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Reference:

Valery Bryusov and Urban Folklore: a game with genre tradition

Kartasheva Anna Olegovna

Postgraduate, Moscow University named after A.S. Griboedov

111024, Russia, Moscow, Highway Enthusiasts str., 21

Anna.kartasheva@internet.ru
Other publications by this author
 

 
Ustinovskaya Alena Aleksandrovna

ORCID: 0000-0001-5381-0777

PhD in Philology

Associate Professor, Department of Romano-Germanic Languages, Moscow State University for the Humanities and Economics

Losinoostrovskaya str., 49, Moscow, 107150, Russia

alyonau1@yandex.ru
Other publications by this author
 

 

DOI:

10.25136/2409-8698.2023.4.40532

EDN:

QUTDJM

Received:

16-04-2023


Published:

23-04-2023


Abstract: The subject of the study is a literary game with the genre tradition of urban romance and factory (working) songs in the poetry of the poet of the Silver Age Valery Bryusov. The object of the study is Bryusov's genre palette and his creative searches in relation to the extensive development of genres of domestic and foreign literature, as well as folklore. The authors consider in detail such aspects of the topic as Bryusov's genre strategies, his playing with genre constants and the deliberate distortion of the genre "grid" of the working song with the involvement of features of another, related genre of violent urban romance. Special attention is paid to the catamnesis of Bryusov's texts: their further embodiment in music as songs, both purposeful and spontaneous. The main conclusions of the study are observations on the stylization of folklore in the literature of the Silver Age and reflections on the genre nature of the works of one of the most significant collections of poems by Bryusov, Urbi et orbi (1903). A special contribution of the authors to the study of the topic is their consistent tracing in Bryusov's "songs" of the presence of references to specific realities included in the apperceptive base of the reader and the author himself. The novelty of the research lies in the appeal to the genre of urban romance and factory song in Bryusov's work and in the expansion of the evidence base of observations on the genre diversity of the work of this poet and prose writer.


Keywords:

Bryusov, urban romance, factory song, folklore, genre, stylization, folk song, play with reader, intertext, allusion

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

Valery Bryusov in his work turned to the stylization of various genres, mastering them in an "extensive" order. D.E. Maksimov notes that "Bryusov often used an extensive method - capturing all new areas and leaving what he had just conquered. Bryusov's poetry was open to a variety of spheres: both life and book. He used huge layers of historical and spiritual experience accumulated by mankind, finding in them what was close to him and necessary. He loved to travel through culture through centuries and countries and during these trips he rarely stayed in the same place" [6, 21-22]. In this respect, the poet is compared to the commander Alexander the Great, who captured new lands. In part, this should be considered his image strategy (see, for example, [4]).

Among many genres, Bryusov's attention in the 1900s was attracted by the genre of working folklore a kind of urban romance. In the collection "Urbi et orbi", published in 1903, there is a section "Songs", which includes seven poems stylizing, respectively, songs the names of the six works placed in this section are a feminine adjective (implying that it agrees with the word "song"): "Factory" (twice), "Soldier", "Child", "Maiden" and "Cheerful", as well as a noun in the genitive plural of "Collectors" (meaning "song of collectors"). Of great interest are two songs with the name "Factory", which, as the title suggests, are a stylization of the folklore of factory workers.

The genre of factory (workers') songs has been considered by various researchers through the prism of the perception of the working class, and the attitude to this genre has changed significantly over time. For example, at the end of the XIX century, S.I. Miropolsky condemned factory songs, emphasizing their immoral content: "there is nothing more disgusting, disgusting, and sometimes dirtier and more cynical than factory songs. They, too, are all almost boorish, rollicking, but their content is usually dirty, sometimes downright immoral" [8, 48-49]. In Soviet folklore, the genre of workers' songs was viewed through the prism of revolutionary sentiments among workers and in fact such songs were read as a political manifesto: "The crisis of the early 900s in Russia worsened the already difficult situation of workers. A large number of enterprises were closed, unemployment increased; wages fell in other factories and factories; those insignificant concessions from the capitalists that the workers had wrested from them in an intense struggle were taken back. At the same time, the Obukhov defense of 1901, the demonstration of the Batumi workers and the strike in Rostov-on-Don in 1902, mass political strikes in 1903 in Transcaucasia and the largest cities of Ukraine testified that the labor movement had entered a new stage of development.

By this time, the spread of revolutionary songs among the workers, for example, the song "Deputies from the estates", composed by the radical intelligentsia in connection with the coronation of Nicholas II. This song parodied the loyal praise of reactionaries and liberals in honor of Nicholas II" [10, 481]. This is how the songs of workers were characterized in a lecture course on Russian oral folk art in 1952-1956.

In modern folklore, the songs of workers are considered, first of all, as a source of a certain model of the world for example, from the point of view of the representation of certain relevant concepts. So, according to the research of E.V. Mileyko and A.S. Statsenko, in the center of the world of workers' songs is the concept of the master, which in the early texts is read in a positive way, and in the later ones, modern to V.Ya. Bryusov, in negative ones: "The songs of the XVIIIXIX centuries describe the hard life of workers, their working conditions and everyday life. With the enlargement of production, the owner becomes inaccessible, and the direct culprit of all misfortunes is now considered to be the one with whom the worker has a direct connection, namely, the master and the apprentice, especially if they are foreigners. The conceptualized concept of a master in the lyrics of the workers' songs of this period should be considered in opposition to "one's own / someone else's". The master is the central link connecting the worker and the owner: worker master master.

The songs of the late XVIII early XIX century have an acute social orientation, therefore, a negatively colored conceptualization of the "master shop manager" stands out in them, where the master-boss is represented, who, having achieved success in life, does not enter the position of ordinary workers" [7, 106].

Despite the change in the vector of analysis of the lyrics of the workers' songs, it is possible to trace a certain constant of their content: they do not touch and do not reveal the theme of love in its sublime, romantic understanding. Nevertheless, in V.Y. Bryusov's stylization, both poems, called "Factory" (<song>), are dedicated to unrequited love, moreover, they can be combined into a kind of dilogy, since in both songs the same situation is played out: a lover watches his beloved from afar, not daring to approach her get closer:

How am I going to walk along the boulevard,

I'll take a look at this couple.

He gave her a flower

Dark blue cornflower [1, 23].

Next, the lyrical hero observes how his beloved is with another, and he watches from the side, unable to penetrate into the room where she is:

He will cajole, he will beg,

She'll give up girlish shame.

I'll take them home,

I'll sit in front of the door.

There will be a lamp light in the window

I can distinguish her earrings

Suddenly the quiet light goes out,

I'll sigh back at him.

I will wait for the morning in the square,

She's coming out of that door.

On her chest is a flower,

Dark blue, cornflower [1, 24].

In the second song, the same situation (a girl with another man, and a hopelessly in love watching from the street through the window) is read in a tragic context: the girl died, but the lover still has no way to approach her and say goodbye to her:

Oh, if you could smell, know,

Whose heart is pounding at the window!

Ah, if I had guessed in my delirium,

Whose shadow is visible every minute!

Your husband, dozing off on a chair,

Oversleeps, what are you whispering in delirium;

And I'll keep watch until dawn

And only in the sun will I leave.

The janitors will tell me in the evening,

Why did you leave in the morning,

And silently point out the window

You are in the middle of the table [1, 26].

Note that this situation mirrors one of the "wandering" motives of romantic poetry [see, for example: 5].

Practically not a single word in either the first or the second factory song indicates that its lyrical hero is a worker: the action takes place on the boulevard in the first song and on the street in the second, then the focus of attention is transferred inside the house, and in both cases through the window from the outside you can see exactly what is happening inside the house. Nothing says about the hard work of the lyrical hero and his stay at the factory: only in the second song is mentioned "I suffered in the stones for a long time, / And I ruined my century in them" [1, 26].

At the same time, in other stylizations placed by the author in the same section, there are quite a lot of references to specific realities that allow the song to be associated with exactly the class or status whose song it is in accordance with the title. So, in the "Soldier's" song, the victories of Russian weapons are mentioned:

Italians are our Suvorov

Taught articles;

And the Pole humbled his temper

In the days when he rebelled.

We ran up to the Pamirs,

We won't move back from them.

Imperial Porphyry

The edge fell on Ararat.

[1, 28]

In the "Nursery" the author introduces references to the children's game "wand-rescue":

The wand is a lifesaver,

Evening game!

The sky shadows hung down,

Let 's make a noise fun,

It's time for us to run!

[1, 29]

The song of the collectors from the very beginning explicitly indicates what exactly the collectors are collecting money for:

Donate, benefactors,

To the new bell,

The voice of the Lord.

Bell ringing

With an angelic chant

Wonderfully similar.

[1, 30]

In the "Maiden" song, the author writes on behalf of a girl separated from her beloved, and just in it there is a motif characteristic of working songs a story about hard exhausting work:

How do you, poor friend, suffer

Under the buzz, behind the machine,

How, covering your face, you cry,

That I'm unfamiliar with fun.

[1, 31]

The "cheerful" song is dedicated to the motives of drunkenness and debauchery, which also brings it closer to real folklore songs common among workers (according to the testimony of S.I. Miropolsky):

Fork out to a penny,

Don't waste a minute.

Or am I not good?

My shoulders are steep.

You have to live to be drunk

Before lunch, lying down,

So as not to grieve in the morning

About our track.

[1, 33]

Thus, among the seven songs presented in the corresponding section, V.Y. Bryusov leaves only two "Factory" songs without introducing realities referring specifically to the context of the title. In all other cases, the text interacts with the frame and echoes it.

In 1906, I.I. Rachinsky set to music one of the "Factory" - "As I walk along the Boulevard ...", along with other works from the collection "Urbi et orbi" [2, 231]. At the same time, "Factory" was the only one from the "Songs" section, the rest of the poems set to music are not identified by the author as songs.

Accordingly, Bryusov's genre searches as a stylizer in relation to the songs of workers should be recognized as not very productive: the texts created by him are close to the genre of urban romance: the leitmotif of the so-called "factory" song becomes unrequited love and contemplation of the beloved from afar, through the window. This correlates with the genre constants of a typical urban romance about love: "Urban romance is a terminological synonym for pettybourgeois, or "cruel" romance. A love song with a melodramatic plot, which has been spreading in Russia since the middle of the XIX century among the urban population, and later among the rural population. The themes of urban romance are unhappy love, separation, jealousy, revenge on a rival or rival, etc." [3].

At the same time, in the collection "Urbi et orbi" there is a text that is really stylistically close to the genre of the working song this is "The Bricklayer". "In the archive of Bryusov in the Research Institute of the RSL, a list of composers compiled by him who turned to his work has been preserved. ... The compilers report a curious detail about the "Mason", on the text of which Yu wrote his works. Engel and E. Vilbushevich: "We were informed from Kargopol, Olonets province, that in the local prison the prisoners sing "The Bricklayer" to a tune composed by themselves" [2, 217]. In "The Bricklayer", indeed, there are the motives of hard work and social injustice that are key to the work song:

A bricklayer, a bricklayer, in a white apron,

What are you building there? to whom?

Hey, don't bother us, we're busy

We are building, we are building a prison.

A bricklayer, a bricklayer, with a faithful shovel,

Who will cry in it?

That's right, not you and not your brother, rich.

There's no need for you to steal.

[1, 118]

In "The Bricklayer" there is completely no love theme: a worker performs hard physical labor, laments the potential share of his son, "the same worker", and opposes himself to the world of the rich. These motives also bring him closer to the genre of the convict, prison song, which emphasizes social injustice and the heavy share of the prisoner. In accordance with the author's concept of the collection, "The Mason" is included in the section "Paintings. On the street", which is a sketch of the life of the city.

Thus, the genre of "factory song" ("work song") was embodied in the work of Bryusov, who sought to master the maximum number of genres of domestic and foreign poetry, as well as folklore. At the same time, paradoxically, an example of successful stylization is not those texts that the author himself positioned as "factory songs" (these texts are genre-close to the so-called "urban romance"), but the poem "The Bricklayer", which turned into a folk song.

References
1. Bryusov V.Ya. Urbi et Orbi. Poems 1900-1903 M.: Scorpio, 1903. 190 p.
2. Gevorkyan A.V. Valery Bryusov and the musical world of Russia in the late XIX early XX centuries // Literary fact. 2020. No. 1 (15). pp. 213-236.
3. Dostoevsky: Aesthetics and Poetics: Dictionary-Reference / Comp. G. K. Shchennikov, A. A. Alekseev; scientific ed. G. K. SCHENNIKOV Chelyabinsk: Metal, 1997. 272 p. // URL: https://fedordostoevsky.ru/research/aesthetics-poetics/
4. Kikhney L.G., Tsaregorodtseva S.S., Kuptsova M.Yu. On the problem of studying the phenomena of image and reputation in the literary space // Kazanskaya Nauka. 2022. No. 6. S. 20-22.
5. Lamzina A.V., Kikhney L.G. Echo of Edgar Allan Poe in Poem without a Hero and Anna Akhmatova's later poems // Litera. 2021. No. 1. S. 1-14.
6. Maksimov D.E. Poetic creativity of Valery Bryusov // Bryusov V.Ya. Poems and poems. L.: Soviet writer, 19b1. pp. 5-66.
7. Mileiko E.V., Statsenko A.S. Representation of the concept master in factory folk songs // Cultural life of the South of Russia. 2014. No. 3. P. 104-107.
8. Miropolsky S.I. On the musical education of the people in Russia and Western Europe. 2nd ed., revised again. SPb.: Type. care homes for minors. poor, 1882. 250 p.
9. Strashkova O.K. The Spirit of Music in the Artistic Reception of V. Bryusov and Modernist Playwrights // Bryusov Readings 2006: Sat. articles. Yerevan, 2007, pp. 105-120.
10. Chicherov V.I. Russian folk art. Moscow: Moscow University Press, 1959. 528 p.

Peer Review

Peer reviewers' evaluations remain confidential and are not disclosed to the public. Only external reviews, authorized for publication by the article's author(s), are made public. Typically, these final reviews are conducted after the manuscript's revision. Adhering to our double-blind review policy, the reviewer's identity is kept confidential.
The list of publisher reviewers can be found here.

Valery Bryusov's lyrical narrative is multifaceted, positional, and selective. At the beginning of the twentieth century, it was common to play with form, manipulate the reader's consciousness, and play out meaningful layers. This is probably why the lyrics of modernists acquire a special shade that needs to be deciphered and explained. The reviewed text is precisely a variant of the assessment of Valery Bryusov's non-trivial appeal to the implementation of a new theme in the lyrics of the early twentieth century. It is no coincidence that at the beginning of this work there is a remark that "Valery Bryusov in his work turned to the stylization of various genres, mastering them in an "extensive" manner. D.E. Maksimov notes that "Bryusov often used the extensive method, capturing all new areas and leaving what he had just conquered. Bryusov's poetry was open to a wide variety of spheres: both life and book. He used huge layers of historical and spiritual experience accumulated by mankind, finding in them what was close to him and necessary." If we evaluate the article as a whole, it is full-fledged, holistic, and conceptual. The topic of the work is revealed objectively in the course of the analysis, the target component has been achieved after the final. I think that the methodology chosen by the author is relevant, up-to-date, it does not contradict the currently available highways. The style of the composition correlates with the scientific type itself: for example, "among many genres, Bryusov's attention in the 1900s was attracted by the genre of working folklore a kind of urban romance. In the collection "Urbi et orbi", published in 1903, there is a section "Songs", which includes seven poems stylizing, respectively, songs the names of the six works placed in this section represent a feminine adjective (implying that it agrees with the word "song"): "Factory" (twice), "Soldier's", "Children's", "Girlish" and "Cheerful", as well as a noun in the genitive plural of "Collectors" (meaning "song of collectors"). Of great interest are two songs with the name "Fabrichnaya", which, as the title suggests, represent a stylization of the folklore of factory workers,"or "at the same time, in other stylizations placed by the author in the same section, there are quite a lot of references to specific realities, allowing the song to be associated with exactly the class or status whose song it is in accordance with the title" etc. I believe that the text array could be expanded not only by quoting texts, but also by expanding the analytical sense. This would obviously give the work a more complete look, a more complete format. The general assessment of V. Bryusov's lyrics within the framework of "urban folklore" is justified, verified, it is likely that the illustrative background is also sufficient. Its obvious practical component attracts in the work, i.e. it is appropriate to use the material in university and school practice. The contamination of the work is the deliberate fact of assertions that "the genre of "factory song" ("work song") was embodied in the work of Bryusov, who sought to master the maximum number of genres of domestic and foreign poetry, as well as folklore. At the same time, paradoxically, an example of successful stylization is not those texts that the author himself positioned as "factory songs" (these texts are genre-close to the so-called "urban romance"), but the poem "The Bricklayer", which turned into a folk song." Thus, the result, one way or another, is summed up. The work does not need serious editing, however, the text could be expanded with an illustrative base, with proper analytical component. The material correlates with one of the problematic vectors of the journal, it seems that it will be of interest to a potentially interested reader. The actual dialogue with the opponents has not been created, but it can be provided in the reception mode of this material. The reviewed article "Valery Bryusov and urban folklore: a game with genre tradition" can be recommended for open publication in the journal "Litera".
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