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The heroine of L. Ulitskaya’s Sonechka is reading a play by Schiller. The work, which seems to be entirely unmotivated on the level of the plot, proves to be an exceptionally important code with regard to the poetics and esthetics of Ulitskaya’s short story. This paper examines how the Russian author revives Schiller’s game theory and how the short story itself can be interpreted on the basis of esthetic game theories.

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This study examines how 19th-century Russian literary tradition is manifested in L. Ulitskaya’s short story Sonechka; a tradition which poses questions in the field of the philosophy of artistic creation through the portrayal of painters and their paintings. L. Ulitskaya’s short story does not directly evoke this 19th-century tradition; it is transmitted into the textual world of Sonechka by a 20th-century novel, V. Nabokov’s Camera Obscura. The revelation of the intertextual connection between the two works sheds light on the connection between Ulitskaya’s short story and the tradition cited above.

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