Rus Articles Journal

What poetic discoveries were made by K. Chukovsky in “Crocodile“?

of Ayr of new children`s poetry began literally on the eve of radical changes in the Russian life. And though K. Chukovsky`s fairy tale “Crocodile“ did not bear any propaganda or political sense, nevertheless realities of time - World War I and the last years of the bourgeois world were interwoven into it.

“Appearance“ of the Crocodile on city streets then especially surprised nobody - in the people songs it seems of “Down the street were popular for a long time walked big a crocodile...“ and “It is surprisingly lovely once upon a time there was a crocodile...“ . Petrovsky claimed that everything the swallowing reptile also F. Dostoyevsky`s story “A crocodile, or a case in the Passage“ which reading Chukovsky heard at the friend I. Repin could affect an image.
of Any questions did not cause in readers of that time also indignation of the people on the fact that the Crocodile speaks in German. During 1 - y world the anti-German moods were so strong that even St. Petersburg was renamed into Petrograd, and the posters “In German It Is Forbidden to Speak“ really hung in the city. The streets are walked still by policemen, and “valorous Vanya Vasilchikov“ is proud of the fact that “without nurse walks on streets“ .

The heroic child who, having waved “the saber toy“ forces a fright to return swallowed becomes the hero of the children`s poem for the first time. The Crocodile who implored for mercy comes back to Africa where tells the tsar Gippopotam about tortures of their “brothers“ ground in menageries. The indignant animals go war on Petrograd, and the gorilla kidnaps the girl Lyalya (whose prototype the daughter of the artist Z served. Grzhebina - “very graceful girl similar to a doll“ ). It is amusing how lines from Chukovsky`s fairy tale:

“... On a pipe flushed,
of Soot scooped,
Smeared Lyalya,
Sat down on eaves.

Cela, dozed off,
Lyalya shook
I with awful shout
Rushed down“,

later time will respond in a popular song of S. Krylov:

“The girl, worrying, sat down on eaves
I with awful shout rushed down,
connected children`s hearts There,
was So learned by mother of my father“.

Certainly, Vanya Vasilchikov wins an easy victory again, and the fairy tale comes to an end with it close to the people of Russia 1916 with an appeal to the world:

“Live together with us,
I to a budemta friends:
Enough we battled
I of blood spilled!

We will break guns, We bullets will dig
A you to yourself cut
of the Hoof and a horn! “

The bright dynamic plot with the continuous cascade of adventures and the hero - the peer was already break in a musty bog of children`s poetry. But not less (and it is rather more) important was other innovation of Chukovsky - an unusual poetic form of the fairy tale. The writer one of the first beginnings to look narrowly at such phenomenon as mass culture which went for change to old folklore. Hating it for platitude, primitiveness and the counted cheap cliches, Chukovsky nevertheless tried to understand, than it attracts masses and as it is possible “to improve“, on the one hand, some of its receptions, and with another - to enter these inclusion in qualitative “high“ poetry. The same idea occupied also Alexander Blok. Not without reason many researchers fairly point to similarity of poetic receptions in the poem “Twelve“ (1918) and “Crocodile“. There is a continuous change of a rhythm, language of the poster, informal conversation, a chastushka, children`s counting rhyme, the city romance is interwoven into the text of the poem.

“12“: “Wind cheerful
I is angry and glad to

Twists hems,
of Passersby mows,
Tears, rumples and the Big poster carries
“All power to the Constituent Assembly“...
I of the word informs:

... And we had a meeting...
... Here in this building...
... Discussed -
for a while - ten, for the night - twenty five...
... Less - from anybody not to take...
... Let`s go to sleep...“


“... And a furious reptile
Down with from Petrograd!“


“It was thrown back by the person,
Teeth shine with pearls...
Ah you, Katya, my Katya,


“He runs in the tram,
All shout: - Ouch - ouch - ouch! -
I run,
Head over heels,
On houses,
On corners: - Help
! Rescue! Pardon!“

So there is well-known “a korneeva the stanza“ which comes to the end with a line which is not rhymed with previous and is written in other size.
of Change of a rhythm in Chukovsky`s verses occurs constantly in close connection with the events. Then, echoes of the Russian classics are heard there. So a monologue of the Crocodile -

“Oh, this garden, an awful garden! it to forget
I would be glad.
There under scourges of watchmen
suffers animals Much...“
the lovely girl Lyalechka reminds

rhythms of “Novice“ Yu. Lermontov, and

With a doll walked it
I on Tavricheskaya Street
Suddenly uvidat the Elephant...“

“The ballad about great sinners“ of N. Nekrasov. And the chain of the African animals could be quite inspired by the “African“ poem “Mick“ of N. Gumilev. However, according to Chukovsky, Gumilev of “Crocodile“ disliked, seeing in it... “sneer over zverm“ .
That to a rhythmic variety and poetic “hyperlinks“, Chukovsky considered that quite so children`s verses have to prepare hearing of the child for perception of all richness of the Russian poetic diction. Not without reason Yu. Tynyanov half in jest devoted to Korney Ivanovich the following rhyme:

Ya studied a problem of the Its language
you resolved
In “Crocodile“.

I though the author`s irony is present at “Crocodile“, the fairy tale from it does not turn into the parody - for it it will be madly fallen in love by the most different children - from noblemen to homeless children. There was no baby talk of the adult and a boring didacticism therefore Vanya Vasilchikov was perceived as “the“, real hero. Chukovsky pointed to it also more than once:

“... Unfortunately, drawings of Re - Mi, at all the huge advantages, distorted a tendency of my poem a little. They represented in a comic look what in verses I treat with a piety.
... It is the poem heroic, inducing to commission of feats. The courageous boy saves all city from wild animals, releases the little girl from captivity, battles against monsters and so forth. It is necessary to put in the forefront serious sense of this thing. Let it will remain easy, playful, but under a bushel in it the strong moral basis has to be felt. Vanya, e.g. it is not necessary to do by the character comic. It is beautiful, noble, courageous. In the same way and the girl whom he rescues should not be comical... it has to be lovely, gentle“.

the Adult bourgeois public apprehended “Crocodile“ ambiguously. Devriyen`s publishing house returned the manuscript, having accompanied it scornful - “It for street urchins“.

K. Chukovsky:
“To me was long advised that I did not put the surname that remained the critic. When my son at school was asked: “It is your father “Krokodilchikov“ composes?“, - he told: “No“, because it was a shame, it was very unpresentable occupation...“

When in 1917. the fairy tale under the name “Vanya and Krokodil“ began to be published in the For Children magazine (the annex to the Niva magazine), adults started over again being indignant, and after 3 - go numbers nearly covered the edition. But the impact of the children demanding continuation overcame. “Crocodile“ was published in all 12 - ti the issues of the magazine, outposts both falling of the monarchy, and falling of Provisional government (not without reason to the fairy tale there was a comic note: “Many also still do not know that a lion for a long time not the king of beasts. Animals overthrew it from a throne...“ .

The young Soviet power reacted to Chukovsky`s fairy tale quite unexpectedly. In 1919 Petrosovet`s publishing house which is located directly in Smolny decided not just to publish “Crocodile“, but to publish it in an album format with illustrations of Re - Mi (A. Remizov) and with a circulation of 50 thousand copies. Besides - some time the book was distributed free of charge!

Both this circulation, and reprinting in Novonikolayevsk (present Novosibirsk) dispersed instantly.
On a cover was two, inconceivable for children`s literature, an inscription earlier: “The POEM for small children“ and dedication “to my DEAR children - Bob, Lida, Kolya“ .

So the Russian literature on full authority included children`s poetry, the literary critic unexpectedly for himself turned into the storyteller, and the Crocodile Krokodilovich became the invariable character of the majority of its fairy tales. About them the speech at us still ahead.