Russian Classic in Postmodern Coordinate System: Pushkin 's Personality and Creativity in Terz 's Assessment

The article considers features of postmodern representation of personality and creativity of A.S. Pushkin in A. Terz's work «Walks with Pushkin». The authors of the article focuses on aesthetic and philosophical principles of postmodern art, forming a special type of deconstructing letter, in the framework of which the image of A.S. Pushkin, created by the official literature, is subjected to demiphologization and decanonization. The authors focuses on the interpretation of certain aspects of the personality and creativity of A.S. Pushkin, directed by A. Terz to change the perception of the public consciousness of the image of the poet as a superhuman. The analysis of the text «Walks with Pushkin» makes it possible to conclude that the revision of historical and philological material concerning the personality and creativity of A.S. Pushkin is intended not to expose the poet, but to assert the right of the creative personality to independence from any ideological systems.

The emergence and development of postmodernism as a literary direction in post-Stalin Russia was a natural response of the critical part of society to the increasing pressure from the Soviet totalitarian system, which tightly controls not only political life, but also personal, creative, spiritual.

To express a person 's need for freedom from Soviet ideology 's impersonating values, as before, has become a mission of literature because of its ability to influence and transform public consciousness. This purpose is due to the characteristic features of postmodern aesthetics, which do not correspond to the expectations of the ordinary reader, who is used to the canons of Soviet «neoclassicism». It is the attempt to destroy the existing ideological structure that explains the new, postmodern type of writing, which is based on deconstruction, understood as re-structuring any cultural object, that is, the postmodern method is based on the operation of disassembling and assembling a cultural object in a new form. In this way, postmodernists seek to «clear» the object of ideological plaque, show it in a different light, and thus free the reader 's thinking from artificially imposed ideas, images, stories, stereotypes. And since consciousness-strengthening images and ideas are actively broadcast by official culture through engaged literature, postmodernism has turned its destructive potential to Russian classical literature, or rather to its image created by Soviet official science and became the truth in the last instance.

In works of postmodernists of the first wave (A. Terz, A.G. Bitov, V.V. Erofeev). It is possible to find the main features of postmodern poetics, such as «intertextuality, play, theoretical reflection about own writing, exit abroad of literature — in the sphere of theory of literature, aesthetics, cultural studies, textual heterogeneity, the principle of nonsense, the desire to give sense multiplicity, which implies and multiplicity of interpretations, reception of «author's mask, irony, parody, often just in a form of pastiche, dual cod- ing» [1; 160]. Contrary to the external mockery of the literary authorities of the 19th century, postmodernists perceive their activities as a separate stage of the literary process, necessary to return to literature its essence — to be an area of free manifestation of spirit, not a «servant» of one-dimensional ideological system. Therefore, Russian postmodernist writers do not aim to completely downplay the previous culture, their deconstructing letter is aimed only at the official version of this culture in the person of socialist realism, which at the level of art governs the masses, promotes the anti-human ideals of totalitarian power, allowing it to manipulate the consciousness of the multi-million population of the country.

Postmodernists decanonize 19th-century classics, first of all, as an area of vulgar and dogmatic representations deliberately created by Soviet literature for illiberal masses subject to stereotypical perception of the facts of literature history. According to I.S. Skoropanova, «postmodernists rejected the principle of ideological reading, which triumphed in Soviet society, refused to follow the demand of the partyness of literature, strongly prefering it non-involvement, independence of intellectual and artistic search» [1; 79]. Then the figures of great Russian writers, who at the will of official historians of literature play the role of predictors of revolution and socialism, postmodernists are acquired a deliberately reduced, almost cartoon appearance. The rejection of various kinds of seriousness in postmodernism is due to the desire to show that hierarchization leads to inequality in the sphere of ideas, and therefore to the emergence of stereotypes of consciousness, faith in the unity of truth — the foundations of totalitarianism. When creating an alternative to official texts of culture, postmodernists «expand the artistic space of the work by «meta-text», which means all connotations added by the reader to the denotative meaning of words in the text, i.e. «simple textual meaning» [2; 192]. Unlike dogmatic texts of Soviet literature, postmodern text guides the reader to a creative, critical, problematic reading that forms a pluralistic view of things. At the same time, the postmodern author often uses a mask to distance himself as a biographical personality, thus showing that what the hero author said may not be shared by the personality author. Such a split of the post-modern writer is intended to demonstrate that he does not possess the ultimate truth in any question, and therefore the choice is always for the reader.

The inextricable connection of postmodernist creativity with Russian literature of the 19th century is carried out primarily through an appeal to the personality and creativity of A.S. Pushkin, who occupies a central place in the gallery of Russian classics. The poet 's image and works become the main source of literary activity of many writers of postmodern direction. However, in the system of postmodern coordinates this image takes on a slightly different outline, because in this case it is not copied from the already known, but is rethinking in order to turn the poet from a bronze idol, «copper rider», «stone guest» into a living free artist.

One of the most successful attempts of postmodern deconstruction of the image of A.S. Pushkin, certainly belongs to Andrei Sinyavsky, the author of the famous «Walks with Pushkin», published under the pseudonym Abram Terz. The postmodern setting on the subjective assessment and the interpretative freedom of Pushkin 's personality and creativity is evident already in the title, which assumes the treatment of the great poet not as an unquestioned authority in the field of poetry and thought, but as a living, multifaceted personality. By refusing to recount the already known social-realistic truths about the poet, which primitive his real internal content, Terz debunks the lube propaganda image of the poet and tries to reconstruct his true appearance, even if it is perceived as an abuse of genius. As an artist, Terz sees his task in returning qualities such as freedom love, dissent, ease to the poet, as the absence of these character traits is particularly acutely felt under a totalitarian regime. The image of Pushkin, put to the service of the state, turns out to be false in the eyes of Terz, as an unbiased analysis of biographical and literary materials indicates the existence of «another» Pushkin. Terz suggests that «it is easier for us to comprehend Pushkin not from the front entrance, forced by crowns and busts with the expression of irreconcilable nobility on the chel, but with the help of anecdotal charges returned to the poet by the street as if in response and in retaliation for his loud glory» [3; 7].

During the deconstructing research of Terz this updated image of the poet appears, and from the first pages literally shocks with the surprise. Thus, Terts's task consists in comprehension of uniqueness of Pushkin, but not in the proof of its revaluation by contemporaries and descendants. It is absolutely incorrect to perceive «Walks …» of Tertz as the criticism as such position is not inherent to the postmodernist at all. Tertz does not criticize, and prefers «tease, enrage (using along with solid sources of semi-comical and «folk» material), to enrage (familiarity of the attitude towards Pushkin), to dumbfound (singularity of the offered treatments and concepts), to irritate (fragmentariness of statement, the unacademic nature of the used language)». In this sense Terz proves as the successor of that poetic line which was put by Pushkin. «Pushkin did not develop and did not continue, and teased tradition, continually stumbling in the parody and with its help receding from a way, trunk in the history of literature, aside. He went not forward, and sideways. Only afterwards works of school and the opera he was bend upwards and brought to the highway. He selected country lane» [3; 27, 28].

Terz implements the postmodern principle of the game in relation to Pushkin, his heroes and official interpreters of his personality and creativity. The sense of humor, which permeates the whole text of «Walks...» serves as a means of opposing the bureaucracy, the efforts of which Pushkin was turned into a mythical figure of a cultural hero, giving «dark» people the fruits of enlightenment. It contributes to demiphologization and in places almost area language of the author, which is intended to provoke the reader, «revive» channels of his perception. Pushkin in the representation of Terz is «our Charlie Chaplin, the modern ersatz-Parsley, who got dolled up and became adept into the rhyme» [3; 8]. His creative environment, the workshop of his style and method is a bed. It is not unexpected that «such Pushkin» caused an unprecedented scandal in the official literary and ideological Soviet environment [4;104]. This is understandable when in the narrative of the first steps in literature instead of a fateful meeting with Derzhavin the reader faces suchan interpretation: «On skinny erotic legs ran Pushkin into great poetry and made a fright» [3; 13]. Epatage replicas to Pushkin are by no means an end in themselves, they serve the main task of Terz 's work. It is not difficult to prove this, for the completeness of the picture we will give from «Walks...» statements about Pushkin of a different nature, which supporters of the civil trial of Terz somehow do not take into account: «Pushkin for all managed to write everything», managed to give us a whole universe, «caught passes for Russian literature for centuries to come», from Pushkin in literature began progress, «Pushkin — a golden section of Russian literature», he became Russian Vergilius, etc. [3].

When Terz reflects on the qualities of Pushkin's personality, which have a family attitude to the poet at the level of anecdotes, bars, stories, the author-character «Walks...» subjects all these folklore texts of demetaphorization, which allows to translate the conditional into a real biographical plan. As a result Pushkin's image as poet who is formed: 1) refused image of the superman — the demonic personality (an image which was actively cultivated in Pushkin time on the example of Napoleon and Byron), instead of the eminence over the contemptible world chose absolute acceptance of the world («world family»); 2) was able, in general, to get rid of more subtle temptations: in the demonstration of a living face to enjoy the privilege of genius and to attribute to himself-man impassive tricks of the Poet; 3) showed the desire and will to preserve their individuality, think and behave naturally, even knowing that this attracts increased attention, often not always endorsing; 4) enriched the poetry heritage with a huge volume of personal material, without trying to paint his image, as a result of which his appearance became close and understandable even to those who never met Pushkin; 5) gave ordinary life, devoid of event, unprecedented brightness, unusual, eccentricity, exotic, etc. This explains the reaction of the public: genius, but his own (property person), with which you can be «on a friendly foot». The undisputed and unquestioned Pushkin authority puts no pressure on anyone. And from countless anecdotal stories does not pale. And the reason for this lies not only in the poet, but also in the person, claims the author of «Walks » Pushkin's work, according to Abraham Terz, marked not only the birth of Russian literature and its entry into the world arena, but also — most importantly — the emergence in Russia of such a phenomenon as individuality, which as a factor of historical importance received a wide public resonance. Pushkin demonstrated by his example that «man simply» (private person) to be not sick, updated and strengthened the status of the individual in the callous state system.

It is obvious that Pushkin individuality causes great sympathy on the part of the author of «Walks...», although he does not avoid talking at all about such aspects of the poet 's character, about which Pushkinistics preferred to keep silent. As the essayist, free from the principles of scientific character, kind of negligent metaphorical strokes, trying means of the stylistics to show the feeling of ease, freedom, ease, carelessness, impudence, natural intimacy, emotional openness, virtuosity radiated by Pushkin, Abram Terts does a sketch of his dynamic psychological portrait. The writer collects together everything that is scattered throughout many Pushkin works and memories of him and that corresponds to his personal idea of the poet, sets the task of capturing the spirit itself, which radiates the personality of the poet (poetic and human). Avoiding sternness in Pushkin 's image, Terz is still not alien to the reception of incision, humorous sharpening certain features of Pushkin's personality and creativity. After as if a serious entry Abram Terz suddenly turns to a joking, eccentric statement of thoughts, and vice versa: «Before Pushkin there were almost no easy verses. Well, Batyushkov. Well, Zhukovsky. And we stumble. And suddenly, quite unexpectedly, with nothing, with no one comparable reveruses and turns, speed, interference, jumping, ability to garch, gallop, take obstacles, make twine and then pull, then stretch verse. But before dancing like this, Pushkin had to undergo lyceum training — to learn to unravel, to develop flexibility in speeches known to be not serious, to nothing obliging and engaging mainly by the ease of tone, with which there will be a conversation around objects of nothing, devoid» [3; 9].

Of course, it should not be forgotten that «Walks with Pushkin» is not a purely literary study, in them the philological analysis is connected with the inherent artistic prose game beginning. At the same time, «the organizing center of the work appears — and it is underlined at all levels of the structure of the text — the author himself, which inevitably causes the reader to feel the subjectivity of the narrative: the central character appears here at all not as the reader meets in the actual philological works» [5; 55]. The author of «Walks with Pushkin» prefers to strictly follow the chronology about the process of becoming the talent of the poet: the development of the plot is not due to the exact follow-up to the dates of life and creativity, but to the movement of thought leading to the understanding of what pure art is — this is how the Poet 's idea of his (art and poet) high purpose is realized. And therefore poetry — Pushkin! — concerned with «the transfer of the surrounding life into poems» [6; 53], finds «universal silence»: «meticulously served as a garnish to the Pushkin general scale» [6; 55]. Pushkin at A. Sinyavsky truly, so to speak, is vast and eludes from all thecharacteristics given to him by critics and readers: «Conflict with the world, break with morality, with society — and almost sanctity, goodness, lying on people of art, their strange influence, public authority. Pushkin! — after all, it is almost a state decree, the cornerstone of the embracing all mankind family and order — this is Pushkin who told: «Go away — what poet matters to you»? And we are not offended, we all care about him, we recognize his chart over us and the right to judge everything from his bell tower» [6; 118].

In our opinion, Terz's key artistic task was not to present Pushkin as «bad» or «good», as these categories are irrelevant to postmodern art. Terz presents simply «another» Pushkin, from this in «Walks...» there is a feeling of the presence of two authors, Professor Sinyavsky, who recognizes the genius and cultural significance of the poet, and his double-trickster Terz, who points out that this genius stems from no place from where it is used to bringing out official minds. For example, very combatively the author debunks the myth of Pushkin as a thinker and in the meantime he supports this with the real statements of the contemporary: «He did not play, but lived, joking and playing, and when he died, having played too far, Baratynsky, it is said, together with other commissioners broke the papers of the deceased, among which, for example», Copper Horseman, «exclaimed: «Can you imagine what amazes me most about all these poems? An abundance of thoughts! Pushkin is a thinker! Could that have been expected?» (I quote from the speech of I.S. Turgenev at the opening of the monument to Pushkin in Moscow)» [3; 12].

Anyway, Terz's efforts are limited to depriving Pushkin's personality and creativity of such dimensions as politics, nationalism, messianism, social order. Therefore, in contrast to Pushkin-colossus's usual image, Terz portrays him as a singer of ease. «Ease is the first thing we take from his works in the form of the most general and instant feeling. Ease in relation to life was the basis of Pushkin's world view, aspect of personality and biography» [3; 9]. In this ease Terz sees the reason that Pushkin becomes the founder of «pure art», which implies independence from any limiting factors in the form of time and space, politics, social stereotypes, etc. Undoubtedly, in Pushkin's poetry it is possible to find many other, no less, and perhaps more important features, but Sinyavsky focuses his attention on the liberation and emancipation of the poet, speaks of him as a free artist and, more broadly, a free, independent person from the state. Terz and Pushkin, walking through the «garden of Russian speech», oppose the Leninist demand of the party of literature literary game. Terz`s Pushkin — singer of free art, evading the tasks imposed on him by society, dissent, dissident — speaking the language of the XX century [4; 105]. Pushkin Terz's creativity is regarded as pure art and the highest type of artistic creativity: «Pure art is not a doctrine invented by Pushkin to facilitate life, not a sum of views, not a fruit of many years of searches, but born in the chest inadvertently and without purpose, as love, as a religious feeling, not subject to control and coercion — force») [3; 120]. In this sense, it is difficult to say that Terz is trying to give an objective assessment of Pushkin's personality and creativity, as he understands that this is impossible because each new generation applies its optics, forming the image of a poet. What seemed completely objective about the poet yesterday already looks quite arbitrary today. Therefore, Pushkin Terz is sort of a projection of the author of «Walks...», he identifies himself with genius on the principle of commonality of aesthetic settings. After all, not just so Terz chooses Pushkin for his walks, not someone else in whom he does not see a potential ally in the «crusade» against the social order as the main driving force for the development of Russian literature.

The gravity to ease deprives the author's image of Pushkin and the seriousness necessary for the traditional image of the predictor of the forthcoming triumph of social justice and the fighter against imperialism. According to Terz, Pushkin fought only for freedom of art. This was evident in the fact that many of his works are defiantly parody, controversial for his time, although we are used to seeing the poet as the instigator of the tradition of realism. Realism for postmodernists is primarily related to limiting the possibilities of art, to forcing the artist to record reality. So Terz makes a new discovery — Pushkin is not a realist at all, he despises this direction, rather than being his instigator, which is usually proved by «Belkin's tales» and «Eugene Onegin». «His prosaisms, triviality, simplicity to a large extent were built as illegal techniques, hoping to shock the public. Reality appeared, as the devil from the hatch, in the form of a frivolous joke, a daring exception, which confirmed the rule that it is not accepted to talk about it in society» [3; 57].

Separately, Terz talks about the novel «Eugene Onegin» and, of course, does not see it as an «encyclopedia of Russian life». For him in the basis of the work poetry chatter, again free from some literary programs. «Pushkin purposefully wrote a novel about nothing. In «Eugene Onegin», he only thinks how to get away from the duties of the storyteller. The novel is formed of excuses that take our attention to the fields of the poem page and prevent the development of the fabula chosen by the writer» [3; 52].

The whole work of Terz is an apologies of Pushkin — the man who lived the life of a poet (not a statesman, not a prophet, not a historian, etc.). And the culmination of this apologies can be calledTerz s shocking passage about Pushkin`s spiritual emptiness as a guarantee of his openness to the world. Here Terz frees Pushkin from even the measurement of human, comparing him to some divine instrument, to Mozart, who called himself «the pipe of God». «When communicating with everyone, everything is welcome, Pushkin seemed alternately native and alien to everyone», — brings to Terz the formula of Pushkin elusive ability. Here the principle of free art reaches its apogee, as artistic creativity must be deprived of even such dimension as ethics. With the same inspiration and sympathy, the artist can portray both a virtuous and flawed person without getting up on either side. And this is again a postmodern rethinking of the essence of art, because, according to a well-known statement, Russian literature from the initial stages of its development was anything, but not literature. This means that she performed the functions of philosophy, sociology, ethics, history, religion, that is, she was always a «servant» of society, gradually losing her autonomy, self-sufficiency. Therefore, Terz sees Pushkin as the pioneer of poetry as the vast spaces of individual expression.

In the passage about Pushkin's spiritual void, first of all, Terz discovers and glorifies in Pushkin relativistic attitude to the surrounding world. This consistently relativistic concept of perception of Pushkin creativity and leads the author of the book to a completely natural and logically justified conclusion: «Emptiness is Pushkin's content. Without it would not be full, it would not be, as there is no fire without air, inhalation without exhalation. First of all, it ensured the susceptibility of the poet, who obeyed the charm of any whimsy and colour absorbed by the hasty picture...» [3; 42]. And indeed, if we consider that Sinyavsky is right and Pushkin 's attitude to everything around him and really was relativistic (friendly-indifferent absolutely to everyone), it simply makes no sense to talk about any depth of Pushkin 's creativity. «The poet does not live as he writes, but rather as he lives» [3; 85]. Relativistic equalizing of everyone and everything in principle excludes any hierarchy of values, meanings, true and incorrect, true and false, top and a bottom, light and darkness, deep and superficial: «The frivolity was the main, main property of character of Pushkin» [3; 10]. If everything and everything is equalized, it loses any value and meaning content, because the world without hierarchy turns out to be amorphous. It is not surprising that the relativist Pushkin finds himself in this book similar to Khlestakov, who, according to N.V. Gogol, «speaks and acts without any consideration», Similar to Khlestakov Pushkin and becomes for Sinyavsky-Terz the visible embodiment of the relativistic ideal of the artist...

Does Terz condemn the poet? Does he justify him? Neither. Postmodern interpretation involves the return of Pushkin's right to remain in history as his contemporaries knew and as he considered himself. And the modern reader will return the right to read Pushkin works in his own way, without official signs and guides. In this case, there is a chance to get acquainted with «real» Pushkin. Terz, like other Russian postmodernists, was well aware that at first the canonized and subsequently mythologized personality of the writer could have a negative influence on public consciousness. Terz opposes Pushkin's interpreters boasting that they have known the nature of his genius, pasted the right label. Terz with his «Walks...» calls for the return of Pushkin to the right to speak with his voice, and to his contemporaries the right to live with his mind: «Some people believe that you can Pushkin. I don 't know, I didn't try. You can walk with him» [3; 110].

 

References

  1. Skoropanova, I.S. (2001). Russkaia postmodernistskaia literatura [Russian postmodern literature]. (3d ed.). Moscow: Flinta; Nauka [in Russian].
  2. Ilin, I.P. (1996). Rizoma [Rizoma]. Sovremennoie zarubezhnoe literaturovedenie (Strany Zapadnoi Evropy i SShA). Kontseptsii. Shkoly. Terminy — Modern foreign literature (Countries of Western Europe and the USA). Concepts. Schools. Terms. Moscow: Intrada [in Russian].
  3. Terz, A. (2005). Prohulki s Pushkinym [Walks with Pushkin]. Moscow: Hlobulus [in Russian].
  4. Maschenko, A.P. (2012). Dekanonizatsiia obraza A.S. Pushkina v literature pervoi volny russkoho postmodernizma [Decanonization of the image of A.S. Pushkin in the literature of the first wave of Russian postmodernism]. Voprosy russkoi literatury — Issues of Russian literature, 2, 100–110 [in Russian].
  5. Karpov, A.S. (2012). Poetika filolohicheskoho romana А. Siniavskoho (A. Tertsa) [Poetics of the philological novel A. Sinyavsky (A. Terz)]. Vestnik Rossiiskoho universiteta druzhby narodov — Journal of the Russian University of Friendship of Peoples, 4, 54–66 [in Russian].
  6. Sinyavsky, A. (1999). Chtenie v serdtsakh [Reading in Hearts]. (Andrei Sinyavsky. Terz Abram) Puteshestvie na Chernuiu rechku — (Andrei Sinyavsky) Terz Abram. Journey to the Black River. Moscow: Zakharov [in Russian].
Year: 2019
City: Karaganda
Category: Philology