Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

On the Conflict of Public Opinion: Interpretation of Literary Classics

Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

On the Conflict of Public Opinion: Interpretation of Literary Classics

Article excerpt


Art classics at all times - was a subject of infinite and heated debates. There are all bases to consider that dispute on classical heritage of the past to be an integral part of the heritage. Fully it belongs to the Russian culture and art.

Russian culture, as we know, is logo-centric. It means that its main core is the word which owing to the historical reasons is closely connected with Christian religious tradition. In Russia we always treated the word faithfully and therefore there is nothing surprising that from all arts literature became the expressor of the deep parties of the Russian national consciousness. We will consider also the fact that the Russian literature, at least since the 18th century, combined multiple diverse functions, subordinating actual tasks of the current public life to artistry. In this respect it was a loud-hailer not only of esthetic, but also social and philosophical, political and economic, ethic and legal ideas. It showed a rare example of genre and style versatility. In it interest in an eternal and passing, high ideal and terrestrial forms of its implementation is united.

Today the Russian classical literature endures the difficult period of social reception. Until recently, during the Soviet era, it was object of general reader's attention with all possible expenses among which - quite ideologized, tendentious interpretation of its central plots and pictures took place. On the practical level it led to hidden (latent proceeding) to the conflict when, for example, at literature lessons the capable school student could not express alternative opinion and if he had it and, moreover, articulated it in the creative composition (a popular genre of school literary criticism of those years), it influenced what grade the teacher could give. During a Post-Soviet era locks of political and civil liberty have opened, and have resolutely refused treatments of this sort. In exchange to a single view of literary works there was a poly-variable approach which included some extremes when the text of subjective interpretation was so free in estimates that it obviously distorted classics. Interpretation became prior to required work. From the methodological point of view it was proved by the concept of "death of the author" which was offered by Rolland Bart, the French researcher structuralist. He claimed that the idea of the writer as "sacred carrier of the supreme values" is the myth. The text is created by language as sign system, the author acts as its tool. From here - the significant role in forming meanings of a verbal art ensemble is played by the reader as an element of social environment. Interpretations are as many as there are readers (Bart R, 1989).

The problem, thus, consists in somehow to correlate two reader's strategies, having overcome pernicious extremes and having found optimum model. The situation is complicated by the fact that the Russian literary classics does not exist as a Kant transcendental object. It is indirectly involved in opposition of ideological systems and is used by them as required. One of them, traditionalist, conservative, professes a view according to which the Russian literature - is the keeper of "ground", basic foundations oriented to official orthodox belief. In such respect A.S. Pushkin, despite the freethinking (see the poem "Gavriliada", 1821), - is the religious prophet, the speaker of sacral truth, and it alone. Another, liberal, not traditionalist, approves a priority of free circulation with the past, and A.S. Pushkin for him - is the poet versatile, not becoming isolated in one prepotent line, many-sided.

There are justified questions: how to read classics? whether it is necessary to consider the public and ideological moments in the course of reading? in what degree they are of interpretative value? whether new terms are important for understanding classical literature and art? whether the conflict of ideologies is surmountable in principle? …

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