Slovo.ru: the Baltic accent

2019 Vol. 10 № 2

RUSSIAN STUDIES ABROAD

OPOIAZ and Bakhtin: the Decision Science’s perspective

Abstract

Decision science is a relatively new discipline: the product of a cross-pollination among mathematics, psychology, economy and a few other branches of knowledge. It studies how humans make their choices and purports to provide a “rational framework for choosing be­tween alternative courses of action when the consequences resulting from this choice are im­perfectly known.” In and of itself decision science is a vast field of intersecting theories and methodologies that I will exploit only in a limited manner—as it applies to particular views on literary production. My paper deals with the theories of Viktor Shklovsky and Iurii Tynianov outlining how these two members of the Petersburg “Society for the Study of Poetic Language”(OPOIAZ) conceived of the writer as a rational agent pursuing a specific goal, and of the means at his/her disposal to attain it. Their approaches, I will illustrate, correspond well to two specific types of rationality: “instrumental” and “bounded.” To conclude, I will juxta­pose the Formalists’ conceptualization of poetic creativity to Mikhail Bachtin’s view on the subject arguing that the way he conceives of the strategies available to the literary author fit the label of “interactive rationality.”

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HAGIOGRAPHY: COMPARATIVE AND HISTORICAL ASPECTS

The hagiographic genre of the life of Alexander (Plutarch’s Comparative biographies)

Abstract

The article describes the main features of the hagiographic genre in the Life of Alexander from Plutarch’s Comparative Biographies. I use the comparative, reverse and structural-semantic methods to analyse the biography of Alexander the Great, the images of the protago­nist and the narrator, the unreality and the deification of the protagonist. There is a certain typological convergence between bios as a genre and Plutarch’s ancient biographies. This convergence is reflected in the structure of Alexander’s biography, which is built according to a certain model, a plot-scheme pattern, and includes Alexander’s birth, childhood, upbring­ing, adolescence, maturity, his victories, lifetime deification and death. The correlation of the two genre forms helps to reveal and explore the biographic image of Plutarch’s main character as well as his human fate, the aim of life and the freedom of choice. These aspects are reflected in the hagiographic genre. I analyse the similarities and differences of the narrative strategies employed since the narrative (non-diegetic narrator) in the hagiography genre is clearly relat­ed to the non-diegetic “multiple” narrator of Plutarch's biography. I argue that the genre of ancient biography with its topos of private life and its entertaining and instructive functions serves as a nutrient substrate for the formation of the genre of bios.

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Hagiographic genre in the works of Konrad von Wurzburg

Abstract

I analyse three hagiographic poems written by Konrad von Würzburg, a German poet of the XIII century. The poems describe the lives of Saint Alexis, a Man of God, Saint Pantaleon and Pope Sylvester. These saints are worshipped both by the Catholic and the Orthodox churches. Special attention is paid to Konrad von Wurzburg’s concept of ‘genre’, its essential features and the reader’s perception of hagiographic texts. I hold that German medieval writ­ers tended to create spiritual literature in a poetic form. I define the terms, which according to Ger­man tradition, characterize hagiography as a genre in the medieval epoch and compared them with the notion used by Konrad von Würzburg. I examine the peculiarities of the text structure, the functions of the prologue and the epilogue and analyse a number of specific features typical of the plot of the above-mentioned hagiographic poems. Conrad von Würs­burg’s outstanding merit lies in the establishment of hagiographic canons in German litera­ture.

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Lexemes with the stem –БОГ- (GOD) in hagiographic texts of the 15th—17th centuries

Abstract

The article explores lexemes stemming from Rus. бог- (god), which were used in the texts of the XV—XVII centuries. This stem expressed the concept of God and was used as a means of characterization of objects, phenomena, etc. The material of the analysis was taken from the texts of the XV—XVII centuries, which are a valuable source of information for the study of the system of values of Slavs, based on the axiology of Christian dogmas. The aim of this re­search is to identify the specificity of these lexemes, their interconnection as well as their re­latedness to the concept of God. I defined a number of semantic criteria, according to which the studied lexical group forms various paradigms. I argue that there is quantitative hetero­geneity in the use of lexemes with the stem бог- (God) in the XV—XVII centuries. This het­erogeneity was expressed in the dominance of the lexeme analysed over others. The identified lexemes are grouped according to the following semantic features: designation of people relat­ed to God, characteristics of the activity of a specific historical personality, an abstract con­cept, an object or a phenomenon of that time, or a polysemantic word. This large group of lexemes consists of the words characterizing a person, an object or a phenomenon on the basis of the following attributes — 'worthy of God's praise, '(not) worthy of praise', 'possessing Divine wisdom', 'following the path of God', etc. I argue that lexemes with the stem бог- (God) in the texts of the XV-XVII centuries are parts of a broader paradigm of 'conforming to the standards of Christian dogmas, positively assessed vs not corresponding to the standards, negatively assessed”. This assessment forms the basis of the axiology of the Christian doctrine.

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MODERN LITERATURE: N. KONONOV

«Nomen est omen»: the role of names in the novel Parade by Nikolay Kononov

Abstract

The author analyses the role of the main characters’ names — Lev, Lyuda and Arkady — in the novel Parade by N. Kononov. The multilanguage anagrammatic code is chosen as a research technique: anagramming (in some cases with a transition from one language to an­other) allows the author to identify hidden meanings consciously or subconsciously used by the writer. N. Kononov resorts to language game throughout his novel and shows the connec­tion between the name Lev and the semantics of physicality and personality traits. Describing his characters, the writer uses a number of images: the king of all animals, the cowardly lion, etc. The multilanguage anagrammatic code highlights the connection of the name of the pro­ta­gonist with the two key concepts of the novel — love (LEV = LoVE) and death. Similarly, this code works with the names of Lyuda (‘ludus’ as ‘game’ in Latin; Lev playing with Lyuda — ‘homo ludens’). The name Arkady is semantically associated with death in the expression ‘et in Arcadia ego’. The names of the characters in the novel are the key to the understanding of the threefold structure of the text. The short form of the name Arkady (Adya = Ad (Hell) + I) refers to Hell as one of the three parts of the Universe in the Catholic religion, followed in the text by Paradise and Purgatory. The author concludes that the names perform a text-generating function and reveal the encrypted information inherent in the text.

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Alchemic symbols as a means of psychoanalytical description in N. Kononov's story «Source of Injury»

Abstract

The story «The Source of Injury» by Nikolay Kononov is as a psychoanalytic report that has a therapeutic effect for the narrator. The characteristics of the three main characters are con­sidered in terms of their alchemical symbolism. This point of view makes it possible to identify the psychological function of each character as a reflection of a certain aspect of their psyche. Ovechin, whose image is dominated by the solar symbolism, appears as a projection of Ego and of momentary consciousness. Olya, who is associated with the images of the moon and air, appears as a projection of the Anima, which refers to the subconscious. The narrator and his character play the role of the conscious part of the psyche abiding behind the momen­tary consciousness. Although the narrative is evidently about a mental illness, a split person­ality in the state of psychosis, it still structures past events and their analytical understand­ing, leading to their strictly individual perception.

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NEW DISCOURSE PRACTICES

The media image of San Escobar in the space of fictional worlds: a socio-semiotic perspective

Abstract

The article deals with the process of structuring the concept of the fictitious state of San Escobar from the perspective of social semiotics, including the broadly understood context and media environment for constructing the image. The creation of the internet memes was in­spired by a lapsus linguae of the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Witold Waszczykowski. Major changes in the communicative space, the dominance of digital media resources and multimodal messages, the hegemony of visual culture and the increased impact of the social factor on the specifics of linguistic transformations contribute to the growing popularity of social semiotic studies. In the theoretical part of the paper, I give a brief analysis of the evolu­tion of the concept of "context" in linguistics from the perspective of systemic functional gram­mar, cognitivism, social semiotics and multimodal discourse analysis. The analytical part of the article explores the constructed media image of the fictitious state of San Escobar through the prism of the following contexts: situational-medial, cultural-cognitive, linguistic, inten­tional and socio-economic. Summing up the specifics of the formation of meaning in narrative social practices, I draw conclusions about the recontextualization of Mikhail Bakhtin's ideas concerning the polyphonic nature of language and communication.

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CONFERENCES