Here, the well-known Pushkin’s formulaic expression was chosen as a nutshell account of the poetic world of Khvostov, in which, as a rule, many recognize only the irony. However, the mentioned triad might also be interpreted as the key to Khvostov’s poetry, as a set of basic principles of the structure of the works of ‘Tails’ (from Russ. ‘khvost’, meaning ‘tail’). The threepart definition very effectively demonstrates the interconnectedness and interdependence of all three qualities noted by Pushkin. The article presents an attempt to read the Tail’s parables from the collection of 1802 in the spirit of the Pushkin triad: the ways of creating the effect of depth, playfulness and diversity through the use of the capabilities of four main combinatorial operations (addition, decrease, replacement, permutation), as well as grammar, various metaphorical codes (first of all – the bestiary), and genuine references to emblems. Khvostov applies all of the abovementioned techniques holistically, which justifies our view of the poetological system of Khvostov as of a carefully organized world governed by the principles pointed out by Pushkin. As a result of the continuous and unified operation of these three principles, the effect of deceived expectation is often achieved in Tail’s works, which much too often have been dismissed as nonsensical.
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