Научная статья на тему 'Linguistic means with perceptual semantics and their role in formation of key poetic images (based on the works of the Russian, Czech and Spanish Symbolists)'

Linguistic means with perceptual semantics and their role in formation of key poetic images (based on the works of the Russian, Czech and Spanish Symbolists) Текст научной статьи по специальности «Языкознание и литературоведение»

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Аннотация научной статьи по языкознанию и литературоведению, автор научной работы — Kryukova Larisa

Perceptiveness is one of the key representative features of images-symbols in the poetry of European and Russian Symbolists. The inner state of the poet, their feelings and emotions, reflections on the problems of life and image of the world (real or illusory) are verbalised by linguistic means with the semantics of sense perception. Perceptiveness of images allows the author to expressively and emotionally convey the basic idea of the poetic work and reflect their vision of the world. Due to different context accretions, traditional images-symbols acquire individual content within the poetic text.

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Текст научной работы на тему «Linguistic means with perceptual semantics and their role in formation of key poetic images (based on the works of the Russian, Czech and Spanish Symbolists)»

UDC 81*367/37



L.B. Kryukova

Tomsk State University (Tomsk, Russian Federation) E-mail: Larisa@seversk.tomsknet.ru

Abstract. Perceptiveness is one of the key representative features of imagessymbols in the poetry of European and Russian Symbolists. The inner state of the poet, their feelings and emotions, reflections on the problems of life and image of the world (real or illusory) are verbalised by linguistic means with the semantics of sense perception. Perceptiveness of images allows the author to expressively and emotionally convey the basic idea of the poetic work and reflect their vision of the world. Due to different context accretions, traditional images-symbols acquire individual content within the poetic text. Keywords: Perceptiveness; symbolism; visual image; linguistic means of expression; author's world view; poetic text.

Perception is the basis of world cognition, its interpretation and categorisation. Linguistic units with the semantics of perception (from Lat. perception) are represented on different levels of the linguistic system. The complexity and diversity of this phenomenon has led to different approaches to its study. Cognitive linguistics studies perception as the interaction of linguistic and mental structures, and as the expression of various meanings. In semantic research proper linguists are focused on the implementation of a universal model of perception in different types of discourse, as well as on the identification of the national and individual features of its representation. In communicative stylistics perception is treated as a mechanism to regulate the interaction of the author and the addressee, etc. [1].

This paper studies linguistic units with the semantics of perception and their role in the formation of key poetic images in works by Symbolist poets. The stated problem involves integration of various approaches, yet the main research method is the linguistic analysis of the text (lexical and elements of syntactic levels).

Symbolism as an art movement is one of the dominant stages in the development of 20th-century art. The problem of perception becomes central to the Symbolists who followed the thesis by Arthur Schopenhauer, "The world is my representation" [2]. What is important in the artistic work is not the objective reality, but the attitude to it. When verbalised in the work of art, colours and sounds become symbols that characterise certain mental states [3]. Sensuality is regarded as one of the key features of the new poetry. Perceptiveness is the speech and language interpretation of

how a person observes or otherwise cognises the surrounding world [4: 277], which along with metaphoricity is an important constituent of the artistic image [5: 124].

It is the works by the Symbolists that are marked by abundance of synaesthesia (from Greek synasthesis -mixed feelings). For instance, "Na menya ustalym likom / Glyanesh, promolchish. / Zolotoye nebo krikom / Ostro vzrezhet strizh" (A. Bely "Ty") [6]; "V garmonii dali pogaslo be-zumiye. / Pomerkli akkordy vostorzhennykh liniy. / I temnyye zvuki spustilis ugryumo, / I vyplyl napev temno-siniy" (V. Bryusov "Saga") [7]; "I v istome zamiranya / Ikh vershiny v sladkom sne / Slyshat lunnoye si-yanye, / slyshat veter v tishine" (K. Balmont "Lunnyy svet") [8].

Symbolism as a phenomenon of European culture has a common source. So, it is quite natural that individual artistic images demonstrate formal resemblance in the works of such famous Symbolists as Antonio Machado, Otokar Brezina and Vladimir Solovyov. Each poet seeks to fill the traditional image with its own content, i.e. to reflect in poetry both the inner state of his own soul, the attitude to the reality, and his philosophy of life.

Perceptiveness is a key representative feature of images-symbols in the poetry of Spanish, Czech and Russian Symbolists, as indicated by the linguistic means with the semantics of various types of perception (colour, light, sound, tactile) [9, 10]. The paper contains the linguistic analysis of the lexical and syntactic units modelling the author's world view in the poetic texts by A. Mochado, O. Brezina and V. Solovyov. The supporting examples are excerpts from poems by Russian Symbolists A. Blok, V. Bryusov, K. Balmont, A. Bely who were influenced by the philosophical ideas and artistic concepts of the authors under analysis [11]. The focus is on the linguistic means verbalising the images of nature, time, beauty, and way.

The Spanish Symbolist Antonio Machado published a collection of poems "Soledades, galerías y otros poemas" in 1903 [12]. The collection is a typical modernist work of the early 20th century, devoted to lost youth, life dissatisfaction, sadness, dreaming - the feelings that the poet experienced in the given period of his artistic work. The idea of absolute loneliness is expressed through the image of nature in the forever elusive and changing time [9: 387]. For instance, loneliness and death are depicted as a desert and a wizen / broken tree, 'To he visto mi alma en sueños... / Era un desierto llano /y un árbol seco y roto / hacia camino blanco... " (A. Machado "Soledades, galerías y otros poemas"). The word combination an endless desert (desierto llano) is evident of the visual perception, while a wizen broken tree (árbol seco y roto) indicates indirect tactility. The poetic metaphor in both cases is based on perception.

The founder and theoretician of Russian Symbolism Vladimir Solovyov [13] creates the images of a desert and an abyss that evoke the feeling of loneliness, hopelessness and despair. He sees the entire human life as a lifeless desert one has to live in. The poet seeks to find his way to the ascent, "Ne sred zhiteyskoy mertvennoy pustyni, / Ne na rasputye prazdnykh dum i slov / Nayti nam put k utrachennoy svyatyne, / Napast na sled poteryannykh bogov" (V. Solovyov "Ot plameni strastey"). The semantics of perception in the word combination mertvennaya pustynya (deathly desert, i.e. lifeless, with no motion [14]) is not obvious when out of context, though within the whole work it is directly connected with senses, and visual perception in particular (nayti put (to find a way), napast na sled (to track)).

Desert as a symbol of loneliness is represented in the poems by A. Blok [15], "Ty otoshla, i ya v pustyne / K pesku goryachemu prinik. / No slova gordogo otnyne / Ne mozhet vymolvit yazyk" (A. Blok 'Ty otoshla, i ya v pustyne..."). The perceptive component of the traditional image is verbalised by the whole phrase - K pesku goryachemu prinik, where both the predicate and the qualifier are expressed by the lexical units with tactile semantics (priniknyt - to huddle up, nestle against smb./smth [14]).

Otokar Brezina, the Czech Symbolist, shows loneliness though the image of an abyss. His poem "Ruce. Hudba slepcu" [16] conveys the feeling of deep isolation and hopelessness, birth and death, the eternal cycle, "Ohnive propasti zeme, nocni blankyty smrti, / kvetouci v kosmickem mravu hvezdnymi asfodely, / a vsechno, co myslenku hruzou a zavrati jima / a ceho osleple pohledy nevidely" (O. Brezina "Ruce. Hudba slepcu"). The title of the poem "Hudba slepcu" is a synaesthetic combination (visual / auditory senses), while in the body of the poem visual perception (or lack of it) predominates - blinded eyes do not see the abyss of death that reigns by the Universal Law.

Through natural scenery Symbolists describe the inner state of mind and profound emotional experience rather than the outer, real and familiar world which is the space for living. Beauty is one of the basic principles that transform and enlighten the human life on Earth. This image is represented through the description of a garden and park, "I v zelennom sadu u tsaritsy moyey / Roz i liliy krasa rastsvela, / I v prozrachnoy volne serebristyy ruchey / Lovit otblek kudrey i chela" (V. Solovyov "U tsaritsy moyey"); "Gde podstupayet k moryu sad, / Ya znayu grot uyedinennyy: / Tam shepchet dremlyushchiy kaskad, / Tam prud nedvizhim polusonnyy" (V. Bryusov "Gde podstupayet k moryu sad."). In these examples the image is represented through the lexical units with the sematics of visual perception, mostly used as the qualifier: zelenyy (green), prozrachnyy (clear), serebristyy (silver), nedvizhim (motionless).

A similar picture can be found in Brezina's poem, "Zahrady zimní videl jsem, haluze rozkvetlé v kfisfály, / jak práve rozzaté lustry jeste se houpaly, duhami zahrály; / jak ledové palmy na oknech tajemství, mrazivym svetlem ozárené / a jako zahrady kosmu priblízené, rozjiskrené a otevrené" (O. Brezina "Ruce. Prolog"). The predicate is expressed by a basic verb of visual perception to see, with both the subject and the object on the explicit level of the phrase (Zahrady zimní videl jsem). Verbalised light images enhance visual perception: diamonds lit by the ffreezing light.

The Spanish poet also describes the metaphorical reflection on emotional experiences. This reflection takes place in the garden (parque) where poets like crying, "Te he visto, por el parque ceniciento / que los poetas aman / para llorar, como una noble sombra vagar, envuelto en tu levita larga" (A. Machado "A un viejo... "). As the previous poem, this one also verbalises the basic model of the phrase with the visual semantics - Te he visto (I saw you). The words ceniciento (dark) and sombra (shadow) enhance the visual component of the image.

Day and night are represented in the context of images of nature. It is the linguistic means with the semantics of visual perception that describe the transition from day to night, "Vzglyani, kak shir nebes prozrachna i bledna, / Kak tyanutsya luchi v sadu polurazdetom... / O, chto za chudnyy chas mezh sumrakom i svetom, / Chto za svyataya tishina!" (V. Solovyov "Vzglyani, kak shir nebes prozrachna i bledna"); "Bezdonnost sumraka, nerazreshennost sna, / Iz uglya chernogo - rozhdeniye almaza. / Nam pravda kazhdyy raz -sverkhchuvstvenno dana, / Kogda my vstupim v luch svyashchennogo ekstaza" (K. Balmont "Put pravdy"). Bezdonnost sumraka (abysmal gloom) is nothing but a synaesthetic combination (the combination of visual and auditory senses). Linguistically the semantics of perception is represented on the level of phrases as well: contrast of phenomena (attributes) - gloom / light, black coal / diamond, and their juxtaposition - clear and pale.

In Otokar Brezina's works the insight into the spirit of nature is represented through the image of the all-illuminating light. For instance, in the poem "Príroda" the repeated adjective vetsího (bigger) enhances the visual image, "Oblaky setmely západní slunce. A duse má ptala se vetru: /Jsou to oblaky pricházející nebo odcházející?... / Svetlo umírá jenom príchodem jeste vetsího svetla, jeste vetsího, vetsího svetla" (O. Brezina "Príroda"). The word light is simultaneously used in two meanings -daylight and enlightenment [10: 13].

Light and sun are the dominant images in the poem by A. Machado "El viajero". The interrogative structure and obvious metaphoricity demonstrate the complexity and ambiguity of the image created [9], "¿Sonríe el sol de oro / de la tierra de un sueño no encontrada; / y ve su nave hender el mar sonoro, de viento y luz la blanca vela hinchada?"

(A. Machado "El viajero"). The poet inquires whether the golden sun of that undiscovered mysterious land smiles. It is important for him to know if the wanderer sees his boat (his way). The predicates sonríe (smiles) and ve (sees), the attributes oro (golden), sonoro (sounding), blanca (white) contribute to the creation and perception of the key images of the sun (sol) and light (luz).

Way (road) is traditionally perceived as the symbol of search for the sense of human existence. The analysis of the perceptive component of this image shows that the poets use a wide range of linguistic means representing various types of sense perception, as, for instance, in V. Solovyov's poem, "Byl truden dolgiy put. Khot voskhishchala vzory / Poroy prirody divnoy blagodat, / No nepristupnyye krugom sdvigalis gory, / I grud ustala, yedva mogla dyshat" (V. Solovyov "Byl truden gorniy put").

The image of road in A. Machado's poetry is complicated by the image of river. The road along the river (camino en la ribera) means motion and eternal changing, "He vuelto a ver los álamos dorados, / álamos del camino en la ribera / del Duero, entre San Polo y San Saturio: / tras las murallas viejas..." (A. Machado "A vuelto a ver..."). The predicative component is represented by the construction with a basic verb of visual perception vuelto a ver (saw again), and the qualifier - by the adjective dorados (golden) with the semantics of light and colour.

In O. Brezina's poetry the idea of spiritual search is connected with motion and flight, which enhances the metaphorical image of way (view from the above), "Jen neme vedro tvé spravedlnosti sálá jak brázdy jich letu / nad nivami a nad stavenisti a nad cestami, kde bílé kameny svítí / jak reciste ohne a kde jak námesícní plízí se vojska" (O. Brezina "Ruce. Vedra"). There are no basic verbs of visual perception in the phrase, but one of the predicates is expressed by the word svítí (shines) which refers to the group of verbs with the semantics of light manifestation (to shine means "to radiate, glitter, reflect light" [14]). The word combinations bílé kameny (white stones) and reciste ohne (fiery river bed) are used as the object and basis for perception of the image in the poem.

The linguistic analysis of the poetic texts shows that mostly expressed in the Symbolist poetry are linguistic units with the semantics of light and colour (regardless of the language).

For instance, in V. Solovyov's poetry the concept of light is represented by common words that become "contextually loaded" due their specific lexical compatibility. The analysis of artistic images shows that the use of lexical units, such as light, sun, ray, glow, and fire, is associated with God's manifestation and is based on the existing religious and symbolic tradition. The use of words gleam, glitter, azure, gold, and silver represents the Divine and the image of Sophia [17: 52], "Vsya v lazuri segodnya yavilas / Predo mnoyu tsaritsa moya, - / Serdtse sladkim vostorgom zabilos,

/ I v luchakh voskhodyashchego dnya / Tikhim svetom dusha zasvetilas, / A vdali, dogoraya, dymilos / Zloye plamya zemnogo ognya" (V. Solovyov "Vsya v lazuri...").

In the Symbolist poetry words meaning light and colour are an important means of image development and artistic expression. Widely used are the oppositions of light and dark, black and white, day and night (see above).

Light is shown through colour. For instance, V. Solovyov depicts the transition from the light rainbow colours (bely (white), zolotoy (golden), lazurny (azure), zhemchuzhny (pearl)) through the saturated tints (purpurnyy (magenta), alyy (scarlet), goluboy (light blue), siniy (navy blue), izumrudnyy (emerald green)) to the darkest and faded ones (sedoy (grey), cherny (black)). The words bely, zolotoy, lazurny, goluboy are the attributes of the divine world filled with light and spirit. The dark colours are used for the figurative description of the earthly reality [18: 526], "Golos otchizny v volshebnykh rechakh, / V svete lazurnykh ochey, / Otblesk otchizny v efirnykh luchakh, / V zolote chudnykh kudrey" (V. Solovyov "Blizko,


In O. Brezina's poetry Heaven is represented through the traditional image of a light garden. The great saints invisible to ordinary mortals are merciful to human souls from time immemorial, "Pro neviditelnou prítomnost velkych a svatych naseho rodu, / kterí jdou mezi námi v zahradách svetla / a z dálky vsech vekü hovorí k nasim dusím / milostiplní, / sladko je zítil" (O. Brezina "Kolozpev srdcí").

The analysis of the few lexical means with the semantics of perception in the context of the work suggests that the word neviditelnou (invisible) and svetla (light) are contextual synonyms.

The image of a plant that makes its way into the rocks and shadows symbolically reveals the desire of the human thirsting for the distant light (light means enlightenment). White shadow and clear days are the images that in A. Machado's poetry are connected with the hope of the human who is eager to feel and live the holy hour, "Con las órbitas huecas de sus ojos / ha visto cómo pasan / las blancas sombras, en los claros días, / las blancas sombras de las horas santas" (A. Machado "Crece en la plaza en sombra..."). The linguistic units with the semantics of visual perception can be regarded as figurative and expressive means verbalising the basic idea of the poem (the repeated word combination blancas sombras (white shadow) and its juxtaposition within a single phrase with the word combination claros días (clear days).

The poet of loneliness, Otokar Brezina, reflected much on the polarity of his soul. In his works the traditional images-symbols of day and night, light and darkness, desert and green garden form the meaning, but they do not constitute the semantic core of the poem. The perceptive images as a part of Brezina's complex metaphor help the reader to feel and understand the

complex inner world of the poet [10: 16]. The interpenetration of linguistic units and visual, auditory and tactile semantics can be seen in the poem "Jarni noc", "Vsak jejich ruce duchove k hvezdam se rozpjaly, / miliony dusi na zemi a ve vsech svetech objaly / a dlouhy oddech radostnych procitnuti, / svatecni vreni vecneho mesta, / duchovnych kridel sumeni, hra vetru v mystickem oseni, / orchestru neviditelnych zapeni, / zdvihlo se v taktu jejich tajuplneho gesta" (O. Brezina "Jarni noc"). The dynamic character of the images of the joy and mystery of a spring night is expressed by words with tactile semantics: se rozpjaly (to spread), objaly (to embrace), gesta (gesture). The auditory perception is expressed by such words as sum (noise), zpev (singing), takt (tact), vreni (whirl), oddech (exhale). Visual senses are formed by the word neviditelnych (invisible) which indicates the unearthly game of spring mystical intoxication.

The main task of the linguistic analysis of a literary text is "the study of linguistic means of different levels in the literary text from the functionally aesthetic point of view and in terms of their compliance with the author's intent and individual style of writing" [19: 38]. Thus, in the conclusion it is necessary to emphasise the functional load of the linguistic units under study as well as their ability to form the semantics of perception in the text as a whole.

Linguistic units with the semantics of perception, when used in the poetic text, contribute to expressing the main idea of the work. They also help to form the emotional, thematic, plot and compositional levels of the text. The inner world (inner voice, inner ear) is modelled on the basis of outer feelings. The emotional and intellectual spheres are interpreted through the situation of sense perception [20: 190].

In his poetry O. Brezina aggravates the conflict between dreams and reality which is connected with the subjective vision and inner experiences. The ideas expressed in his poetry are polar: charm and depression permeate all poet's works, which is expressed linguistically in contrasting light and darkness, day and night, paradise (garden) and abyss. The composition complexity is based on the overlapping and interpenetrating of perceptive metaphors (including synaesthetic combinations).

In V. Solovyov's poetry the conventional religious and mystical symbols conceal the deep world of feelings and experiences of the poet. The mystical vision of St. Sophia awoke Solovyov's interest in philosophical search, the result of which he sought to convey through poetry. The seemingly simple structure of the metaphor and the abundant perceptive images conceal Solovyov's complex philosophical views. Verbalisation of the main idea is logically represented by lexical and syntactic units with the semantics of light and colour.

For Antonio Machado, poetry is an opportunity to express the dynamics of human development as well as the endless search and motion. He believes that the most important in the poem is the intimate inner

experience of the poet based on the perception of the outer and inner reali-realities rather than form and sound. Machado's poetry is abundant with common images-symbols, linguistically represented by words of sense perception: road, light, source, evening, etc. Due to context accretions the linguistic units under study acquire individual content (for instance, the white colour can reflect both purity and death).

Thus, this linguistic analysis (including elements of linguistic and poetic text analysis) shows that the images-symbols representing the inner state of the poet, his feelings, emotions, reflections on existence are verbalised through predominantly linguistic units with the semantics of perception (mainly visual). The future research is connected with the study of these linguistic units in the stylistic aspect, which will require a more detailed analysis of the perception model appropriate for each of the languages, as well as with the description of the mechanisms of perceptive image formation in various literary movements.


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