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Abstract

Conceptual opposition of «vezhestvo» («decency»)/«ignorance» has long been an ethico-aesthetic basis for many works of Russian literature and folklore, thus defining their ideological thematic, and structural confi guration. In oral epos, «vezhestvo» appears as life-constructing value which is based upon a hero’s awareness of his own destiny and means of its implementation, such as particular behavioral style, experience, knowledge and skills on dealing with hostile forces, acceptance of an idea of the world’s hierarchy, reliance on help from divine powers, parents’ blessing for great doings, etc. «Ignorance» implies, respectively, incomprehension or rejection of these values. In literary epos, «vezhestvo» continues to function as a sign of traditional spirituality, thereby reproducing a national model of the world as a synthesis of many beginnings: courtesy, erudition, intellect, and exactingness of aesthetic taste of the Russian. In the context of literary search in the second half of the 18th century, a trend of jokey, ironic outplaying of typical situations, which a man had been encountered from the times of epic heroes, became stronger. The most representative examples of interpretation of a literary concept of «vezhestvo» of that period one can fi nd in bogatyr poems by N.A. L’vov and N.M. Karamzin.
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