Slovo.ru: the Baltic accent

2017 Vol. 8 № 2

HISTORY, HISTORIOGRAPHY, AND PHILOLOGY

Reflections on the history of the Kaliningrad region

Abstract

This article describes differences and contradictions in identifying the subject of Kaliningrad regional history. Some researchers and media interpret the term ‘Kaliningrad regional history’ as the history of the region per se and others as the whole scope of local history. The ‘History of West Russia: The Kaliningrad Region’, a secondary school discipline taught since 2006, presents an interesting case. The subject of the Kaliningrad regional history has no single definition since it is a matter of politics rather than historiography. The inability to produce such a definition stems from the uniqueness of the region’s geographical position and history. The region’s history was used extensively in the Soviet time for political and ideological purposes. The current confrontation between Russia and the West lends new urgency to the problem of teaching local history, ninety percent of which is the history of a territory that once belonged to Germany — today, a pillar of the EU and a member of NATO. The author examines whether it is reasonable to draw on international experience in patriotic education. The subject ‘History of West Russia: The Kaliningrad Region’ was taken off the school timetable. The article stresses the need to teach a course on East Prussian history and proposes to treat it as the regional aspect of universal history.

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Workers’ settlements in the Kaliningrad region and their subsequent renaming in 1946—1947

Abstract

Part of East Prussia was ceded to the Soviet Union after the defeat of Nazi Germany. As a result, the local toponymy changed completely. The author analyses the documents from the State Archive of the Russian Federation, the Russian State Archives of Socio- Political History, and the State Archive of the Kaliningrad Region to trace the Russianisation of German toponyms. The decision to establish workers’ settlements in the Kaliningrad region was discussed in September 1946 — July 1947. Local authorities sought to create more settlements of the kind. However, the RSFSR leadership insisted on the establishment of one resort settlement and four workers’ villages. Numerous toponyms were proposed, many of them were changed several times. The only geographic name that was approved immediately by the Government of the RSFSR was Znamensk, since it incorporated the semantic root znamya (banner). The ideologically laden Komsomolsk was replaced with Zheleznodorozhny as a reference to the fact that most residents worked at the railway station. Another settlement was named Tchaikovsky but then was given the ideologically laden name Pionersky.

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Battlefield memories of the youth in Yu. N. Ivanov’s oeuvre: The novel In a besieged ci

Abstract

This article analyses Yu. N. Ivanov’s novel In a Besieged City, which was inspired by the author’s battlefield memories. Yu. N. Ivanov pictures the city as he saw it in April 1945. It is shown how descriptions of the works of architecture and art contribute to the artistic understanding of the history of Königsberg. The literary text based on what the author saw and experienced helps him to not only immerse himself in the past and relive it but also rewrite the past and change it to fit his concept of it.

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Character’s existence in the Königsberg/Kaliningrad toposphere: Yu.N Ivanov’s Dances in the Crematorium and Michael Wieck’s The Decline of Königsberg

Abstract

A comparative analysis of the existence of the main characters in Yuri Ivanov’s Dances in the Crematorium and Michael Wieck’s The Decline of Königsberg demonstrates clear typological convergences. The common toposphere is Königsberg/Kaliningrad, which incorporates a wide range of toponym types and subtypes — the district of Amalienau, Hufen- Allee, Alte Pillauer Landstraße, Paradeplatz, Nordbahnhof, Tiergarten, Luisenwahl, Kneiphof, Pregel, Schlossteich to name just a few. The urbanonyms denoting the main characters’ places of residence are Lawsker Allee and Steffeckstraße (Ivanov) and Steinmetzstraße (Wieck). The works share common themes — memory, faith, physical constraints, the freedom of human spirit, moral and amorality, personal and collective responsibility, and the evil of totalitarian regimes and racial hatred. The analysis shows common motifs in the works, those of destiny, desperate situations, ordeals, and suffering. The texts have a similar structure combining reminiscences of the main characters with interactions between the past and the present. However, the two authors approach the problem of the existence of the main characters differently. Ivanov’s character associates the topos of the city with life and hope while Wieck’s character — with death and disillusionment. Nevertheless, both texts convey the authors’ humanistic attitude to the human being and the world.

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Crimea in the legacy of B. D. Grekov, fellow of the Academy of Sciences

Abstract

Crimea holds a very special place in the biography of B. D. Grekov (1882—1953), an outstanding Russian historian and a fellow of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. Crimea was his long-standing research interest and a place of work and leisure. Some of his years spent in Crimea were very productive, and others were hard and lean. This article presents archive materials and other publications to analyse the stages and episodes of the scholar’s life and oeuvre in Crimea.

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HISTORIOGRAPHY AND LITERARY STUDIES

Historiography and literature: An alliance or a symbiosis?

Abstract

This article examines the concept of cultural memory. Special attention is paid to historiographical texts as a means of representation of cultural memory. The author analyses and compares theories describing relations between historiographical and literary texts. Such relations are based on the fiction/non-fiction opposition. It is concluded that the aesthetic component assumes significance in structuring historiographical texts.

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Was there ever realism? On the periodisation of Western European literature

Abstract

This article revisits the traditional perspective on realism as a prevalent trend in the European literature at the end of the 19th century. The author examines the perception of the concept of realism at the end of the 18th century (Friedrich Schiller) and in the 1850s (Champfleury and Duranty). It is stressed that Stendhal and Balzac did not associate themselves with realism and Flaubert objected to being called a realist. The author emphasizes the diversity of schools, trends, and literary techniques in the European literature of the second part of the 19th century.

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The mythical-historical images of Bruno Schulz’s ‘Spring’ in the context of Kafka’s mythologism

Abstract

Myths and history are different but related forms of consciousness. They date back to the archaic and new periods of world history. New forms of synthesis between history and myths translated in the ‘mythical-historical imagery’ of the 20th-century art. For the first time in the history of world culture, modernism has created a synthesis between the seemingly divergent elements — history and myths. This article analyses Schulz’s short story ‘Spring’ in the context of Franz Kafka’s mythological oeuvre — ‘The Great Wall of China’ and The Trial. The presence of mythical-historical images in their works is a common impulse, which creates a space for versatile mythopoetic interpretations shared by the two authors. The article examines the autonomy and synthesis of myths and history.

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The literary revision of Négritude in Evelyn Waugh’s novel Scoop

Abstract

This article analyses the problems addressed in Evelyn Waugh’s novel Scoop, through the prism of imagology — the study of cultural stereotypes as presented in literature. Within the ideational structure of the novel, the author analyses the theory of négritude, which holds that the African civilisation plays a special role in the world. It is concluded that the négritude philosophy is expressed in the novel through grotesque and the theory of négritude should be analysed in the context of philosophical and historical categories of civilization and barbarism.

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‘Many years to the invincible’: The axiological meanings of the spatial and temporal images in Boris Pasternak’s poem ‘Neoglyadnost’/’ Spanlessness’

Abstract

This article is an attempt to expose and analyse the chronotopical structure of Boris Pasternak's poem ‘Neogliadnost’/’Spanlessness’, written in 1944. The axiological meaning of spatiotemporal images in the poet's Weltanschauung is evaluated within a broader context of Russian language and culture. It is argued that the poem’s key value-laden motif, victory, is introduced in the text in three temporal domains. Two of them — the planes of the historical past and present — belong to the sphere of time. They are intrinsically linked by their reference to the metaphysical realm of eternity.

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LANGUAGE — HISTORY — THINKING

The linguistic paradigm in Kant studies

Abstract

This article discusses the potential of the linguistic persona theory in the linguistic studies of Kant’s texts. Linguistic Kant studies is a scientific discipline focusing on the language of Kant's works. Such a study can be either independent or integrated int a logicalphilosophical analysis. The author emphasizes Kant’s contribution to the German philosophical and scientific discourse of the Enlightenment and summarizes current findings on the philosopher’s style and language. It is shown that the analysis of Kant’s linguistic creativity (new terms, syntactic models, utterance structures, communicative speech structure, modality, text generation mechanisms, metaphors, and pragmatics) can be paired with the study of the verbal-semantic, cognitive, and motivational levels of the philosopher’s linguistic persona. The author stresses the importance of the linguistic investigations of philosophical texts for an in-depth interpretation of their philosophical content.

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The typological features of the anthroponymicon across different genres of Old Russian literary texts

Abstract

This article examines Old Russian literary texts of the ancient period from the perspective of the origin and development of the Slavic given names stemming from both Old Russian roots and loanwords. The author analyses two- and three-part male and female given names and examines their phonetic adaptation in Old Russian. Citations are selected from the Russian National Corpus.

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The functioning of the vladyka lexeme in the Ostromir Gospels of 1056—1057

Abstract

This article considers the use of the Vladyka lexeme to denote God the Father, Jesus Christ, and human rulers in the Ostromir Gospels with a Greek translation. The author analyses the semantics of the Church Slavonic lexemes as an equivalent to the paired Greek words, the way the matching Greek lexemes were selected, and the effect of semantic inconsistencies on the formation of the idea of the ruler in the consciousness of Slavs. The study employs the methods of etymological, lexicographical, lexical-semantic analysis, as well as methods of modern comparative studies. The author identifies the integral and differential significance contained in the semantics of the paired Church Slavonic and Greek lexemes. This helps to determine the effect of the identified semantic differences on the variations in the Christian perception of God by ancient Greeks and Slavs, as regards the differentiation between the functions of God the Father and Jesus Christ. The author examines to what degree the semantic differences affected the emergence of the Slavic idea of the human ruler as a vicar of God on Earth.

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Historical realia in teaching Russian as a foreign language

Abstract

This article deals with the historical realia as markers of the national and historical identity of the country of the target language. Realia make it possible to reconstruct selected aspects of the national character and study the axiology of modern native speakers. The analysis of non-equivalent, background and connotative lexis in the course of language acquisition stimulates reflection on extralinguistic (historical) information and thus contributes to cultural competences.

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