Fundamental issues of modern Kazakh philology

Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №4 - 2012

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

Alongside with other humanities, modern Kazakh philology is forming new cultural anthropology in the context of the nationwide idea. Responding to the challenges of the new era, the literature of sovereign Kazakhstan is based on the experience and traditions of literature and history of the past. The process of qualitative updating art systems in the last decade of XX - beginning of XXI is mainly owe to the release of a set of regulatory framework. In addition, the nation’s cultural heritage, folk art traditions, stories and images remain a plentiful source of inspiration.

One of the founders of Kazakh folklore studies, S.A. Kaskabassov, was the first to identify and carry out the classificatory and typological research of verbal prose and Kazakh mythology. The works of folklorists of Bashkiria, Tatarstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan confirmed the established laws of historical development of folklore prose from the archaic forms to highly artistic works.

The publication of academic collection of animals’ fairy-tales in Russian, the "Kozy-Korpesh and Bayan Sulu", national lyric epos, unique folklore texts collected by local historians-researchers, XVII-XIX centuries’ works of zhiraus was text work. The book of Kaskabassov "Gold Mine" is a peculiar cultural writing in which the scientific comment helps to value folklore monuments as a “source of intellectual culture”. Pondering on the "international" nature of folklore story leads the philologist to the conclusion about the specifics of Kazakh plot, in particular, "optimistic love concept in Kazakh romance epos" [1, 23].

Folklore, verbal individual poetry, written literature, art of music, poetry of zhiraus, work of Bey-Sheshens, - here is an incomplete list of issues and aspects that determined the development of Kazakh folklore studies. Author's rhetoric in the characteristic of spiritual power of his nation is based on the high authority of the poet, when eloquence has been considered the highest level of art. Analysis of the zhiraus’ works reveals their priestly character and functions of the public service. In addition, the poetry of professional akyns has freed literature from ideology and made its " contribution to democracy”, the poetry “has come into the yurt of ordinary members of the society”, to common folk" [1, 132].

Folklore and myths in Kazakhstan philology are considered to be the most important image and style basis of national literature. The genetic invariance of folklore texts stimulates ceaseless renewal by means of author’s interpretations and metaphorically “folded” idea-formulae. The investigation of the national specificity of Kazakh folklore is parallel to the studies of the Slavic folklore in Kazakhstan, to its collection, systematization and publishing. The folklore and ethnography integration during folklore expeditions contributed invaluable material for scientific observations and conclusions about the modern state of verbal traditions, of Slavic folklore in the multiethnic Kazakhstan, of the influence of transformation processes, of genre “extinction” etc. [A.D. Tsvetkova].

The long-term research of Kazakhstan folklorists touch upon the subjects of interaction between literature and folklore, genrology, intertextuality, the poetry of folklore and myths, individual genre form typology and ritual folklore culture research [T.V. Krivoshchapova, G.I. Vlassova].

Much research is being conducted at the junction of folklore and old Russian, Byzantine and Turkic literature (e.g. scientific observations [E.A. Kostyukhin]). The interest of the Kazakhstan science to the investigation of individual aspects of old Russian literature revived in the second part of the XX century after the publication of the “Old Russian Literature” reading book, in which literary monuments were accompanied by historical and philological commentaries [A.L. Zhovtis].

The appearance of Olzhas Suleimenov’s book “AZ-i-IA” enhanced medieval history study. His marginal post-modernist research is an attempt to dispel the praising and the heroic view on Prince Igor and his Polovtsian March. The issue of “unseen turkisms” in the Old Russian literature monuments and in Slavic grammar as relevant for Kazakhstan philology in the aspect of Turkic-Slavic connections context was continued by the author in his book “Crossing Parallels”.

Kazakhstan medievalists are starting to study the Old Russian literature fundamental monument “The Primary Chronicle” (also, “Tale of Bygone Years”) in the aspect of folklore traditions (A.A. Shaykin, V.E. Khripkov, I.U. Khlyzova). Textual analysis by man depicting brings out the issues of literature integrity and genre-and-register peculiarity.

Abai study takes a special place in Kazakhstan philology. M. Auezov, a national literature classic, became the pioneer in studying Abai akyn heritage. His epic novel “Abai Zholy” (Abai’s Way) is a sort of generalized fiction view of the centuries-old people’s history. The poetic presentation of Abai’s biography, introduced by Auezov, was developed by Z.A. Akhmetov Scientific School. The significance of the national poet who opened all the doors to all the writers of the “Great Steppe", makes the description of the development of Abai as a poet a scientific commentary. The text of Z.A. Akhmetov’s book is a “doubled level” anthropology. In his epic novel “Abai Zholy” M.Auezov recreated the biography of the great akyn not as a real person but as a character made by a lyrical poet: “We can see a “secondary” person, who is recreated and understood by another person” [4, 6].

Akhmetov is identified as interpreter of Auezov’s understanding of Abai’s creative personality. He acts as a reader and a recipient. Fiction “doubled level” anthropology is shown in the attempt of Kazakhstan literature study classic to work his own way up to scientist by reading of Abai’s precepts and Mukhtar Auezov’s spiritual heritage interpretation.

The18th century Russian literature was not thoroughly studied in Kazakhstan as it was very specific and hard-to-get. For the first time in the studies of the late 20thcentury oriental and Central Asia motives were shown in Russian poetry and prose of the period [M.M. Bagizbayeva, K.Sh. Kanafiyeva]. Kazakhstan philologists’ research is devoted to the following issues: making lyric song in poetry more literary- like, typological compatibility and similarity between certain classic and folklore genres, and principles of character representation.

In translation theory adequate/ free translation is seen by Kazakhstan research workers from the point of view of M.L. Gasparov, with the use of statistic methods and techniques of formal and functional thesaurus compiling. Numerous research works of A.L. Zhovtis were devoted to studying specificity of the poetic style, meter patterns of Russian poets and three-century development of Russian poetry [A.L. Zhovtis]. The Kazakhstan scholar doing research in Kazakh language and literature developed theory of the free verse and evolution of verse patterns, stages of verse libre development in Russian poetry, individual peculiarities of style and expressiveness. The works of Karaganda scientific school, published in prestigious Kazakhstan and Russian journals, are dedicated to research of the subject pattern of Russian lyric poems, specifics of the subject and addressee of speech, the author and the personage, the genre, language peculiarities of the verse [T.T. Savchenko].

Research of history of the Russian literature of the classical XIX century is in the focus of Kazakhstan philologists. Works of Russian classical writers are traditionally studied in several aspects: poetic manner and literary style; genre peculiarities; moral and aesthetic ideas of the author and his influence on classical Kazakh writers and development of the Kazakh novel.

In monographs of Kazakhstan scholars the way Kazakh classical writers took much of the genre, making imagery of the text, psychological insight, touching upon moral issues of Russian classical literature is considered. The school focuses much on A.S. Pushkin’s works. Kazakhstan Pushkin studies was developed by N.A. Rayevsky in his works “When paintings will talk” (“Kogda Zagovoryat Portrety”) and “The Portraits Have Talked” (“Portrety Zagovorili”).

Modern scientific works dedicated to A.S. Pushkin touch upon a wide range of issues: from text and cultural interpretation to theoretical studies of folklore and archetype traditions. In studying the atmosphere of Pushkin epoch of special significance is gender aspect in the phenomenon of the lyrical novels of women-writers of 1830-40 [Author, L.I.].

The current dramatic development of history and culture has made description and observation of different forms of an artist’s self-determination the focus of literary studies. A literary work, aimed at the dialogue both with the mass reader and professionals, gets a “double code” of the literary text. A striking change of the genre repertoire takes place because of the author’s position in his dialogue with his literary character and the reader in the form of the direct address to the reader or as an aesthetic experiment model.

Poets and writers speak from literary rostrums acting as memoirists, essayists and publishers; they participate in open debates in periodicals, literary miscellanies and journals. Improvisation, characteristic of the Kazakh people, a special value of “word” is considered to be an ethnic peculiarity of Kazakhstan literature. The founder of Kazakhstan poetry, Abai, whose poems and songs were known to the whole steppe and were transferred like via the Internet from one aul to another, in the end of his life wrote the famous “Book of Words” (“Kniga Slov”)which is often considered to be the greatest of his books. The genre created by Abai is the address of akyn to his people.

Being one of the main lines of contemporary Kazakhstan literature, form-making strategies of literature make a word material, creating a self-identification model of the author’s personality. Responding to this peculiarity of the literary text, philology does “revision” of its scientific tools. Thus, literary anthropology technique developed by the Kazakhstan philologist V.V. Savelyeva has proved to be a universal one.

V.V. Savelyeva’s works in interrelation of the literary world and literary anthropology aroused interest in secondary and higher educational institutions of the Kazakhstan cities of Almaty, Ust-Kamenogorsk, Astana, Taraz, Chimkent, Petropavlovsk, etc.; Russia (Moscow, Orenburg, Chelabinsk, Omsk, Barnaul, Orel, etc.), Poland, Canada. Being an interdisciplinary science, human anthropology (cultural, linguistic, psychological, legal, historical, etc.) is actively used in modern research. However, literary anthropology is not systematically mentioned in textbooks.

The future of further research in this field is based on the necessity of developing general literary anthropology both in art history and theory of literature. In the post-modernism, post- and neo-realism period anthropological research in literature and culture is still relevant and further development of terminology for studying image of a person in art is of great importance.

The new trend in Kazakhstan literary studies is research of poetry and prose within Central Asia literary process.

The methodology is based on continuation of the technique of integral analysis of image semantics, symbols and myth poetic meaning of poetic texts. The systemic and thematic as well as structural studies of nature in the poetic reality have let S.D. Abisheva determine typological similarities not only within Russian poetry, but also between Russian and Kazakh poetry.

Traditionally, novel as a genre is paid particular attention, and both theory and history of the classical Russian novel as well as marginal novels are studied.

Whereas the Russian prose of the first half of the XIX century became classical, the poetry and prose of the second half of the XIX century –the beginning of the XX century requires literary criticism and theoretical and historical research. The narration analysis includes methodology and techniques of psychoanalytical interpretation of the literary text. The chrono-type issues, peculiarities of arrangement of time and space in literary texts give a possibility to reveal some typological aesthetic similarities in the development of the world literary prose.

The latest literature approaches let one determine specific features of postmodernism prose, explain peculiarities of the author’s position representation and the readers’ comprehension problems.

The Kazakh poetry written in the Russian language which appeared in the late XX century and 2000’s is characterized by the genre and style diversity. The research of Kazakhstan philologists is dedicated to typology and imagery of lyrical works, main and subsidiary genres of Russian and Kazakh poetry [Zh.Zh. Tolysbayeva].

The ideas of the theoretical branch of Kazakhstan literary studies school correlate with those of their Russian colleagues. One can consider publishing the “Literature of Kazakhstan Peoples” anthology compiled by M.O. Auyezov Institute of Art and Literature to be a landmark of studying Russian literature in Kazakhstan. In the “Russian Literature” section the historical and literary overview of thematic, genre and stylistic diversity of the literary works written in the XX century is given.

A priority of Kazakhstan philology is research in regional historical and literary process and literary regional studies. In the world the borders of which are constantly changing, mobility is an essential feature of any person’s life. Globalization makes a person think of his attitude to the place where he was born and lives. Consequently, there is an interest of literary studies to studying the “territory” phenomenon, focused on the nature of the literary text, its spatio-temporal characteristics. Literary-regional studies should start with the notion “regionalism” as an outlook cultural value including maintaining and developing lifestyle, culture, language, nature, self-awareness of the region. In the third millennium the maintenance of polycultural dialogue is, probably, the most important of human priority and, simultaneously, an indispensable component of the state policy of our Republic. Kazakhstan, located to live in both Europe and Asia is a country uniting dozens cultures with unique traditions and customs.

In search for new aesthetic paradigm modern Kazakh literature, on the one hand, is striving to continue the dialogue of Eastern and Western cultures, on the other hand, it is trying to maintain its ethnic uniqueness.

Rich mythological imagery, conceptual multidimensionality, deep psychological insight, genre and inter-genre experiments – these and other characteristics are typical of modern literary Kazakh prose.

Literary-aesthetic inventions, good genre and stylistic “findings” enhance work at defining and scientific explanation of the “new paradigm” in history and modern theory and methodology of Kazakh literature and art. According to the well-known philologist A.S. Ismakova, “ it has become evident that one cannot continually include more and more new names, literary works, facts of not only quantitatively but also qualitatively different potential”. In modern Kazakh prose the genre and style modification issues form a very important branch of Kazakhstan philology.

Research of the features of modern literary situation in Kazakhstan is based on the identification, creative comprehension and analysis of the main trends of the modern Kazakh prose, the most productive prose genres, the style of the most striking of them, the study of interrelation of tradition and innovation, etc. Anuar Alimzhanov, Rollan Seyssenbaev, Kanat Kabrakhmanov, Auyezhan Kodar, Dyusenbek Nakipov, Hassen Adibaev, Aslan Zhaksylykov and other writers think and write professionally in the Kazakh and Russian languages. Theirs books represent Kazakh literature of independence (1991-2010) in which there is a variety of ideas and themes, search of original compositional, genre and stylistic, ideological and thematic decisions related to the world and global order problems.

Modern literature is well represented in Kazakhstan publishing projects of Bakhytzhan Kanapyanov (Director of the "Zhibek Zholy" Kazakhstan Publishing House), Roland Seyssenbaev (President of the International Abay House in London). A sort of literary rostrum are Kazakhstan literary and art periodicals "Prostor," "Niva", "Apollinariy", published by the Musaget Social Fund for the culture and humanities development, "Tamyr" (Auezhan Kodar’s project), "Amanat" (Abay International House), and also the popular Kazakhstan magazine "Knigolub" with book reviews in which literary events of Kazakhstan and international book markets are covered.

The literature of Kazakhstan is developing rapidly, and this is reflected in the production of high-quality books. The dialogue at the round table on the copyright issues in literature and art is evidence of some progress in the literary sphere; contests of playwrights, poets and writers held by the Soros-Kazakhstan Foundation, master classes for young writers arranged by the Musaget Social Fund and creative meetings also improve the situation in the sphere of literature. Increasingly, foreign publishers are increasingly interested in signing author’s contracts with the most talented local writers. Kazakhstan sponsors organized the annual Tarlan literary award.

University science, focused on the specificity of higher education and student audience, does research of the comparative studies process. This study analyzes interdependence, interrelation and mutual contribution of Russian and Kazakh literature. Kazakhstan experts in literature keep continuity in the study of Russian literature. Scientific conferences are dedicated to issues of studying individual writer’s work and Russian literature in the context of world literary process, Kazakh literature and literature of the East, Eurasian contribution to the world historic and literary process. And the study of Russian literature as an individual macrocosm units polylingual continuum of sovereign Kazakhstan and promotes humanistic priorities and the development of modern scientific conception.

Globalization is dangerous as it can destroy the uniqueness of the world cultures.

However, the world historic process has opposite but equally strong tendencies: on the on hand, to maintain intercultural contacts; on the other hand, to preserve ethnic cultures which diminishes the risk of losing ethnic uniqueness and cultural identity.

The current increase of the scientific interest to specific ethnic factors predetermined development of such sciences as ethno-psychology, ethnolinguistics, ethno-culturology, ethno-musicology. The comparative analysis of typological similarities in different literatures enables us to define tendencies of ethnic poetry peculiarities, their specific “accent”. The “ethno-poetics” notion comprises this system of such dominant features of some ethnic poetics.

The conducted analytical review enables Author to make some preliminary conclusions as to the main aspects of modern Kazakhstan philology. Owing to bilingualism of the majority of Kazakhstan authors the development of multiculturalism of modern Kazakhstan literature helps meet challenges of the time: ethnic images reflecting ethnic self-determination in the light of universal values in the changed world.


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Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №4 - 2012

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