Opposition “Light–Darkness” In Poems About A Beautiful Lady By A. Blok


The article researches linguistic poetics. It reflects the next stage of work on the creation of the author's dictionary describing the word usage of A. Blok in the collection. The reader is offered a detailed description of the semantics of lexemes that make up the opposition “LIGHT-DARKNESS” in this collection. When interpreting, the author uses the method of gradual expansion of the context from the level of collocations to the level of a complete work, which allows us to determine the set of semantemes used by A. Blok for each lexeme under study, to characterize combinatorial increments of meaning, to identify cases of words used in the author's meaning. Methods of immanent analysis of poetic speech are used. The description of the semantics of words included in the lexical-semantic group “DARKNESS” is carried out for the first time. The author concludes that the symbolism of light and darkness in the collection, although based on tradition, is still idiosyncratic. Light is an attribute of a Beautiful Lady. It symbolizes the meeting with the beloved, sacred knowledge, revelation. Darkness is associated with loneliness, end of passion, death, madness. But light and darkness can be both opposed and connected to each other through the image of the mystical beloved of the lyrical hero. The attribute of a Beautiful Lady is not only light, but also twilight. But if the light marks the appearance of Eternal Femininity in the world in full force, then the twilight precedes this phenomenon.

Keywords: A Blok, linguistic poetics, author's lexicography, idiostyle, aesthetic meaning, combinatorial increments of meaning


Linguistic poetics is an integrative discipline based on the achievements of linguistics, literary studies, rhetoric, and aesthetics. The subject of its research is “ (Krasnova, 2019, p. 71).

One of the areas of linguopoetic research is the creation of writers’ dictionaries. Our article reflects the next stage in the development of a monographic explanatory writer’s dictionary: the dictionary of “Poems about the Beautiful Lady by A. Block.” The relevance of this work results from a number of reasons. 1. The formation of the anthropocentric paradigm in linguistics involves the study of the idiolect of the linguistic personality. 2. The study of the language of poetry allows us to fully reveal the potential of language units, which is not always realized in other types of discourse. 3. A. Blok is a poet with a developed linguistic reflection, each word in his idiosyncratic style is included in the associative network, due to which the meaning becomes more complex and deeper.

Problem Statement

The opposition of light and darkness is a cultural universal. The metaphorical concept formed by this opposition has its foundations in human physiology and everyday life. A person is active during the day, when it is daylight and you can distinguish objects. Night is a time of sleep when a person is passive and defenseless. Therefore, light is activity, life, clarity, understanding and cognition, fortune, good. Light is connected with heights, the sky, spirituality. Darkness in most cultures, on the contrary, is passivity, sleep and death, uncertainty, ignorance, evil. Darkness is associated with the underworld, the unconscious, and demonic forces.

In the works of A. Blok, the “LIGHT—DARK” opposition occupies a significant place. But the idiosyncrasy and complexity of the poet's style suggest that his interpretation of the universal concept must have individual characteristics. This idea is also suggested by the high significance and semantic capacity of such integrators as “dream” and “mystery”, which are indirectly related to the second member of the opposition under consideration. Thus, “in the poetic world of A. Blok, is not so much a state of rest in the oblivion of feelings, as a very clear and intense experience of the highest reality” (Sivakova, 2019)., according to our observations, is associated with such meanings as “revelation”, “sacred knowledge”, “a mystical rite that communicates special grace to the believer”. That is, the units included in the nominative field of the concept of “DARKNESS” reveal semantic features that belong rather to the concept of “LIGHT”.

The study of other linguistic units that form the idiosyncratic style of A. Block in general and the style of the collection “Poems about a Beautiful Lady” in particular showed that most of them are characterized by a duality of symbolic meanings.

Thus, it is necessary to study in detail the lexemes representing the opposition “LIGHT-DARKNESS” in the collection “Poems about a Beautiful Lady” by A. Block.

Research Questions

The object of research in our article was the opposition “LIGHT—DARKNESS” in the collection “Poems about a Beautiful Lady”. The subject of the study is the aesthetic meaning of the words that represent this opposition in the collection.

In this work, for the first time, we will give a complete interpretation of the lexemes included in the thematic group “DARKNESS”, describing the contextual increments of meaning that arise in poetic texts. This is the scientific novelty of the study.

The theoretical significance of the study consists in the development of the method of interpretation of the poetic word.

The results of our research work can be used to compile a dictionary of “Poems about a Beautiful Lady” by A. Blok.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is a detailed description of the semantics of lexemes that represent the opposition “LIGHT – DARKNESS” in the collection “Poems about a Beautiful Lady”.

Objectives of the research work: 1) based on the data of explanatory dictionaries, construct models of common language meanings of lexemes of interest to us; 2) analyze the closest compatibility of lexemes to identify the sememes used by the author and highlight the most common connotations; 3) complete the identification of combinatorial increments of meaning based on contextual analysis.

Research Methods

The paper uses methods of immanent analysis of artistic speech: contextual analysis, component analysis of lexical meaning. Elements of combinatorial-semantic analysis of collocations in M. V. Vlavatsky's interpretation were also used (Vlavatskaya, 2020). The preference for the term “combinatorics” rather than for the more familiar term “syntagmatic” here results from the fact that “combinatorics of linguistic units depend on the extralinguistic situation and the communicative task” (Vlavatskaya, 2017, p. 42), while syntagmatic refers to a dimensional concept that reflects the associative possibilities of the lexeme, due to both language and speech.


A detailed description of the semantics of the lexeme was made by us in an earlier work. We came to the following conclusions.

Of the 12 sememes included in the content plan of the lexeme in modern Russian, the poet uses seven, in a number of contexts the word is used in the author's own meaning. The following sememes are most common: 1) radiant energy perceived by the eye and making the surrounding world visible; 2) lighting coming from a certain source or characteristic of a certain part of the day; 3) dawn; 4) a light source.

Contextual analysis allowed us to identify combinatorial increments of meaning. Light is often a sign that promises a meeting, but it is an incorrect, deceptive sign. Light is also an attribute of a Beautiful Lady in her divine incarnation. When the lexeme is used in the author's own meaning, the semes “revelation”, “sacred truth”, “that which brings grace and happiness” are brought into relief (Spivakova, 2020).

The word should be considered an antonym of the word ( in modern Russian. But in the collection “Poems about a Beautiful Lady” this lexeme is not widely used. In antonymic relations with the word enter lexemes that form a synonym series:.

To create models of the usual meanings of the lexemes, we are interested in, we used explanatory dictionaries: “Dictionary of the living Great Russian Language” by Dahl (1882), explanatory dictionary by Ushakov (2008) and dictionary by Ozhegov (2004).

The meaning of the lexeme includes three sememes: 1) lack of light, illumination, darkness, dimness; 2) ignorance, slow-wittedness, lack of education, cultural backwardness; 3) the unknown.

According to the dictionaries of Ushakov (2008) and Ozhegov (2004), the lexemes and are absolute synonyms. But in the dictionaries of Dahl (1882) and Evgenieva (1988), the lexeme has two sememes that are not present in the meaning of the word: 4) obscurity, incomprehensibility; 5) the property of dark as a quality.

In the meaning of the lexeme, four sememes can be distinguished: 1) complete absence of light, illumination, darkness; 2) joylessness, hopelessness, melancholy; 3) lack of culture, ignorance; 4) about something unclear.

Thelexeme is an incomplete synonym for the word. The model of its lexical meaning looks like this: 1) twilight before sunrise, and also between sunset and nightfall; 2) twilight, neither light nor darkness; 3) weak light before sunrise in the east or in the west after sunset; 4) the time between the appearance of the first light and sunrise, also between sunset and nightfall; 5) decline.

The word is unambiguous and coincides in meaning with the second lexical-semantic variant (LSV) of the lexeme.

The lexeme is ambiguous, but it is included in the synonymous series of interest to us by the second LSV: 2) twilight, darkness.

As we said above, the antonym of the word in Russian is the word ( But in the collection “Poems about a Beautiful Lady” the most commonly used other members of the synonymous series are и, which contain not only the semes “мрак” and “тьма” but also the semes “weak light”, “the ability to distinguish objects”, “sunrise”, “sunset”. Also, pay attention to the use of the semi-prefix (полутьма, полумрак, полусумрак (semi-darkness, semi-obscure, semi-dusk). These features of word usage suggest that the symbolism of light and darkness in the collection is not unambiguous, and these concepts, usually opposed to each other, can be paradoxically connected in the world of “Poems about a Beautiful Lady”.

Combinatorial analysis of collocations involving the word showed that A. Blok uses only the first sememe in the collection “Poems about a Beautiful Lady”, namely “absence of light, illumination, darkness, darkness”. This is a direct nominative value. LSV 3 “Unknown” is not used independently, but this sema can manifest itself as a combinatorial increment of meaning when the word is used in the first meaning. As part of the predicative unit, darkness is personified.

The lexeme is also used only in one LSV “lack of light, illumination, darkness”. In the phrases, darkness is personified. It can be assumed that и in the collection are absolute synonyms.

The lexeme is used primarily in the second LSV “twilight, neither light nor darkness”. In several combinations, the sema “half-light” is brought into relief. The following attributes of twilight are distinguished:. The collocations and should be considered occasional. Occasional collocations as “unique, unusual combinations of words belonging to the style of a particular author with a view to produce an expressive and aesthetic effect in a work or text” (Vlavatskaya, 2018, p. 32).

The lexeme, according to dictionaries, is unambiguous. The analysis of phrases allows you to identify attributive signs of twilight:. Sentence analysis reveals an unusual predicative sign of twilight:. The fact that the darkness breaks out like a light, something he attributed to the red color, the possibility of combining shows that, in addition to sememe “incomplete darkness, in which you can still distinguish objects, twilight”, in the book “Poems about the Beautiful Lady” this lexeme also has the author's idiosyncratic meaning of “dawn”. The collocation () performs an expressive-synonymous function (metaphorical) and has the meaning of “death”. In the combination of (), along with the meaning of “twilight”, the seme “unknown”, characteristic of the word тьма, is realized.

The lexeme is usually used in the direct, nominative meaning “complete absence of light, illumination, darkness”. In one context, there is a figurative meaning of “joylessness, hopelessness, melancholy”. The lexeme is used in the second LSV “twilight, darkness”.

Contextual analysis allowed us to identify the following individual author's connotations of the words and. ().

In a number of poems, and are opposed to, for example, in the poem “Высоко с темнотой сливается стена…”[“High with darkness merges the wall...”]here is associated with the image of the beloved in her various guises—from the divine Beautiful Lady to the buffoon Columbine. In and, the lyrical hero watches her alone, waiting for her, dreaming of meeting her. The contextual meanings that accompany the lexemes and in such contexts are “loneliness”, “waiting for a meeting”.

The development of this contextual meaning can go in several directions. The relationship of the lyrical hero with a Beautiful Lady can be tragicomically reinterpreted in terms of a puppet show ((“Свет в окошке шатался…” [“The light in the window was wobbling...”]). In this case, love itself is a deception, a “buffoon's masquerade”, and is the symbol of this masquerade. in which there is no “Ее” [“Her”] (note the paradoxical combination of capital letters and quotation marks) is a symbol not only of loneliness, but also of frustration, of cruel insight. Laughing Harlequin and are allies, they know the bitter truth that awaits the hero in love outside the door.

in the situation of waiting for a meeting can be understood as the end of love, the extinction of passion, the resulting madness and even spiritual death: “ сменяла, /. /” [Spring day was replaced by/My heart was getting cold over the grave/I was slowly getting mad/ I was thinking coldly about my beloved] (Blok, 1960). In this poem, andare contrasted with тьма and.

Until now, the contextual meanings that appeared in the words тьма иcorresponded to the traditional symbolism of darkness. But in some contexts, you can see that these lexemes are accompanied by positive connotations, and this is a striking feature of A. Blok's idiostyle: all symbols are ambivalent, any meaning can turn into its opposite. So, in the poem “Я вышел. Медленно сходили…» [“I came out. Slowly descended…] is a source of good memory, hope. In it,is associated with spring, memories, life and youth, dreams.

The lexemeas a synonym for the wordcan be accompanied by similar contextual meanings. For example, in the poem “Ни жаль мне дней ни радостных, ни знойных…” [“I am not sorry for the days neither joyful nor sultry...”] is a symbol of the fading of passion. Just as in the poem “Я медленно сходил с ума” [“I was slowly losing my mind”], the context actualizes the semes “end”, “death”, “fading of passion”, “cold”.

Specific to the word is the contextual meaning of 'date', accompanied by the seme 'passion', and a passionate date is possible only in the dark, in the light of day, the beloved is “Недоступна в Своем терему” [“Cannot be reached in Her terem”]. If as a symbol of the end of love is surrounded in the context by words that have in their meaning the seme of “cold”, then poems where мрак is associated with dating and passion are saturated with words whose meaning contains the seme of “fire”.

The lexeme is found three times in the collection. In two cases, it is opposed to light, and light is an attribute of a Beautiful Lady in her divine hypostasis ((“Признак истинного чуда…” [“A sign of a true miracle...”], “Ночью сумрачной и дикой…”[“A dark and wild night...”]). In the poem “Бегут неверные дневные тени…” [“The fallacious shadows of day run...”], is associated with the expectation and anticipation of a meeting.

The most common and interesting from the point of view of semantics are the lexemes сумерки and. The usual meaning of these lexemes combines the semantics of light and darkness. Therefore, in the world of “Poems about a Beautiful Lady”, the contextual meanings that accompany these words are so diverse and often far from each other.

On the one hand, both lexemes can be accompanied by contextual increments of meaning characteristic of the words тьма and. So, in the poem “Я вышел. Медленно сходили…” [“I came out. Slowly descended...”] the words тьма and enter into synonymous relations., like is a source of hope, memory of spring, and love. In the poem “Высоко с темнотой сливается стена” [“High with darkness merges the wall”] synonyms are the words and. The word actualizes the contextual semes “loneliness”, “waiting”. In the poem “Успокоительны, и чудны…” [“Soothing and strange…”] the phrase сумрак is used metaphorically in the meaning of “death”. In the poem “Catching trembling, cold hands”, the words сумрак иenter into synonymous relations, realizing the contextual meanings of “date”, “passion”.

On the other hand, one can feel the connection of the lexemes and with the image of the mystical beloved. Atshe leaves, in theshe abides, it isthat lurks under her eyelashes: “Ты отходишь в алый, / В бесконечные круги» (“Ты отходишь в сумрак алый…”, Blok, 1960); “Ты же в, милая, ближе / К неподвижному жизни ключу” (“Снова ближе вечерние тени….”, Blok, 1960). orprecedes her appearance, from them comes the message from her, as in the poem “Сумерки, сумерки вешние…” [“Twilight, twilight of spring…”]. In this poem, as in some others, the symbolism of twilight and spring, as the time preceding the appearance of a Beautiful Lady, comes together.

and can be interpreted as a premonition, a foreboding of something. So, in the poem “Хранила я среди младых созвучий…” [“I kept among the young sounds…”] The Beautiful Lady stays in until comes and последний[the last day] brings the time for Eternal Femininity to. In the poem “Я долго ждал – ты вышла поздно…” [“I waited for a long time, you came out late…”] the lyrical hero waits in until, the Lady appears and () shines. In the poem “При посылке роз” [“At sending roses”], the phrase младые is used metaphorically and means “the time of youth and innocence before the arrival of the first love, before the soul is illuminated by passion”.


The symbolism of light and darkness in the world of “Poems about a Beautiful Lady” has an undeniable originality. Light and darkness can be contrasted. is an attribute of a Beautiful Lady in her divine incarnation. is revelation, sacred knowledge. can also be a sign that promises a meeting with the beloved, although it is wrong, deceptive.() is associated with loneliness, the fading of passion, death, madness. But at the same time, and сумерки can be a source of hope, memories of love, and can represent the time of a date. andare almost as closely related to the image of the mystical beloved as свет (light). But there is also a difference. The semantics of the words сумерки and are based on the semes “anticipation”, “premonition”. The Beautiful Lady and the lyrical hero remain in the twilight until the day when the Divine Sophia will appear in the light and transform the world.


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21 June 2021

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Cite this article as:

Spivakova, E. (2021). Opposition “Light–Darkness” In Poems About A Beautiful Lady By A. Blok. In N. G. Bogachenko (Ed.), Amurcon 2020: International Scientific Conference, vol 111. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 966-973). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.06.03.127