The book addresses the questions of precedent phenomena (culturally specific language units) functioning in a literary text. Analyzing Dostoevsky’s novel Demons, the research demonstrates precedent phenomena as a tool that may serve multiple purposes in a literary work. This idea is defined in terms of direct and palimpsest functions. Precedent phenomena used in direct functions reflect people’s everyday communicative needs. Simultaneously, fulfilling one of the direct functions, precedent phenomena may serve for other purposes at the level of author-reader communication. Whenever a character uses a precedent phenomenon to animate the conversation the author may define him as a member of a certain group or discredit his authority.