The relevance of the research topic is caused by the need to study a new problem for Chechen literary criticism – the formation of the concept of an artistic personality in the works of modern Chechen prose writers. The paper is part of a large monographic study on this issue. It is aimed at studying the features of the concept of personality, identifying its moral-philosophical aspect in the works of one of the most striking representatives of modern Chechen prose – Musa Beksultanov. The key methods for solving the problem proposed in the paper included comparative-historical and structural-semantic methods, which made it possible to comprehensively consider various aspects of the formation of not only the concept of personality in the writer’s works, but also to study the internal structure of his prose, to denote the archetypal series created by the author during various periods of his work. The paper reveals the unique qualities of the author’s personality, which made it possible to build a multifaceted system of images and characters; scrupulous analysis of the writer’s literary texts made it possible to determine the originality and specificity of artistic and visual means, with the help of which he managed to create a unique concept of artistic personality within moral and philosophical aspect. The materials of the paper have unconditional scientific, theoretical and practical significance: they can be referred to when studying the general laws of the concept of personality in Chechen literature, and in North Caucasian literature in general.
The concept of personality in modern Chechen prose is to understand the complexity of the relationship between a modern man and a society, the tendency of a person to analysis and self-analysis, reflection and self-reflection. A writer, who forms the concept of personality in his works, has a desire for synthesis, constants, stable meanings and categories of the traditional ethno-ethical complex. In the concept of peace and human beings, first and foremost, the perceptions of the world and a man, perceptions of life itself and its meanings change significantly, they change in the same way as the world and the man itself. The transformations of the world and society sometimes do not have the best effect on both the category of personality and its understanding. The current trends of globalization inevitably lead an individual as part of the ethnic group to disunity, individualism, separatism, selfishness and egocentrism.
Besides, a comprehensive analysis of the artistic concept of personality in modern Chechen prose is impossible without studying the evolution of ideas about the self-identification of personality strongly connected with the socio-cultural code of the ethnos, which largely preserves traditional and even patriarchal patterns. This question projects the attitude of a personality towards itself. As known, this phenomenon is intensified and updated in the process of individualization of a personality in the industrial and post-industrial society.
Chechen writers are deeply aware of and comprehensively reflect the evolution of personality of modern man and his consciousness, well aware that this man, personality – the same as before, and, at the same time, completely different, in the dialectical unity of its characteristics. The Chechen authors are deeply disturbed by the moral and psychological dilemma – how a person in the new conditions of socio-psychological deformation of the society, “changing signs”, changing to opposite ideas about duty, honor, dignity, loss of self, moral ideals, guidelines, constants shall overcome confusion, how to remain yourself, resist the triumph of evil, militant vulgarity, the cult of consumption.
Over the past decades, plots, conflicts, characters in the works of Chechen writers have been distinguished by increasing moral acuity, tension, drama, tragedy and a certain proportion of tough realism, sometimes bordering with pessimism. At the same time, modern Chechen writers demonstrate a clear system of certain coordinates, positive ideals necessary for unimpaired operation of a personality and the society. Their works are characterized by an appeal to permanent fundamental properties, constants of the human being, personality in the unity of its typical and uniquely individual qualities, to associative living memory, the genetic code of ethnos and man, its sincerity and moral purity.
This leads to such spiritual and moral principles that become peculiar staples of a person and the society, such as the ideas of life-building, the improvement of the world and man, humanism, the conviction that the spiritual health of a person and ethnic group, victory over evil must inevitably occur through repentance, atonement, purification. Besides, changes taking place in the personality and society certainly affect the language system of the literary work, increase the existential, transcendental beginning, inevitably causing a deeply hidden dialogue between the author and the reader.
A significant turning point, a new stage in the history of artistic study of the problem of personality in Chechen literature will be a period beginning in the 1970s, reaching its highest stage at the turn of centuries and practically continuing (undergoing inevitable evolutionary processes) to the present. In this phenomenon, a number of factors from various spheres of life will play a decisive role (socio-political, spiritual-moral, sociocultural, emotional-psychological, literary), sometimes having an extremely ambiguous, but, in general, positive character for the development of the literary process.
The signs of the “thaw” of the turn of the 1950–1960s, like timid “glimpses” of freedom of speech, attempts to liberate the personality and society from the “grip” of totalitarianism, broadening the general outlook, related to some “opening” of the “iron curtain” and many other factors, were undoubtedly positive in terms of the development of the concept of the personality in its multiple essence – social, cultural, ethno-psychological, artistic sphere, but had, as already noted above, quite controversial, ambiguous character.
On the one hand, these were undoubtedly positive phenomena, on the other hand, such circumstances as the rapid development of urbanization, globalization inevitably threatened the preservation and many traditional values, which could especially negatively affect the fate of small peoples threatened by cultural, linguistic, ethnic assimilation, loss of national identity, distortions and degradation of the criteria of the traditional ethnic concept of the personality. In this situation, the role of such ethno- and moral-accumulating phenomena and institutions as science, education, culture, art, literature is significantly increasing.
Milojkovic (2013), a professor at the University of Belgrade, in her article “Is corpus stylistics bent on self-improvement? The role of reference corpora 20 years after the advent of semantic prosody” published in the journal of Literary Semantics in January 2013, makes curious observations about the semantics of words and its impact on the reader’s perception of an artistic text. At the same time, she reviews some basic assumptions about the style of Luu, such as the roles of an intuition, author’s intention and individual perception of the reader.
She uses reference corporations, including BNC and COCA, available on the website of Mark Davis and Tim Jones Corps, published in 1995 in, which contains 44.5 million words (Milojkovic, 2013). In the works of the Chechen writer Beksultanov (2011), the use of a word and an exploitation of its meaning is important for adequate perception of his text, in which the writer actively uses archaisms and dialecticisms, which have long emerged from the modern everyday Chechen language.
In this sense there is another interesting article by an Indian linguist, professor of the University of Campinas Canavillil Rajagopalan,, published in 1998 in the second issue of the journal of Literary Semantics. As an example, Rajagopalan (2013) cites Derrida’s 1994 book. Considering Derrida’s reference to Shakespeare and the ghost of to assess the relevance of Marxism in the modern political context, he shows that the French author uses the literary text as an instrument of philosophical analysis, but that his deconstructive attitude to literature is not reductive in a sense that it is part of the reading and interpretation project that characterizes the literary semantics (Rajagopalan, 2013).
In this regard (in relation to the text of Beksultanov (2011)), it can be argued that the Chechen writer often uses his own text as an instrument of philosophical analysis, uses a word in all its deep sacred meanings, which in turn gives special uniqueness and attractiveness to Beksultanov’s (2011) literary text.
The problem of the concept of personality is the problem not only significant for the works of the modern Chechen writer Beksultanov (2011), it has typological character in modern Chechen literature and is expressed in the works of the majority of famous modern Chechen writers who are concerned with sacral-intimate problems of history of the ethnic group, its current state, personality, national consciousness, national self-identification. Beksultanov (2011) formed his own series of concepts, categories and ideas about the study of a person and his personality in modern Chechen literature: the definition “person-personality” is unconditionally key in his artistic worldview; creating a vivid, emotionally expressed artistic paradigm in his works, he emphasized the genres of a small and medium epic form based on the idea that “each genre has its own means of vision and understanding of reality, accessible only to it” (Bakhtin, 1986, p. 252).
It should be noted that the writer’s works always provoke a lively response not only from readers, but also from his fellow writers. It will not be an exaggeration if we say that one of the brightest and most talented Chechen writers, the author of the widely known historical trilogy, the classic of Chechen literature Aydamirov (2005) blessed Musa Beksultanov on the writing path. In the preface to Beksultanov’s (2011) collection of works Aydamirov (2005) wrote: “Musa has his own style and his own manner of writing, a unique language not similar to anyone else. His works are multifaceted, they have a lot of light and at the same time sad, and the heroes are memorable. Only a person with a deep and pure soul is able to write such works” (p. 3).
The subject of the genuine interest of Beksultanov (2011) is on what basis the value guidelines of his heroes were formed and built, the moral principles that they followed were strengthened contrary to many destructive circumstances of their lives. The stable categories that make the human personality attractive for the Chechen writer are courage, character, will, aspiration for freedom, primarily internal, spiritual.
One of the climactic moments in his story is the return by the hero of the ashes of his lover Zaza from Kazakhstan to his homeland (Kazakhstan in the story is not just a geographical part of a huge country, where the Chechen people were deported during the harsh years of repression, it first of all became an inseparable part of his historical fate). Many years after returning to his historical homeland, Kerim goes to Kazakhstan for the remains of his lover, brings them and buries them in his family cemetery next to his father’s grave. This takes the hero out of a number of ordinary people: hardly any Chechen would dare to do such an act in relation to someone else’s woman, even if he pursues the most noble goals.
The line of love in the story is conceived in the traditional way, predetermining a lot in the behavior, character of the main hero. The personality of the main hero is widely motivated in the context of national moral and moral norms of behavior, we see a bright masculine beginning, which is solely traditionally based on national (in general, Caucasian) ideas about honor and duty. The code of honor of the highlander – the Chechen in the story is not only regulating the behavior of the protagonist, but above all serves its determining factor.
The main character of the story – Zaza – is beautiful in every sense: she is attractive and smart. In the description of his heroine, the author of the story repeatedly emphasizes her graceful figure, slender waist, whiteness of skin, burning black hair color, a spark in her eyes. “Youth turned out to be careless, careless without borders”, admits Kerim (Zaza’s boyfriend) many years later suggesting that this was the reason for the ridiculous break up with the girl, which once prevented him from sharing fate with his beloved girl (Beksultanov, 2011).
Personally, the main character of the story is much higher than those who surround him in everyday life. Many of them indulgently laugh at Kerim scratching head over the fact that he cares for an outsider, not understanding the deep meaning that underlies his actions. The protagonist of the Beksultanov’s story attempts to restore justice to people with whom fate was unfair. Being Kerim’s lover, Zaza turned out to be the wife of another person, alone, without close relatives (her insidious husband, the robber Kahir, died in the NKVD prison) she was deported with her people to Kazakhstan, and soon died there of a serious illness. All these circumstances of life and death of his beloved woman have worried Kerim for many years, and he considered it his duty to take care of at least her ashes, return it to homeland, bury it in his family cemetery, in which his ashes will someday rest, and thus reunite with his beloved woman.
The behavior of the protagonist is dictated not only by personal circumstances – it is driven by the motivation of a wider universal human plan: a desire to restore historical justice, return historical homeland to all victims of Stalinist deportation, give an opportunity to rest in their native land. The hero of the Beksultanov’s (2011) story is a man with a kind and noble soul, his ideas about duty and honor fall far beyond the framework of ordinary ideas, he has long lived in his “orbit” having built his hierarchy of values. Life itself becomes the lever governing his behavior, which scrolled him through many trials.
Kerim saw a lot of human suffering, grief, death, human meanness and at the same time the height of the human spirit, he happened to see people who remained truly free and strong in spirit, when the circumstances of life made them outwardly, physically unfree. It was a tragic experience of life of the hero of the story, and it gave him the opportunity to rise above the ordinary judgments of honor and nobility. Throughout his life, he has developed his own system of values, his ideas about the code of honor, and in his actions he is guided only by them.
Purpose of the Study
Noting the unquestionable outstanding talent of Beksultanov (2011), it will be impossible to note that his worldview was formed at a time when resonant cultural and historical changes began to take place in the society, which increasingly began to doubt the principles of totalitarian thinking, “there was a desire to abandon dogmatic ideas about history and man” (Panesh& Ashinova, 2018, p. 102).
Beksultanov (2011) – a bright representative of his people, a carrier of universal and ethnic values, who finely broadcast them in his writing. The experience of the older generation of Chechen writers will also be decisive for Beksultanov (2011) in his development of his own philosophical and artistic concept of peace and man, a concept of personality that combines the signs of national and universal human values. The purpose of this study is to analyze the multidimensional and resonant work of the Chechen writer on the example of his novel.
The paper uses comparative-historical and structural-semantic methods. Hence, it was possible to study in detail the various aspects in Beksultanov’s (2011) prose, to distinguish the main ones that contributed to the formation of a unique concept of personality in his works. Besides, guided by selected methods, it was also possible to study the artistic paradigm of Beksultanov’s (2011) prose, to indicate its specifics.
Undoubtedly, Musa Beksultanov, an outstanding prose writer, is an outstanding person, in many respects symbolizing his nation and his era. To paraphrase a famous French writer Stendhal, we can say that the literature for Musa Beksultanov is a mirror with which the writer goes along the great road of reality, reflecting “either the azure of the sky, then dirty puddles and bumps”, i.e. all the most acute pressing problems of the modern world and man, including such an “eternal” and multifaceted problem as the fate of a person (Naumenko, 2012).
The result of the study was the understanding that the creation of the concept of personality for the writer is a labor-intensive multilevel continuous process, that is s destiny of the few, and the most outstanding authors, which already possess the high level Personality, deep psychological-ontological experience, a set of worldviews, attitude, outlook, ability to retell the deep matter, all complexity, internal tension and dynamics of life of a person.
In each work of Beksultanov (2011) there is his own tense lyrical “plot” associated with the movement of human feeling in time and space, reflecting and experiencing difficult life conflicts, psychological reliability and deepness, acute, as a rule, anxious beating of the life pulse. For Beksultanov the question of free will is always at the center of the personality problem, which, first of all, interests the writer (as cited in Golovko, 2014).
Musa Beksultanov, whose works are full of the influence of traditions of the European novel, discovers the desire to create an individualized experience. The heroes of the writer’s stories build their attitude to the world from the point of view of “experiences” and “thoughts”, which suggests talking about the tradition of psychological storytelling, which has become solid in Chechen prose of the eighties and nineties of the last century. “The poet learns the details of the world and keeps them in a poetic language”, writes Meeuwis (2015), and this is “what defines this language as poetry, is what he can recreate, assign the full power of the poet’s initial experience to the reader or listener....” (para. 6). Such is the Chechen writer Beksultanov (2011).
The literary concept of personality in the works of Musa Beksultanov is both individual, ethnospecific and universal in nature, which allows understanding the artistic space as having global depth and perspective. In the author’s worldview, the religious, philosophical aspects of the personality play an important role, while for the philosophical paradigm, the category of freedom, national spirit, realized in the story in the manifestations of the personality of the heroes, becomes important.
The research material given in the paper will contribute to domestic and world literary criticism of the idea of significant processes in modern Chechen literature that can bring it to the level of world literature. The problems raised in the paper and their study indicate that there are many problems in modern Chechen literature requiring close attention from literary scholars.
The results of the study will contribute to understanding the specifics of the development of the internal structure of a prose, not only by Beksultanov (2011), but also by a number of other modern Chechen writers whose works reveal typological similarities with him, and will contribute to expanding the idea of Chechen literature in the world literary community.
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17 May 2021
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Inarkaeva, S. I., Yahyaeva, Z. I., & Bachalova, I. B. (2021). Key Aspects And Problem Of Forming Concept Of Personality Musa Beksultanov’s Works. In D. K. Bataev, S. A. Gapurov, A. D. Osmaev, V. K. Akaev, L. M. Idigova, M. R. Ovhadov, A. R. Salgiriev, & M. M. Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Knowledge, Man and Civilization - ISCKMC 2020, vol 107. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 2142-2148). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.05.284