Grotesque in Bunin’s Prose and Journalist Essays
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Abstract: The following article contains a study of grotesque forms of poetry and writing used by Bunin for portraying the state of Russian life from 1916 to 1920s based on the contents of his two stories and three journalist works. I is shown that Bunin’s grotesque style is not related to comic aspects of his artistic mind (M. M. Bakhtin), but is rooted from the tragic worldview and in its contents are related to such categories as frightening, absurd, das Unheimliche (horrible, omnious), monstrous (W. Kayser, I. P. Smirnov). A plentora of grotesque forms of poetry and writing is unveiled. In “Old lady” and “Mad painter” stories, an atmosphere of grotesque is created with a whole system of contrasts, introduction of a grotesque subject and also an intermedial visual pattern, which originates from a teratological style of medieval visionary art, and principles of fine arts as a whole. In “old lady” the narrator plays a role of a grotesque object, he emphasizes the grotesque reality by grotesque narrative. In “Mad painter” this role is occupied by a character who is not only contrasted to the world but is also a creator of das Unheimliche, whish deforms this world. In the stories reality is shown indirectly – through different reflections / mirrors that transform unique to regular and play a role of a magnifying glass, which even further unveils the monstrosity and absurdity of the earlier mentioned facts. In “Notorious pig” the grotesque narrative is completed by many grotesque subjects, suppressed by the objective course of events, stripped off their personal identity and created the horrible “documents of age”. “Moonshine and champagne” highlights the topic of sweet soulfulness of intellectuals towards the people. In “Human finger soup” grotesque imagery, appearing from epistolary dialogue with Gorky becomes a means of symbolic synthesis. Cannibalism is explained as a base for new Russian regime. In journalist works, Bunin extensively utilizes the effect of alienation, dissolution of subjective identity in objectivity, a principle of a magnifying glass. Bunin’s grotesque, enriched with bright objectivity and visuality of linguistic imagery, becomes a powerful means of conceptualization of the writer’s thought and its aesthetical embodiment.
Key words: JOURNALISM; GROTESQUE; INTERMEDIALITY; LITERARY STYLES; LITERARY CREATION; RUSSIAN WRITERS; STORIES; ESSAYS.
Prashcheruk, N. V. (2020). Grotesque in Bunin’s Prose and Journalist Essays. In Philological Class. 2020. Vol. 25 ⋅ №2. P. 48-57. DOI 10.26170/FK20-02-04.