to compensate for the lack of direct information about Joseph Brodsky, but to replace them with fascinating (and distracting) stories, for example, about the birth of a dish called “Carpaccio” or about a luxurious reception in the palace of the Doge of Venice. The personality of the narrator himself becomes the guarantor of the objectivity of the reported facts about Weil’s acquaintance with Brodsky, who invariably accompanies any story about the poet with remarks “and I too...”, “I also ...”, which seem to bind the information to reality, firmly and securely fasten them together. The intertextual layer of Weil’s essay is largely permeated with a quotation, which, first of all, is focused on Brodsky’s poetry, but no less on the tourist guide, the route “Brodsky in Venice” conditionally developed and proposed by Weil. Genre dominants turn out to be strongly displaced in the essay by Weil, essentially replacing the specifics of essayistic subjective discourse with strategies of factual journalism.


  • • P. Weil
  • • I. Brodsky
  • • essayistics
  • • genre-compositional features
  • • documentalization techniques
  • • factography
  • • intertextual plan


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