Grammatical Representation of Motive of Meditative and Contemplative Loneliness (a Case Study of the Russian-Language Poetry of the XIXth XXIst Centuries)

 © The Editorial Council and Editorial Board of Linguistic Studies

Linguistic Studies
Volume 34, 2017, pp.  138-142

Grammatical Representation of Motive of Meditative and Contemplative Loneliness (a Case Study of the Russian-Language Poetry of the XIXth XXIst Centuries)

Samsonenko Nataliia

Article first published online: December 20, 2017 


Additional information

 Author Information: 

Samsonenko Nataliia, post-graduate student of Slavonic Languages Department of H. S. Skovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University (spec. 10.02.02. – the Russian language). Correspondence: samsonenko.nataliia@gmail.com

Citation: 
Samsonenko, N. Grammatical Representation of Motive of Meditative and Contemplative Loneliness (a Case Study of the Russian-Language Poetry of the XIXth XXIst Centuries) [Text] // Linhvistychni Studiyi / Linguistic Studies : collection of scientific papers / Donetsk National University; Ed. by Anatoliy Zahnitko. Vinnytsia : Vasyl' Stus DonNU, 2017. Vol. 34. Pp. 138-142. ISBN 966-7277-88-7

Publication History:

Volume first published online: December 20, 2017
Article received: September 24, 2017, accepted: November 30, 2017 and first published online: December 20, 2017

Annotation.

У статті розглядаються можливості граматичного подання мотиву медитативної та споглядальної самотності як особливого типу позитивної самотності в російськомовних поетичних текстах. Стверджується, що в поетичному тексті морфологічна домінанта однини сприяє актуалізації значення відокремленості, зосередженості, відчуженості, спокою.

Keywords: meditative loneliness, contemplative loneliness, text with singular dominant, morphological dominant, poetic text.



Abstract.

GRAMMATICAL REPRESENTATION OF MOTIVE OF MEDITATIVE AND CONTEMPLATIVE LONELINESS (a case study of the Russian-language poetry of the XIXth‑XXIst centuries)

Nataliia Samsonenko

Slavonic Languages Department, H. S. Skovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University, Kharkiv, Ukraine

Abstract

Background: The problem of connection between the grammatical level of a literary work with its thematic compositional structure has been under consideration in numerous linguopoetic research papers. However, some features of the correlation of the grammatical categories and morphological forms with the composition-thematic structure of the piece of poetry still remain insufficiently studied. The analysis of poetic texts with the predominance of the same type morphological forms forming a morphological dominant is an advanced aspect of modern linguopoetics.

Purpose: The purpose of the paper is to describe the features of the composition-thematic structure of the poetic texts, organised according to the principle of the selection of the singular grammemes, which leads to the formation of a singular morphological dominant, that actualises the motive of the meditative and contemplative loneliness.

Results: Condensation of the same type morphological forms in the poem is the basis of the author's selection, leading to the formation of morphological dominants of different types. Russian-language poetic texts with singular morphological dominant are often related to the expression of the motive of loneliness. The singular morphological dominant contributes to the actualization of the motive of meditative and contemplative loneliness and to the expression of a special psychological state of solitude, inner concentration, detachment. Meditative and contemplative loneliness is a special type of “positive” lyrical loneliness, that is not associated with negative emotions.

Discussion: There are many texts organised according to the principle of the selection of the singular grammemes in the Russian-language poetry of XIXth‑XXIst centuries. The main part of these texts is related to the expression of the motive of loneliness. The grammatical characteristic of the dominant morphological form is associated with the conveying of a particular poetic meaning. The list of motives connected with the selection by the category of number is not comprehensive and can be continued. The prospect of the further research implies the study of the correlation of the singular morphological dominant with other motives that express the state of loneliness as a case of study of a wide material of poetry, a separate literary period, a poetic school or an individual style.

Key words: meditative loneliness, contemplative loneliness, text with singular dominant, morphological dominant, poetic text.

Vitae:

Nataliia Samsonenko is a post-graduate student of Slavonic Languages Department of H. S. Skovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University (spec. 10.02.02. – the Russian language). Her areas of research interests comprise poetic grammar and linguopoetics.

E-mail (correspondence): samsonenko.nataliia@gmail.com.


Article.

Наталія Самсоненко

УДК 811.161.1

GRAMMATICAL REPRESENTATION OF MOTIVE OF MEDITATIVE AND CONTEMPLATIVE LONELINESS (a case study of the Russian-language poetry of the XIXth XXIst centuries)

 

У статті розглядаються можливості граматичного подання мотиву медитативної та споглядальної самотності як особливого типу позитивної самотності в російськомовних поетичних текстах. Стверджується, що в поетичному тексті морфологічна домінанта однини сприяє актуалізації значення відокремленості, зосередженості, відчуженості, спокою.

Ключові слова: медитативна самотність, споглядальна самотність, сингулятивний текст, морфологічна домінанта, поетичний текст.

 

The problem of relation between the grammatical level of a literary work with its thematic compositional structure has been under consideration in many modern linguopoetic research papers. The role of grammatical means of the poetic text in the creation of a general conceptual idea of the poem has been examined in scientific works of Ya. Gin, I. Ionova, I. Kovtunova, Ye. Krasil’nikova, Yu. Lotman, N. Nikolina, O. Revzina, O. Severskaya, Ye. Skorobogatova, V. Vinogradov, R. Yakobson and other scholars. However, the peculiarities of grammatical selection of morphological forms in the representation of the motive of a piece of poetry still remains an insufficiently studied aspect of modern linguopoetics. Some aspects of this problem have been described in the works of Ye. Skorobogatova (Skorobogatova, “Grammaticheskiye Znacheniya” 391–421; Skorobogatova, “Chuzhoy Mir”). Concentration of homogeneous morphological forms within the text space leads to the formation of a morphological dominant, by which, following Ye. Skorobogatova, we mean “the predominant morphological form in the text and / or the grammatical meaning created by the juxtaposition of forms, which are frequent in this text being related to its content” (Skorobogatova, “Dominanta Chisla, Roda i Padezha” 383). Thus, our attention is focused on poetic texts with a singular morphological dominant, by which we mean a poem or a fragment of it with an absolute predominance of the singular grammemes. In some cases, several plural grammemes can be traced.

Notwithstanding the vast covering of morphological dominant and singularity as specific phenomena in modern linguistics some aspects of their functioning in poetic text still remain unstudied. In particular, the aspect of correlation between predominant singular grammemes and the motives they are connected with.

Singularity in poetic texts is often associated with the expression of the motive of loneliness (Skorobogatova, “Poetychnyy Potentsial” 322), which varies not only in the diversity of representation and evaluation in the works of different poets, but also in the work of the same author. L. Ginzburg, enumerating the main themes of lyrics, regards the theme of loneliness as an existential one in the sense that “it concerns the fundamental aspects of human being” (Ginzburg 153). The theme of loneliness, widely represented in lyric texts, expresses the diversity of relations between the human personality and the world. Ye. Skorobogatova, analysing the poetic-morphological motives in the language of Russian poetry, singles out love affair loneliness, existential loneliness, the loneliness of the poet rising above the crowd, etc. (Skorobogatova, “Grammaticheskiye Znacheniya” 408). This list is not complete and can be enlarged. Texts with a motive of loneliness in some cases are grammatically organised according to the principle of purposeful author’s selection of singular grammemes to express specific author’s intentions and poetic meanings.

The purpose of this article is to analyse the features of the composition-thematic structure of the poetic texts with a singular morphological dominant, which actualises the motive of the meditative and contemplative loneliness. We consider the latter as a phenomenon of “positive” loneliness, namely, as attempts to solitude, opposing to “negative” one which arises from the absence of close people or occurs as a result of some social isolation.

Meditative loneliness in texts with a singular morphological dominant is characterised by depicting a character presented as withdrawing into interior and gradually detaching from the external world in his solitude. This subgroup of texts with a singular dominant is associated with a description of the state of “inner concentration, self-contemplation, requiring detachment from the outer world and concentrating on an object to achieve spiritual enlightenment” (Meditatsiya 528). In our opinion, an important feature of this group of poems is the description of the sound and olfactory sensations, or their predominance over the visual ones.

Let us consider, as an example, a small poem by Diana Arbenina with singular grammemes:

вечер. яблоко упало

в пятницком саду

запах пряный шум дороги

никого не жду

(Arbenina, “plevok” 196)

The poem conveys the sensations of the space and time parameters being described in it: вечер. яблоко упало / в пятницком саду. Visually-auditory perceptions (яблоко упало) are replaced by olfactory (запах пряный) and directly auditory (шум дороги). Isolation and solitude are expressed in the last line: никого не жду.

The poem “Glyadya na ogon’ ili dremlya...” by G. Ivanov (Ivanov 52) is a vivid example of meditative loneliness representation in the text with a continuous singular dominant. The depicted drowse or half-reality (Глядя на огонь или дремля / В опьяненьи полусонном) expresses the withdrawal into interior and detachment at the physiological level: И мутнеющая голова / Опускается в сениже // Так и надо. Голову на грудь. The spatial parameters – staying near the fire (Глядя на огонь…) – contribute to relaxation and detachment from the outside world. A further series of sound sensations renders the movement of consciousness to a far distance, into a global space, which is possible only in a state of sleep: Слышишь, как летит земля / С бесконечным, легким звоном. // Слышишь, как растет трава, / Как джаз-банд гремит в Париже; Под блаженный шорох моря или сада It should be recalled that “the lyric poem being written implicitly assumes that the fixed moment has universal significance, that in this moment, the whole world is concluded, as in a monad” (Levin 468). The first line of the second strophe (Слышишь, как растет трава) conveys the hypersensitive perception or the unreality of what is represented. You can see how the grass grows, but it is difficult or almost impossible to hear how it grows. Perhaps this line shows a fast change of time parameters, i.e. to hear / see how the grass grows, that is possible only in human imagination.

It should be noted that this text with a singular morphological dominant is maximally generalised: it does not contain personal pronouns and impersonal constructions are often used (Так и надо). The second person of the singular, expressed by the recurrent verb of the present tense слышишь, is not in a strong address position and in this poem can denote both the lyric hero and the interlocutor. This feature was traced by B. Uspenskiy: “I and you in the communication process are changing their referents: in relation to the same person, I turns into you, and you – into I” (Uspenskiy 20).

The second group of poetic texts with a singular dominant which we single out includes poems in which “passive perception of the percieved reality without active influence on it” is depicted (Soziertsatiel’nost’ 1230). This type of poetic texts represents the position of an external or detached observer who fixes the contemplated dynamic picture, the moment “here and now”. Such texts with a singular morphological dominant are attributed to texts with the motive of contemplative loneliness.

Contemplative loneliness is presented in the poem “Po parokhodu dozhd’ idet ...” by N. Glazkov (Glazkov 41). The description of the contiguous motion of the rain, the steamer and water is given at the very beginning: По пароходу дождь идет, / На пароходе здорово! / Мне кажется, что пароход / Дождем относит в сторону. // Позатопила рвы вода / И скачет пеной белою... The lyrical hero, expressed by the personal pronoun я, though giving a subjective perception of what he observes, does not affect what is happening and does not interact with what is happening. Moreover, his passive contemplation does not even invite any assumptions or conclusions: А вывод тот, что вывода / Я из воды не делаю...

The case design of the poem also seems to be interesting. Three main observable objects (пароход, дождь и вода) are actualised by the repetition of different case forms: пароход by the dative forms (по пароходу), the prepositional (на пароходе) and the accusative (пароход дождем относит в сторону) cases; дождь – by forms of the nominative (дождь идет) and the instrumental (дождем относит) cases; вода – by forms of the nominative (Позатопила рвы вода) and genitive (вывода / Я из воды не делаю) cases. The word form вывод, which is in the strong position of the poem (the final one) is represented by two case forms – the nominative (А вот и вывод) and the genitive one (вывода <...> не делаю). All the formalised grammemes, localised within a small text space, mark the case-filling completeness (the forms of all six cases). Ye. Skorobogatova mentions that “the completeness of the paradigm, especially the multinomial, actualised in linear or vertical textual explication, in Russian poetic text of the new time ... testifies to the universality, integrity, completeness, relative independence of what is being called or characterised” (Skorobogatova, “Grammaticheskiye Znacheniya” 344). Such case-filling completeness in this poem expresses the harmony of the observed, the lyric hero’s satisfaction and pleasure from what he directly observes.

In the poem “Osen” by A. Gulak (Gulak 82) there is a picture of early autumn, portrayed by a lyrical hero from the position of an outside observer. The text with a continuous singular dominant, depicting one of the moments of the autumn day, conveys a moment of solitude, dissolution in nature. According to M. Epshtein, the unity of poetry and nature is typical of Russian poetry: “poetry tends to come up with, to approach the primary sounds in which the lower life animates itself – and this does not degrade the dignity of poetry, but, on the contrary, equates it with the phenomena of nature, gives the word that very necessity and irreplaceability, which falling leaves or drops possess” (Epshtein 17).

The visual imagery series manifested by singular grammemes reveals a gradual expansion of space: лист – дерево – долина – вода – лес. Despite the fact that only grammemes of the singular are used, the represented space seems to be rather extensive. The depiction is focused on the description of a separate detail (Лист за листом в саду слетает) as well as on description of a particular detail as a unit of multitude (Под каждым деревом сияет). The poem is filled with light tones: сияет, под лампой, желтый круг, жемчужно-серым покрывалом, щемяще-светел. This piece of poetry shows a positive, luminous loneliness, leading to reflections about the inevitability of seasons change and enjoyment of the contemplated picture. This type of loneliness is described in the work of the American poet and philosopher G. Walden “WALDEN; or, Life in the Woods” (Walden). The author depicts the loneliness of a person spending time in the solitude of nature as positive: “There can be no very black melancholy to him who lives in the midst of Nature and has his senses still” (Walden 427).

The picture of contemplative loneliness, actualized by a continuous singular dominant, can be observed in the poem “Zakat v polneba zanesen ...” by G. Ivanov:

Закат в полнеба занесен,

Уходит в пурпур и виссон

Лазурно-кружевная Ницца

 

Леноре снится страшный сон –

Леноре ничего не снится…

(IvanovZakat v polneba zanesen ...” 194)

The first strophe represents the temporal focus – evening time before the sunset, and spatial localisation: Лазурно-кружевная Ницца. In the second strophe the transference of the temporal focus into night (снится страшный сон) is associated with a change in the object image: НиццаЛенора. Poetonym Ленора, referring us to the same romantic ballad by G. Burger, is a symbol of “women’s unhappy love” (Kuvshinova 56). Lenora, who is a symbol of female loneliness and devotion to her beloved in a poetic text, is portrayed as a changing image: from a woman who has a nightmare about her beloved that invites her to the world of the dead (Леноре снится страшный сон), up to the image of complete appeasement (Леноре ничего не снится). This method, when both the situation itself and its negation take place, is called the technique of “duplication – doubling of the poetic situation” (Severskaya 178). As a result, one and the same “is described from different points of view, but in terms that correlate in meaning” (Severskaya 179).

The motive of contemplative loneliness can be associated not only with the depiction of naturalistic landscapes, but also with a description of urban scenes. As, for example, in the poem “Ulitsa (Zheneva)” by N. Ogarev (Ogarev 356–357). The singular dominant in this poem is not continuous there are several plural grammemes. The poem begins with a description of the repeated sound sensations, making the lyrical hero bored: Детский визг и лай собачий, / Стук колес и болтовня, / Говор праздности бродячей / День преследуют меня. The vain search for escape and comfort in the road, a long journey, makes the lyric hero concentrate his gaze and find a moment of peace in the blue vast of the sky: В небо я гляжу пустое, / Но не вижу, где сыскать – / Кто бы помощь мог послать / В утешительном покое, / И бесплодно тонет взор / В голубой небес простор. Contemplation of the sky is changed by a repetitive routine of the travel: Не минует мир ночлега / Дребезжащая телега, / Дребезжащий разговор. In this case, the spatial plan of the travel attributes is limited to a road cart and is presented by repetitive, intrusive, monotonous sounds (визг, лай, стук, говор, болтовня, телега, разговор). This microspace is contrasted with vast space of the sky, where the lyrical hero sees the source of appeasement.

In poetic text, the motive of loneliness has different variants of realisation, but grammatical selection, conscious or subconscious one, is an implicit way of conveying poetic meaning.

The conducted research allows us to deepen the understanding of the interrelation between the morphological structure of a literary work and its composition-thematic structure, and also to find out some features of the interaction of the singular morphological dominant and the composition-thematic structure of the piece of poetry. Poetic texts with a singular morphological dominant in a significant number of cases are associated with the motive of loneliness. We differentiate the subtypes of meditative and contemplative loneliness that are a literary projection of the phenomenon of positive loneliness, which is not associated with negative emotions as a result of the absence of close people or complete social isolation. Meditative loneliness, actualised by grammemes of the singular, conveys a state of concentration on the inner world or on an external physical object in order to escape into a special psychological state of detachment. Contemplative loneliness expresses the state of solitude and peace that a person needs for detaching from what is happening. Meditative and contemplative loneliness types are in most cases associated with the description of objects of nature as a source of strength and inspiration.

The prospect of the future research implies the study of the correlation of the singular morphological dominant with other motives that express the state of loneliness as a case of study of a wide material of poetry, a separate literary period, a poetic school or an individual style.

References. 

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Надійшла до редакції 24 вересня 2017 року.