Russian literature of East Kazakhstan: an intercultural dialogue

Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №3 - 2011

Author: Abdullina Lutsia, East Kazakhstan State University in honor of S. Amanzholov, Kazakhstan

Russian literature in Kazakhstan reflects the unique historical example of the state: for hundreds of years the people living here have accumulated an enormous socio-political and cultural experience, an aesthetic interpretation of which should be a top priority of our common cultural future. According to N.A. Nazarbayev, "The Kazakhstan's geography itself creates the image of the borderline country, the destiny born to live in two dimensions: Europe and Asia – and framed by dozens of cultures, distinctive traditions and customs" (1, 4). Among the strategic inter-state and inter-ethnic development trends of the twenty-first century the preservation of multicultural dialogue, of course, remains the priority. The Russian language through its best pieces of art is intended to illustrate the unifying ideas of Eurasianism. Eurasianism is primarily a cultural background, geopolitically formed by Russia and Kazakhstan, including the East Kazakhstan region.

East Kazakhstan is a special area of self-contained energy, formed by the ancient and modern marginalia, pristine nature and industrial (close to ecological disaster) development. The situation in the region at the junction of cultures is a place for the origin of the unique artistic and moral experience. The writer feels the connection with this geospace, organically becoming a part of the fiction and acquiring a psychological, mental character.

The main objective of linguists, scientists and teacher-practitioners is understanding literary process of Rudny Altai in its historical, ideological and thematic coordinates. The literary history of our region is rich in examples of the active development of the "Cultural Nest": Ust-Kamenogorsk, marked by the cultural and educational activities of G.D. Grebenshikov, A.M. Volkov, P.P. Bazhov; organization of the literary association "Zveno Altaya" (1921). Following periods can be distinguished: 1960-70s - a time of vigorous flourishing clubs, associations, amateur poets, 1990s - creation of the journals "Vostok" and "Irtysh", literary associations "Fenix", "Gorniy ruchei".

The study of literary life in close connection with the symbolic representation of the territory allocated to the number of cultural priorities of the Republic of Kazakhstan at the turn of the twenty-first century. Text options illustrate the significance of the "marginal" factor in shaping the artistic vision of the author; broaden understanding of the breadth of literary development and the contribution of the author’s fellow writers. Literary and cultural realities of the native land as a model of the art world convey individual vision of the world and allow to build its own, based on the art, world. The world, reflected repeatedly in specific artistic texts, is a unified literary text culture. "Belovodye" as the chronotope of the East Kazakhstan cultural text, in terms of geographical and historical characteristics has a very specific timing, built largely on the basis of the legend.

The first information about Belovodye as the Promised Land with "milk rivers and honey-banks" refers to the reign of Vladimir I Svyatoslavich. The ancient chronicle runs: "«Страна Беловодье не сказка, но явь. В сказаниях народов она зовется всюду по-иному. В дивных обителях пребывают лучезарные, кроткие, смиренные, долготерпеливые, сострадательные, милосердные и прозорливые Великие Мудрецы – Сотрудники Мiра Высшего, в котором Дух Божий живет, как в Храме Своем… Там Царство Духа Чистого, красоты, чудных огней, возвышенных чарующих тайн, радости, света, любви, своего рода покоя и непостижимых величий...» (1).

In the essay of A.G. Luhtanova "Bukhtarma Belovodye" these spatial-temporal characteristics turn into a specific mythical country: «Сверкающим яхонтом и серебром водная гладь реки [Бухтармы] несется из края в край, пересекая горы, укрытые изумрудными коврами лесов, извиваясь, спешит передать привет от двуглавой царицы снегов Белухи седому Иртышу. Ласковая, умиротворяющая, вспыхивающая блестками искр на гребнях волн в разгар лета, в июле, до краев переполненная мутной полой водой в мае, грозная, несущая лавину грязных ноздреватых льдин в ледоход. И не потому ли Беловодье, что в августе, в разгар таяния ледников, вода в Бухтарме становится белой, будто подпустили туда струю молока» (2). The East-Kazakhstan writer-naturalist describes mountains, forests, two-top Belukha mountain, the Irtysh river, and finally, he explains why the waters of Bukhtarma are called “white”.

The country of Belovodye is the land in which every person can live in prosperity and happiness, the sacred land of Zion and the righteous in the East, which is the storage of truth and spiritual knowledge. From the point of view of folklore, the legend of Belovodye belongs to the type of socio-utopian legends of distant lands and secret shelters of faith that unites it with the traditions of the "kingdom of John" in the East, or the City of Kitezh. The Legend of Belovodye takes its place in the global utopia of a happy land among several other legends of the "promised land" like "El Dorado", "Blessed Islands", "Jer-Uyuk", etc. The variety of concepts about the wonderful country explains the existence of a large number of synonyms defining "Belovodye": Promised Land, land of milk and honey, Kitezh-grad, Shambala, Jer-Uyuk, the Kingdom of White Waters, the Forbidden Country, Country of White Waters and High Mountains, Country of Light Spirits, Wonderland, Country of Living Gods, Country of Living Fire.

In his ballad "Chud" E. Kurdakov`s explains the title of the ballad with an epigraph: «Чудь белоглазая в землю ушла…» (Altai belief) whole the text of the ballad contains familiar to the reader name code:

…Нет имени, что б не озвучила Чудь:

Алтай, Светозар, Златогор, Беловодье, –

Андроновской бронзы начало и путь (3, 56).

The Chronotope Belovodye in the art world of Michael Nemtsev, representative of the older generation of poets of the East Kazakhstan province, is filled with “voices and colors of blessed east Kazakhstan land surrounded by whie-blue tops of Rudniy Altai mountains”. To the Legendary Belovodye Nemtsev dedicates his collection of poems "Voices of Belovodye" (1996). The collections contains a cycle of poems of the same name, the jenre of which is defined by the poet as “Voices of Belovodye: Altai menology” («Голоса Беловодья»: Алтайский месяцеслов»):

В обрамлении рассвета,

На предгорьях и низинах,

Растирает краски лета

Осень гибким мастихином.

The famous Russian writer, the author of "literary geography" borderlands of Russia and Asia, G. D. Grebenshchikov (1884-1964), who made a great contribution to the preservation of ethnic culture of the ancient Altai, was among the first researchers who studied the unique culture of the "Old Believers", who lived along the rivers Uba and Bukhtarma. The poetic style of the artist-chronicler is similar to the newsreel authenticity essays writing. In his essay "Altai Russia" Grebenshchikov notes that a beautiful legend about the existence of the rich and the free land – Belovodye – attracted them to faraway Siberia. Rare ethnographic material about the culture and the ethics of the "Old Believers" interlaces with the poetic culture of the people who inhabited our region and formed the ground for East Kazakhstan cultural text.

Synchronous and typological approach to the study of the literary-historical process lets us consider works of G.D. Grebenshchikov, M.I. Chistyakov, A.M. Volkov, P.N. Vassiliev, E.V. Kurdakov and others in the context of spiritual and aesthetic pursuit of their time, determine the scale of creative personality - "classics" of regional literature, their creative initiatives, the significance of "marginal" factor in shaping the artistic vision of the author. Сulturological potential of the "East-Kazakhstan text" is most clearly manifested in the context of history, geography, philosophy, relationships of Russian and Kazakh cultures. Artistic individuality, difference in creative opinion, ideological views of the authors make it possible to trace what was the situation of those years, what were the spiritual and historical conditions under which the regional literature was developed, how a national literary process modified in our region.

The literature of East Kazakhstan as an integral part of a unified literary-historical process reflecting the social reality, and is based on general cultural traditions, creating and storing the aesthetic, spiritual and moral values. The literary heritage of writers and poets of the East Kazakhstan region directly reflects the very literary movement time in the history of plots, built on the vital documents. Features of general literature and the historical movement development on the basis of comparative analysis, encompassing not only artistic contours of the "immediate homeland", but the vast horizons of great literature, have helped to overcome the boundaries of a terminological concept of «regionalism». The unifying internal impulse was the fate of writers and poets, who, as a rule, entered the world of great literature through journalism under the influence of objective laws of creative development. This takes into account the objective nature of existence and literature of the twentieth century, especially of its second half, the protagonist of which is the document.

The Russian literature in Kazakhstan, considered as subject and object of the multicultural dialogue, helps to solve problems of holistic analysis of a literary text as a cultural text, the output of the level of comprehension of key problems of general historical nature.

"Eurasianism" is a dialogue, access to the global cultural space with its own vision of the world as a cultural text. A Eurasian component of poetry is brought in primarily by the particular location of our region between Europe and Asia. The Poetic perception of the geographical space of the native land is perceived by the authors as a symbol that embodies an organic combination of object-sensory and spiritual constituents, of historical past and modern present. The Topic of the East and West, "an epic of Altai" is interpreted as a Eurasian theme of the indissoluble unity of the artistic world of Pavel Nikolayevich Vassilyev. He was born in 1910 in the heart of Eurasia, in Zaissan, located on a large caravan route, and introduced Kazakhstan into the world of big Russian poetry, brought along unique, yet unknown to the Russian poetry colors, smells, sounds of the Great Steppe. His first publication "The Priirtyshsk village", later known as "Where Irtysh is flowing", became geographical and, more broadly – the spiritual guidance of artistic individuality of the poet.

In the E.V. Kurdakov's poems we can sense the dialogue at the level of culture: the great Russian classical poets Tyutchev, Fet, Blok sound organic and self-sufficient. In the world of art the image of the East-Kazakhstan land is represented in a unique interweaving of the real life and the mythic, folkloric elements, the historical fate of the region and the modern city life. The poet repeatedly proclaimed that the true poetry "can not be tied to a certain historical region" primarily because "poetry can only exist in the language" [1, 110]. However, there is no doubt, and all his works demonstrated that the very roots of the East-Kazakhstan cultural text provided a life-giving sap to his unique "metaworld" – the art world of the poet with the geographical "location". In the anthropology of the Kurdakov's text the image of Belovodye acquires features of a mythological space and time, becomes an eternity chronotope: «Как будто мы сами по свету блуждали, /Плутали, кружили в кругу вековом, /И дом свой забытый едва узнаем…» [2, 58]. In the passage from the Kurdakov's ballade "Kara-buran" a lyrical hero gives a poetic description of the miraculous Belovodye:

Там птицы – несметно, не считано зверя,

Там в вечном цветении сказочный лес,

Там старая вера, там истинно верят,

И всем благодать ниспадает с небес…

Belovodye in the context of the Kurdakov's work is perceived as a synonym to faith: «Откроется взорам страна Беловодье, / Куда эти годы нас вера вела…». Finding Belovodye for a man is equal to finding perfection, harmony and balance, getting secret keys to the mysteries of life. Another ballade of E.V. Kurdakov "Chud" is preceded by an epigraph – "Altai belief" - «Чудь белоглазая в землю ушла…». During the development of plot it is clear for the reader that this is another name of Belovodye: «сон Беловодья», «память судьбы», «…Нет имени, что б не озвучила Чудь: / Алтай, Светозар, Златогор, Беловодье, – / Андроновской бронзы начало и путь» [2, 56].

For Sergey Komov, representing a younger generation of poets of Kazakhstan (by the beginning of a professional career rather than by age), the image and the theme are embodied in a specific country, in sometimes deliberately mundane characters and everyday situations. "An aching and overwhelming sense of common roots with his people" forced him to put pen to paper one day. The poet feels an integral part of everything that surrounded him since his childhood and his soul is in everything what appears to the eyes of the poet "raised in Bukhtarma" [3]. Komov sees his homeland as the surrounding "camel-steppe", and at the same time "as a felt mat" and as "a dome of the huge temple". Having learned "hard love to Russia" at his mother's knee, by his own admission, in a lyrical hero's feelings for the motherland the poet inextricably links the two different and at the same time close cultures: Asian and European. "The eternal yearning of an Asian for the sun and bright moonlight" creates whimsical images of "a man, riding a zealous horse", "Batu warrior" - "Nomad from the darkness of centuries", "a song of distant princely warriors" and "calling namaz", "willow song" of Russia and "the smoke of the dry dung".

Вспомню степь, где был я трижды русский…

Ковыли туманные звенят,

Что в России буду я кочевник,

И по нраву – трижды азиат…

(«Прощание с Бико», 1, с 34)

The artistic world of Boris Anikin reveals to the reader mainly an urban version of the native land. [4] "Walking the city at night" shows the unfamiliar poetic image of the city: «В окно гляжу, как в продолженье строк...». In the poetic collection "The Wanderer" (2010), the traditional character (eg, Lermontov's hero-wanderer) and the motif do not interfere with the individual features of a lyrical person. The Anikin's muse, the poet-wanderer, his heart is in the eternal search – "heart is on the road". As a synonym for the "wanderer" the author uses the word "traveler" in which clearly there is the image and the theme of "Road", the way of life of a man, the poet's career. The image of the troubled souls both of a lyrical hero and the author corresponds to the absence of strict chronology in the book. In the preface the author points out the creative period of life, in which the poems were written. The Wanderer by Boris Anikin has a geographic address. This is the place where he can come back and where there always are the Ulba, the Irtysh, "my little town". The poet-urbanist finds a unique lyrical imagery to convey his "territorial" part of consciousness. In the "Ulba" poem poetic meanings sound devoid of pathos: «Но сердцем я всегда с тобой, Ульба, / Моей отчизны скорбная улыбка!» [4, 38].

The regional authors are trying to find a unique lyrical tone that could reflect their inner world. The autobiographical character of the art world in the works of the local artists, reliability, and reliance on real events give rise to trust relationships between the author and the reader. This is also a dialogue with time and space. Appeal of the poets to the biographical prose can naturally be regarded as an awareness of responsibility for the voice that you have. So, E.V. Kurdakov creates a special "metaworld" in which the author initiates a dialogue not only with the reader, but also with himself. Late essays of E.V. Kurdakov's represent serious reflection of the poet about literature, about writing.

In our view, the typological dominants of the East Kazakhstan literary text are the territorial self-awareness, the Eurasian perception of the world and the autobiographical memory.

The analysis of the unique nature of the East Kazakhstan literary text, its natural landscape, historical and anthropological data in the works of the regional poets and writers, the study of the history of the literary associations in the region define the context of the unified field of the world culture. The cultural problems of the end of the second millennium AD are of strategic importance. Cultural immunodeficiency defined the extension of the notion 'text' and clarification of its meaning, including the global need for dialogue. Literature as a universal art form has never wavered from its purpose – to represent the literary text and the art world as a dialogue of cultures and times. The East Kazakhstan literary and wider cultural text, preserving the territorial uniqueness and individuality of the creative writers, reflects the vastness of the text as a unified field of the world culture.

Russian literature of East Kazakhstan as subject and object of the multicultural dialogue contributes to the holistic perception of a literary text as a cultural text, of its general historical nature.


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Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №3 - 2011

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