(1) A type of narrative in a work of fiction, recounted by a character whose status and manner of speech differ from the viewpoint and style of the author himself. The contrast and interrelationship between these semantic and linguistic positions are the bases of the skaz’s artistic effect. The speech of the actual or implied narrator of skaz lies outside the written literary norm of the given epoch; it may be patterned on dialect, speech typical of a certain occupation or popular language. It may also be a complex combination of these with the literary norm, as in the works of V. Dal’, N. Leskov, and M. Zoshchenko.
A literary work may consist entirely of skaz, or the skaz within it may be accompanied by the author’s introduction, afterword, or interpolations. Skaz differs from stylization in its use of extraliterary genres and types of speech. Works whose narrator’s speech is not in contrast to that of the author are not considered to utilize skaz; examples are I. S. Turgenev’s short stories. Foreign, particularly Anglo-American, literary theory and criticism has no concept analogous to skaz, but studies the same problem of the interrelationship between the different narrative viewpoints in a work that are subordinate or in contrast to the viewpoint of the principal narrator, or centralizing consciousness.
(2) In Soviet folklore studies, skaz, like the term “oral folktale,” designates all genres of oral prose whose content is not fantastic. These include memoraty—first-person tales—and fabulaty— narratives independent of any participant in the event narrated (tales, legends, and bylichki or supposedly realistic stories). The term skazanie (narrative tale) is sometimes used with the same meaning.
REFERENCESEikhenbaum, B. Literatura. Leningrad, 1927.
Vinogradov, V. “Problema skaza ν stilistike.” In Poetika, fasc. 1. Leningrad, 1926.
Vinogradov, V. Stilistika; Teoriia poeticheskoi rechi; Poetika. Moscow, 1963.
Bakhtin, M. M. Problemypoetiki Dostoevskogo, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1963.
Chistov, K. V. “Skaz.” In Literaturnaia entsiklopediia, vol. 6. Moscow, 1971.
A. P. CHUDAKOV and K. V. CHISTOV (skaz in folklore)