The article focuses on the research of the creative reception of explicit Shakeaspearean allusions in B. Pasternak’s poetry. The authors analyze and group Shakespearean codes and literary devices, and focus on the way they are actualized in Shakespearean allusions in the poetic works of B. Pasternak. In doing so they introduce the concept of the idea-marker. In the article the authors consistently prove their hypothesis that the idea-marker of the creative perception of explicit Shakeaspearean allusions in B. Pasternak’s poetry lies in the duality of the dramaturgical imagery used in the poems. The authors believe that the keynotes of Shakespearean codes are seen and realized in the twin-like images of the narrator: Hamlet and a tragedian from W. Shakespeare’s play. Other literary (Pushkin, Bryusov) and musical (Chopin) personalities that appear in the poems also work as doubles of W, Shakespeare in these allusions. Drama Shekspirova (“Shakespearean drama”) and the drama of life are brought together in B. Pasternak’s creative perception.
Keywords: Idea-markerShakespearean codecreative perceptionB Pasternak
In 2020 the world celebrated the 130th anniversary of the renowned Russian Silver Age poet Boris Leonidovich Pasternak, who became a Literature Nobel Prize laureate in 1958. The following poetic works of B. Pasternak formed
To date in modern research there exist certain well-established approaches and trends in studying B. Pasternak’s poetic works, in particular, his original perception of W. Shakespeare’s literary heritage, who was indisputably a greatest English dramatist and poet.
First and foremost, it is worth considering the comprehensive studies of B. Pasternak’s poetics (Broitman, 2019; Zholkovskii, 2011), researches devoted to the role of W. Shakespeare’s works in B. Pasternak’s poetry (Sukhanova, 2004), writings on the significance of Shakespearean images in certain poems by B. Pasternak (Akimova, 2018; Sergeeva-Klyatis, 2015), the studies of Shakespearean allusions, ideologemes and codes in the creative works of the Russian writer (Dolinin, 2006; Panova, 2013; Shatin, 2005). Undoubtedly, in all the research papers the studies are carried out in close relation to B. Pasternak’s own translations of W. Shakespeare’s works.
The subject matter proper accounts for the research rationale, as it focuses on selecting and analyzing the author’s references to the well-known facts from W. Shakespeare’s creative works, where these items operate as cultural codes in equal measure. Therefore,
Let us now consider two related terms which are widely used by the researchers of Shakespearean allusions in B. Pasternak’s literary heritage. The first term is
The research question includes:
defining and substantiating the main idea-marker on the conceptual level in the Shakespearean allusions in B. Pasternak’s poetry;
marshalling and grouping the codes within the main idea-marker on the conceptual level in the Shakespearean allusions in B. Pasternak’s poetry.
Purpose of the Study
While studying the main idea-marker of intertextual allusions in a work of fiction it is important to take into account two different groups of research methods, that is linguoculturological and literary ones. The group of modern linguoculturological methods includes the conceptual approach (Chupryna et al., 2018) and the semiometrical approach (Vikulova et al., 2020). However, in our research we are using a combination of literary methods including methods of comparative and perception analysis (to define the subject matter and the importance of the idea-marker within intertextual allusions), and structural analysis (to group the codes). By the creative perception we understand the special character or way in which the works of an author are perceived by another writer and are then reflected and displayed in the works of the latter.
Defining and substantiating the main idea-marker on the conceptual level in the Shakespearean allusions in B. Pasternak’s poetry
Shalamatova (2017) writes about three types of explicit Shakespearean allusions in B. Pasternak’s poetry. First, the allusion is realized in the characters from W. Shakespeare’s works (
On marshalling and grouping the subject matter on the conceptual level we arrived at the conclusion that the main idea-marker is contained in the
The idea-marker of the dual character of dramatic images in B. Pasternak’s creative perception first appears long before the time when the writer started making translations of W. Shakespeare’s works which include “Hamlet”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Othello”, “Antony and Cleopatra”, “Henry IV” (Parts 1 and 2), “Macbeth”, and “King Lear” (from 1940 to 1949). In one of his early poems
Tomu gryadushhemu, byt’ emu
Ili ne byt’ emu?
No mednykh makbetovykh ve’m v dymu –
Is þæt future something to be
or not to be?
But the brazen Macbethean witches enveloped in smoke -
Umpteen of them.
The poem was part of the book of verses entitled
When looking at the overall picture of Shakespearean allusions, one cannot but notice the versatility of the dramatic imagery used by B. Pasternak.
The poet creates multiple pairs of oppositions: Hamlet – Macbeth, reason – blind passion, illusory future – real past and present at the times of war (
At the same time one can observe certain similarities in these oppositions, for instance, Hamlet’s and Macbeth’s reflections, or created metaphors (Hamlet’s reality and existence – non-existent future and memories of “Macbethean witches enveloped in smoke” which is a reference to the armed uprising in Moscow in 1905). Moreover, there is a juxtaposition of sublime images and colloquialisms (
In the same book of poems, we find another explicit allusion to W. Shakespeare’s tragedy, and that is in the poem
V tot den’ vsyu tebya, ot grebyonok do nog,
Kak tragik v provincii dramu Shekspirovu,
Nosil ya s soboyu i znal nazubok,
Shatalsya po gorodu i repetiroval.
On that day I carried you all, knew you by heart,
From the comb in your hair to the foot in your shoe
Like a rep tragedian clutching his part,
I roved and roamed the city rehearsing you.
Consequently, the author creates a twin-character for the narrator and the idea-marker in the imagery of Shakespearean allusions takes on a new meaning of duality. In its turn,
In another poem
Parallelism of the initial lines in the first four quatrains:
New meanings to the dual character of the idea-marker are seen in the allusion used in the poem titled
The poem deals with the problem of choice, which is shown by using a Shakespearean allusion and enhancing it with the image of Faust. Stylistically the created image is further sharpened by the repetition of the conjunctions
The next volume of poetry
In the five poems of the
Eventually, the literary parallel Pushkin – Shakespeare grows into a unique triad, bringing out a three-part image of the Poet: Pushkin – Shakespeare – Chopin. The Poet’s creative work is characterized by Pushkin’s lyricism, Shakespeare’s dramatism, and Chopin’s musicality and virtuosity. On top of that, each of the geniuses possesses all the mentioned elements of poetic mastery.
Another literary parallel containing a Shakespearean allusion within the imagery of the poetic cycle is seen in the poem
B. Pasternak brings together two things: the mastery of the scene of Hamlet’s conversation with his father’s ghost and Bryusov’s simplification of the form and content of civic poetry. Naturalness becomes an essential part of mastery as a counterbalance of theatricality. In this poem the dual character of the idea-marker is represented by the following oppositions: Shakespeare – Bryusov, Shakespeare – “Hamlet”, Hamlet – the ghost. These three are complemented by two new oppositions: the narrator – the ghost, Bryusov – the ghost.
Here again B. Pasternak turns to the image of ghost in the Shakespearean allusion he uses. However, unlike the imaginary ghost-sonnet in
According to Tarasenkov, since 1936 B. Pasternak kept saying that they were living in Shakespearean times (as cited in Bykov, 2018). In 1938 B. Pasternak started working on the translation of W. Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, a project commissioned by V. Meyerhold. Bykov (2018) believes that for W. Shakespeare the key issue is the conflict and clash between the personality and the drama raging around them, but at the same time separated from them. This idea is well-realized in the poem “Hamlet”.
It is the first poem in the cycle called
The poem brings together and sums up all the meanings ascribed to the dominant oppositions in the B. Pasternak’s works. Therefore, it fully explores and develops the idea-marker of duality in the imagery of Shakespearean allusions. These dominant oppositions turn into Shakespearean codes in B. Pasternak’s poetry. The codes comprise two narrators, those of Hamlet and the actor, playing the part of Hamlet, and
Marshalling and grouping the codes within the main idea-marker on the conceptual level in the Shakespearean allusions in B. Pasternak’s poetry
The results and findings of our research are summarized and presented in the comprehensive chart of Shakespearean codes (see Table
Starting with the opposition of Hamlet and Macbeth in his Shakespearean allusions, B. Pasternak arrives at the idea of duality realized in numerous codes, where the dual images of the narrator become the leading ones: Hamlet and the tragedian of W. Shakespeare’s play.
Literary and musical personalities in B. Pasternak’s poems (A. Pushkin, V. Bryusov, F. Chopin) and Shakespearean allusions work as doubles of the playwright. Drama Shekspirova (“Shakespearean drama”) and the drama of life are brought together in B. Pasternak’s creative perception.
We can take the dual character of the dramatic images for the leading idea which can be traced in the whole range of codes within the Shakespearean allusions in B. Pasternak’s poetry.
On the one hand, the concept of the idea-marker comprises the peculiarities of B. Pasternak’s creative mindset and outlook on life. On the other hand, it also includes a range of images form W. Shakespeare’s plays. And it is these images that form the core of Shakespearean codes in B. Pasternak’s poetic poetry.
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20 November 2020
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Sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, bilingualism, multilingualism
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Merkulova, M. G., & Kirdyaeva, O. I. (2020). Shakespearean Allusions In B. Pasternak's Poetry. In Е. Tareva, & T. N. Bokova (Eds.), Dialogue of Cultures - Culture of Dialogue: from Conflicting to Understanding, vol 95. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 624-633). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2020.11.03.66