The author and the hero in the prose of M. M. PRISHVIN

The article shows the relationship between the real person and the image of the author in a creation of literature. Especially, it reveals importantly autobiographical literature, where the author and protagonist as close as possible to one another, but in most cases are not identical. While analyzing the poem, it occurs the problem of genre specification and ratio of the author and the hero of «Black Arab». The poem constructed on on the autobiographical basis, it has two narrative plans – the plan of the present (atthis level the narrator acts) and the past (where the narrative is reconstructed on author’s own «I»). It isdistinctly seen the split of the subject. On the one hand, it may imply a certain detachment from the author himself from the present and the past. On the other hand, the autobiographical creation assumes the coincidence of the author and the hero. The author endowed his hero with his own biography, destiny and character. Thus, it was analyzed that the author did not copy the mirror reflection of his personality. It seems that he grasped his biography and did not copy the reality directly, but creatively transforms it. Moreover, in this paper it identifies the most important dominant of the author’s consciousness : monologics, «right-evaluative point of view» (by B. Corman), passeism and phenomenological nature of the narrative.

Introductory notes

The term «author» (lat. «auctor» – a subject of an action, an organizer, a founder, a teacher, and, in particular, a creator of a work) has several meanings in the field of an art criticism. Firstly, it is a creator of art work as a real person with certain destiny, biography and identity. Secondly, it is an image of an author, localized in text, i.ean image a writer, painter, sculptor or director gave himself. And, at last, but not least, it is an art creator present in his creation as whole, immanent to work. An author (in this meaning) in certain The author (in this meaning) in certain way submits and elucidates a reality (life and its occurences), comprehends and estimates it, proving himself as the subject of art activity. Author’s subjectivity builds up a work, and moreover, it creates its artistic integrity. It is an integral, universal, most important side of an art (along with aesthetic and cognitive principles). The «spirit of authorship » is not simply present, but dominates over any forms of art activity whether a work has its personal creator, in case of collective work or when the author is named or his name is concealed (�aliziev,2008:54).


Сorrelation between «biographic» identity of author-creator and author’s image was a topical question throughout XX century. There were various points of view both allowing combination of these concepts (especially within the frame of the biographic approach) and vigorously denying it. Decrease of interest paid to the author and, respectively, an estrangement from biographic interpretation of his image was outlined in works of formalists. Thus, B.M. Eikhenbaum, with a thrust at the school of literary criticism, strictly divided concepts of the «biographic» person and an image of the author. It originates from the statement, that «no single phrase of a work could be itself a simple «reflection» of the author’s personal feelings, but is always a construction and game, we cannot and we have no right to see in a fragment something another, except the certain artistic approach. For science it is wrong to identify any separate judgement with a psychological content of the author’s soul. In this sense, a soul of the artist as the person experiencing different moods always remains and should remain outside of his work. The artistic work is always something made, designed, created – not only subtle, but also simulated, there is no place for reflection of soul empirics» (Eykhenbaum, 1969: 321). Correlation between author-protagonist categories is a core question in M. Bakhtin and L. Ginzburg’s discussions. In Bakhtin’s opinion, the protagonist never coincides with the author-creator, «otherwise the artistic work couldn’t be created» (Bahtin, 1986: 80). The scientist writes, that «the theoretical agreement of the author and the protagonist is out of the question. Of course, there are few cases of concurrence between the author and the protagonist when the writer puts own ideas in the character’s mouth, but according to Bakhtin, it is aesthetically unproductive. In those cases when protagonist is autobiographical it can «take control of the author»: the author looks at the world with the eyes of the protagonist; protagonist for the author is a valuable foothold. But also what can happens is «the author takes control of the protagonist, brings within some finishing points (Bahtin, 1986: 93). And sometimes the protagonist appears as self-sufficient, «self-satisfied» and is separated from the author, moreover – he is «his own author» (Bahtin, 1986: 101). Bakhtin asserts, that more similarity of the author with the protagonist – less work is artistic, as only actions of another person can be artly intelligent. Being within, it is impossible to create the complete, objective picture of the actions in theoretical agreement of the author and the protagonist». The principle of «being outside» should not be broken, the author should take a boundary position in relation to work created. If he will cross this border – aesthetic stability of the world created by him will be destroyed. «The author cannot and should not be defined as a person» (Bahtin, 1986: 263), he is only «a set of creative principles », directing and defining aesthetic activity of the reader.

In «On lyrics» (1964), L. Ginzburg writes about different forms of presence of the author in the text. In prose more often the author is hidden, means he doesn’t coincide with the story-teller, his assessments, «his attitude the reader perceives continuously, but in different form» (Ginzburg, 1997: 9). In lyrical prose or the poetic epos the figure of the author is revealed, and in lyrics the author acts not only as the subject, but also as an object of the image. At the same time the author’s consciousness may be hidden under various masks, characters, codifying «the lyrical person so that it can appear through» (Ginzburg, 1997: 10). The most indicative cases in the Russian literature where through the poetic text with the perfect evidence appears the author’s identity are the lyrics of Lermontov, Blok and Mayakovsky. And the image of the lyrical protagonist can be based on the actual facts of the biography of the poet.


In modern literary criticism the matter of correlation between the author and the protagonist continues to be studied. This question takes a part in the research made by N. Nikolina, «Poetics of Russian autobiographical prose». Speaking about the maximal congeniality of the author and the protagonist as a prominent feature of autobiographical works, she pays attention to the linguostylistic aspect of the given question. Nikolina emphasizes, that «an image of the story teller … it is not simple one of the speech masks of the author, but also his direct selfexpression as the certain language person possessing the specific biography» (Nikolina, 2002:112). The analysis of the author’s image is connected to the analysis of speech. Self-objectifying in the text, the subject is biassed to subject matter of the image and inclined to its idealization. It is coordinated with

L. Ginzburg’s thesis, that the author of «memoir and autobiographical works is always some kind of the positive protagonist» (Ginzburg, 1971: 210). The storyteller, by interpreting own self, acts both as the subject and as object of the description. In our opinion, adequate understanding of structure and internal principles of an artistic work is impossible without the reference to a problem of an image of the author. It is especially important in the autobiographical literature where the author and the protagonist are at the closest to each other, but in the majority of cases are not identical. Proper understanding of the author position concerning the protagonist helps to come closer to the true sense of the text.

The problem between genre specification and correlation between the author and the protagonist sharply arises at the analysis of a poem of M. Prishvin «the Black arab» (Prishvin, 1982). Every genre form both of an artistic and documentary works is based on a thematic content, style and composite construction. The core of an autobiographical genres – formation of concept of the person about itself, dynamics of its progress. Research of an image of the author in the literature is one of priority problems. According to N. Nikolina, «subject matter of the image in autobiographical prose eventually becomes not the past itself, but the «past» » in accordance with development of an inner world of the author» (Nikolina, 2002: 10). The center of autobiographical work is the author’s «I» and his attitude to the world. Structure of an image of the author maybe various. According to a genre specification in texts with the predominating documentary beginning there are two narrative plans – the plan of the present (level of the storyteller, the author of the text) and the past (an «I» image reconstructed by author’s own memory). Thus, there is a split of the subject. On the one hand, it may imply a certain detachment from the author himself from the present and the past. On the other hand, the autobiographical creation assumes the coincidence of the author and the protagonist. The author is omniscient, informed about all described events. �e is subjective, approves fairness of assessments stated; his target is a confession, authenticity of everything narrated. The author endows protagonist with his biography, destiny, personality. Nevertheless these two figures are not always identical, though many structural features of work create coincidence visibility, including first-person narrative, external similarity, coincidence of their names. But rather will be said that in autobiographical protagonist the author does not reflect, and rather comprehends his biography, does not directly copy the reality directly, but creatively transforms it. This statement is to full extent applicable to the poem «the Black Arab».

The subject matter of the poem is a travel across Kazakhstan. In this wonderful story the protagonist has appeared as the enigmatic black arab somewhere in steppes going from Mecca, while the rumor about his movement is carried on many kilometers around. There is a two-scheduled structure of a narration in this poem: the basic subject line which reflects time of travel, interrupted by inserts addressing to mythological and bible plots of a youth. The opposition on which the ideological plan is based, – harmony in two understandings and replacement of one understanding by another – is connected with spiritual evolution of the protagonist. Instead of the traditional for autobiographical genres narrative form, which is first-person narrative, the author chooses the form of a narrative from the third party, detaching himself from the image. Nevertheless we can approve, that in this case protagonist expresses author’s consciousness. Their vital and philosophical positions coincide. During the analysis of the work the major dominants of author’s consciousness have been revealed.

Monologics, which means an orientation of a narration on a private world of the author-protagonist, on reconstruction of movement of its self-consciousness. The narration in the novel is full of an auto reflection that is usual for any autobiographical genre. Recreating his own biography, the writer compares and overestimates the facts of the life, spiritual evolution of the protagonist is traced. The author and the protagonist here are almost identical, are in one valuable system of coordinates, their ethical positions coincide.

«Right-evaluative point of view» (by B. Кorman) (Korman, 1992). The attitude of the storyteller to described events is biassed. The subject of consciousness states direct judgements and assessments. The text is exaggeratedly emotional, which gives a sense of participation of the author in de-

scribed events. The poem is characterized by the deep analysis of philosophical relations between the man and the nature, not only concerning knowledge of the protagonist, but also a definition of the attitude of the author towards the phenomenal world.

Passeism. The past acts as the self-valuable category, more valuable than the present. There are images of many real people the writer was in relationship with. But the material of life providing a base for narration, is anyhow advanced and transformed by the author in connection with his principles. Some of the facts are intentionally shaded. It explains unwillingness of the writer to open the certain pages of the biography, which it seen differently with time passing.

The motive of wanderings is in line with the motive of memoirs, where archetypical return to origins is detected. Memory allows the person not to feel burried within the limits of his existence. The most vivid example – a situation with the protagonist who is named «the Black Arab» in the poem. The story-teller more and more tends to mystification, almost clownery, but actually behind this name the writer is hidden.


The phenomenological nature of a narration. A subject and an object of narration are the one, and a life in work appears as a fragmentary stream of occurences and conditions. Characters do not aspire to re-create the reality; they obey their destiny, moving with the stream of life. Due to it the poem becomes more lyrical. Later Prishvin has characterized the work this way: «It is clearly poetic thing, it can serve the brightest transformation of a sketch into a poem as a self-willed pressure of a poetic material» (Varlamov, 2003: 131). Echoes of the childhood, love experience, memoirs on days of imprisonment are accompanied by the reference to the Bible images of Abraham, Eve, the Promised Land. This form veneers narration with visibility of objectivity, relevancy, brings to the forefront author’s words. This approach allows to keep a distance among the author and image of himself, allows him to be released from subjectivity and include represented events into the objective world of history, endowing a narration with super personal character.

So, existence of different sights at a problem of a correlation of the author and the protagonist shows possible variety of interpretations of relationships between these two categories. The multidimensional analysis of a literary work allows to define a degree of distance of the author from the protagonist, which is especially important in discussion on work with the predominating autobiographical origin. �ere borders between an artistic and documentary realityare often blurred. According to the reasons concerning M. Prishvin’s poem «the Black arab» mentioned above, the conclusion is that it is possible to consider the given work such where the author «reincarnates» in to the protagonist. �e acts in the text not as the observer, but as the acting and experiencing subject.



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Magazine: KazNU BULLETIN
Year: 2018
City: Almaty
Category: Philology