Literary Studies

The works of M. Yunys: Characteristic features of constructing a national myth

Abstract: 

The article discusses characteristic features of constructing a national myth in M. Yunys's prose and journalism. In his works, actualization of national issues has generally ideological roots. In the course of deep reflection, while analyzing national identity, self-knowledge and consciousness, the author mythologizes the national image of the world. One of the first stages of the national myth formation is the idea of the national “us” based on comparison with “them”, which is perceived as “other”. The significant feature of M. Yunys's prose and journalism is nationalization of a chronotope. If we consider national existential concepts within a constructivist paradigm, we find different mechanisms of mythologization. The process of national identification and nationalization of a chronotope is based on a certain model, presented by chronotopes “motherland – the path of searching for happiness – return”, which is found in the majority of his works (for example, the trilogy “Travel”, the novel “Reflections en Route”, the story “To Find and to Lose”, the story “Our House Was under the Willows”, etc.). This model is motivated by sociocultural prerequisites developing into the concept “the fate of the people”. In his prosaic and publicistic works, creation of myths is of cognitive nature with modeling potential.

Key words: 

national myth, national image of the world, M. Yunys, Tatar literature, national identity, image of “them”, image of “us”.

Image-symbols in M. Gafuri’s poetry

Abstract: 

The article explores the functional and semantic field of image-symbols in the works of M. Gafuri. The poet actively addresses aesthetic possibilities of symbolization in his verses. In his poetry, allegorical thinking and a combination of conventionality with intense lyrical-emotional moments hold an important place. At the same time, the core of his work includes symbols, or allegorical images that become the “center” of the depicted picture of the world, a means of evaluation and a source of expressing philosophical thought.

The scientific novelty of our research is determined by a different approach to the study of M. Gafuri's work: In the course of the study, we focus on the features of symbolization, figurative thinking of the poet, on the semantic nuances of symbolic images and their substantial philosophical underpinnings. By using the structural-semiotic analysis and evaluating the poet’s works in their ideological and aesthetic integrity in terms of the new methodological approach, we make it possible for researchers to identify new dimensions in the creative work of M. Gafuri.

In the course of our research, we have found that different types of image-symbols dominate in different periods of the poet's work, which is promoted by a change in sociocultural landmarks in the national artistic thinking. The article identifies the diachronic transformations of image-symbols in M. Gafuri’s poems and confirms the changes in the artistic thinking and the world outlook of the poet.

Key words: 

interpretation, image-symbol, Tatar poetry, myth, transformation, M. Gafuri.

The tales of “The Thousand and One Nights”: History and translations

Abstract: 

This article discusses the issues of the origin of an oriental “literary monument”, the popular collection of medieval fairy-tales entitled “The Thousand and One Nights”, and its penetration into the folklore of European countries, particularly into Russia through its translations.

According to researchers, this work is a joint creation of the peoples from the Middle East, Central and South Asia, which is proved by the Iranian, Arabic and Indian color found in the collection.

The article analyzes different opinions expressed in the East and West with regard to Scheherazade’s fairy tales. It studies various references to the stories of “The Nights” from ancient times to the present day and provides information about numerous translations made in Europe, from Galland’s translation in France to Salye’s in Russia.

The purpose of the research is to study the history of creation of “The Nights” and how it spread across countries owing to its translations. We also consider the features of perception of this collection in the West and East in terms of various cultural aspects, prove the significance of this work for world literature and demonstrate the importance of translations, which played a significant role in spreading this literary monument throughout the world.

The novelty of the research lies in the fact that for the first time an attempt has been made to trace how “The Thousand and One Nights”, translated into different languages, spread in Western countries, as well as in Russia.

Key words: 

“The Thousand and One Nights”, Scheherazade, Eastern literature, Iranian, Arabic and Indian folk tales, translation.

“Metaficational signals” in Daniel Kelman's novel “Measuring the World”

Abstract: 

The article analyzes how the category of metaphysicality is implemented in the novel “Measuring the World” (“Die Vermessung der Welt”, 2006) by modern Austrian writer Daniel Kehlmann (Daniel Kehlmann, born 1975). The main characters of the novel are mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777–1855) and naturalist traveler Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859). In reconstructing the historical context, we deal with the functioning of real-historical prototypes (Carlos Montufar, Aime J. A. Bonpland). The article considers metaphysicality in the form of a narrative strategy that reveals the relationship of the literary text with reality. We also analyze the ways of implementing a metaphysical game in the structure of fictional text at various textual levels: thematic, stylistic, compositional, and at the level of content. The article raises the issue of genre modifications of the historical novel in modern Austrian literature and discusses authorial attitudes to the poetics of the historical novel, in particular, authorial preferences in selecting historical personalities. We prove that the study of the historical novel through the prism of metaphysicality is productive, since this approach allows us to trace the “dosage” of historical and fictional truth, to better understand authorial intentions, to correlate historical fact and fiction, and to compare the fictional world of the novel with reality.

Key words: 

historical novel; Kehlmann; fiction; historical context, metaphysicality.

Comparative poetics of genres: I. S. Turgenev’s prose poem “What Am I Supposed to Think of?” and F. Amirkhan’s naser “Tagzia” (“Consolation”)

Abstract: 

The article analyzes the prose poem and naser, genres of Russian and Tatar literature, in a comparative aspect. The work aims to investigate their poetics, based on I. S. Turgenev’s work “What Am I Supposed to Think of?” and F. Amirkhan’s “Tagzia”, to find out the character of genre correlation in the context of various linguistic, artistic, and cultural traditions. We have found that the rhythm of Turgenev’s prose poem resembles the rhythm of a verse, it is mainly created by means of short stanzas (verses), which have a special composition. In contrast to I. S. Turgenev’s poem, long lines occupy a special place in the poetics of the naser “Consolation”, which can be explained by the history of Tatar poetry and prose (H. Usmanov, H. Kurbatov, etc.). Long lines are complete in their meanings, they make up a maxim or an aphoristic statement, conveying the rhythm of the character’s speech. The rhythm of F. Amirkhan’s naser corresponds to the rhythm of the Tatar folk song (“a sad song”). The melodic base of the “Consolation” is created by the means of frequent repetitions, anaphora, inversion, and rhymes of certain sentences. The article concludes that compared genres are unique, and their uniqueness is revealed, in an original way, in the dialogue of Russian classics and Tatar literature of the early 20th century.

Key words: 

genres comparison, poetics, naser, prose poem, rhythm, long lines, verse.

Biography and pseudo biography of Henry James in Dan Simmons’s detective novel “The Fifth Heart”

Abstract: 

Novice researchers of Henry James’s works accept “The Fifth Heart” by Dan Simmons as a realist work, which allegedly raises the issue of American and British national identity. However, this novel has a different interpretation. The article shows that the novel should be referred to the “mainstream literature”. Detective Sherlock Holmes investigates mysterious suicide of Clover Adams, a real-life wife of historian and politician Henry Adams. Such renowned authors as Henry James, Henry Adams, Mark Twain, and William Dean Howells become fictional personalities, “a sign” in Simmons’s work, although their discourse consists of actual letters and diary records. The dynamic plot, revolving around the figure of Sherlock Holmes, is composed of unbelievable fantastic, almost fairy tale events. Holmes appears as a kind of superman who has power over the most extraordinary situations. Impossible adventures are substantiated by documentary details: addresses of clubhouses, drinking establishments and nobility mansions, travel itineraries - all these give the impression of authenticity. Simmons treats James’s biography in a voluntaristic way creating a pseudo biography of the author of “The Portrait of a Lady” who allegedly makes a decision to commit suicide because of a cold reception of his novels. Despite the author’s belletristic mastery, numerous clichés, found in his work, fill some readers with “enthusiastic awe”, others experience confusion over his voluntaristic interpretation of Henry James’s personality.

Key words: 

Dan Simmons, Henry James, Sherlock Holmes, “The Fifth Heart”, detective, biography, pseudo biography, fiction.

The сontemporaries of L. Tolstoy as the types of characters in “Anna Karenina” (based on the encyclopedia “Leo Tolstoy and His Contemporaries”)

Abstract: 

Based on the encyclopedia “Leo Tolstoy and His Contemporaries” the article discusses the contemporaries of Leo Tolstoy, who became the prototypes of his characters in the novel “Anna Karenina” due to some features of their character, their physical and spiritual appearance, or their destiny. Thus, Perfiliev Vasily Stepanovich (1826-1890), a close friend of Tolstoy and the vice-governor and governor of Moscow the last years of his life, became the prototype of Steve Oblonsky. Gartung Maria Aleksandrovna (1832-1919), the eldest daughter of Alexander Pushkin, “prompted” a portrait of Anna Karenina by her outward appearance. According to the biographical data, the fate of Anna Karenina is the fate of Tolstoy’s sister Maria Nikolaevna. The scene when Levin confesses his love to Kitty also has a link to the biographical fact from Tolstoy’s life. Many other characters of Leo Tolstoy, including Anna Karenina, have their literary ancestors in Pushkin’s life and work. Of interest is the story about the creation of Leo Tolstoy’s portrait, executed by I. N. Kramskoy, and its connection with individual episodes from the novel “Anna Karenina” (the image of artist Mikhailov). In general, we  emphasize that the historical and biographical materials of the encyclopedia “Leo Tolstoy and His Contemporaries” enable us to deeper understand the images from the novel “Anna Karenina” in terms of their artistic creation. This article reveals the possibilities of using this publication in both research and teaching work on the history of creation of Leo Tolstoy's most real-life novel, “Anna Karenina”.

Key words: 

L. N. Tolstoy's novel “Anna Karenina”, prototype, V. S. Perfiliev, M. A. Hartung, M. N. Tolstaya.

Essay writing in literary works of A. Genatulin

Abstract: 

The article considers the genre and style features of essays by A. Genatulin, the famous Russian-speaking writer of Bashkortostan, who is more than ninety years old. The writer is a veteran, a witness and a participant of the major historical events, among which the main one is the Great Patriotic War. In his essays, the writer reflects not only on the tragic past, but also on the present day of the country. His view of the past and current events is distinguished by real integrity and his uncompromising stand. The writer represents “the lost generation”, those who had lived expecting happy changes, only to see their hopes for the bright future ruined. It is with bitterness that they state the depreciation of moral values, which they had been selflessly faithful to. His extreme honesty, frank non-trivial and independent reflections leave no doubt that his observations are the fruit really gained and endured, there is no false pathos in his works, nothing tactical and momentary. The analysis convinces us that there is a deep internal communication between all the writer’s works, irrespective of the genre determined by the author himself. All of them interact, forming a uniform hypertext, which is characterized by lyricism and unique intonation.

Key words: 

Genatulin's works, essay, Great Patriotic War, hypertext, lyricism of prose.

A long road of Russian generals: Between the truth of fact and the truth of life

Abstract: 

The article gives a literary interpretation of the Civil War memory and its heroes in contemporary Russian fiction. The subject matter of our analysis is pieces of writing where historic content is represented by a text – documentary or functioning as a document: the novels “The Winter Road. General A. N. Pepelyaev and Anarchist I. Y. Strod in Yakutia. 1922–1923” by L. Yuzeffovitch and “Soloviev and Larionov” by E. Vodolazkin.

The Russian readership perception is characterized by a visible interest in non-fiction. With all the differences in the writers’ personal styles (L.Yuzeffovitch’s narration is based on a document and represents non-fiction, whereas the piece of writing by E. Vodolazkin is built upon pseudo scientific-detective intrigue), both of them possess research pathos and understanding of the need to artistically resolve the ontological conflict within the unified Russian history. The article makes an attempt to analyze the poetics of literary works and particularly to evaluate the constructive plot-generating role of a documentary text (or claiming to be as such) as a method of reconstructing a story in the fictional space of the novels.

This research enabled us to specify different levels of the literary work construction and various readers’ receptive positions as well as to justify the humanistic concept of the authorial view of man within the limits designated by historical circumstances.

Key words: 

historic content, documentary text, non-fiction, writing style, L. Yuzeffovitch, E. Vodolazkin.

“Literariness vs Documentality” as an authorial strategy in the contemporary biography (based on the series “Zhizn’ Zamechatel’nykh Lyudei” (Life of Remarkable People)

Abstract: 

The biographical genre is traditionally popular with Russian readers and this tradition dates back to the Soviet era when the book series “Zhizn’ zamechatel’nykh lyudei” was extremely popular on the book market. Recently this interest has decreased to some extent, although certain books have provoked discussions not only in literary criticism, but also in literary studies. On the other hand, the biography industry constitutes a considerable part of the book market in the West, thus new biographical technologies and individual know-how have become the subject of a special research analysis.

Despite the fact that the range of works, devoted to theoretical and historical aspects of the biographical genre, is quite large, and the names of their authors (from G. Mish to M. Bakhtin, S. Averintsev, N. Bogomolov, etc.) are treated with reverence, nowadays biography that exists in new sociocultural and literary conditions needs new understanding for the reasons of great pressure exercised by the publishing industry and the mass culture society. In this context, the book series “Zhizn’ zamechatel’nykh lyudei” requires a careful analysis of the author's strategies, used in its creation, of the system of the “serial” preferences and reasons for the preservation / destruction of the genre conventions. The selected biographies of prominent Russian literary scholars M. Bakhtin, D. Likhachev and V. Shklovskiy make it possible to speak of the main trends in the development of the literary biography subgenre and to identify the consequences of using such authorial strategy as excessive and aggressive literariness at the expense of traditional documentality.

Key words: 

biographical genre, the book series “Zhizn’ zamechatel’nykh lyudei”, authortal strategy, literariness, documentality, M. M. Bakhtin, D. S. Likhachev, V. B. Shklovskiy.

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