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This article is devoted to the analysis of the way of presenting and establishing the function of the motive of the icon in prose of Russian writers – emigrants of the first wave based on two significant works – the novels – Ivan Shmelyev's ''The Summer of the Lord'' (1944) and ''The Rotonda'' (1928) by Ilya Surguchev. The author proves that despite the large ideological differences and the genre ones between the two authors of the analyzed magazines (“Summer of the Lord” is an autobiographical novel, in which life in Russia at the end of the 19th century is indicated from the perspective of a child, and Rotunda is a modernist novel with elements of mysticism and autobiography, in which the narration is on behalf of a mature person – a Russian émigré living in Western Europe), both novels are united by the method of indicating the icon as a part of the native culture of the present exiles, something associated in their minds with their bright, serene childhood, spent back in old pre-revolutionary Russia. A comparative analysis of both works of emigre prose proves that the motive of the icon plays a significant role in them. Both Shmelev and Surguchev at the time of writing their works, were already well aware that there was no return to the old, past reality, and, nevertheless, they were trying to preserve it – the first one, describing the traditions of his paternal house, the second - portraying the character who in an alien environment, was looking for a substitute for his native culture, referring to Catholic sculpture as an Orthodox icon.


Icon, motive, memory, alter-ego, emigration prose, firstwave emigrants, Ivan Shmelev, Ilya Surguchev