Artistic Features of Character Portrait in Symbolist Prose (V. Ya. Bryusov and A. Bely)
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Abstract: This article analyzes the features of portraits in V. Ya. Bryusov’s short prose and A. Bely’s autobiographical short novel “Kotik Letaev”, which have never been studied in regards to the symbolists’myth-making. The writers of the second half of the 19th century assess the psychological states of a character and the metamorphoses they went through, which are usually reflected in character portraits, but the symbolists operate a different, synthetic form of psychologism. The first part of the article analyzes the peculiarities of visual characterizations in V. Ya. Bryusov’s short prose, which allows to draw the following conclusion: the portrait details that he introduces into the text serve to strengthen the multi-layered imagery of his works, and in “The Earth’s Axis” collection they assist in creating the tone of the narrative. The second part focuses on the portraits in A. Bely’s short novel “Kotik Letaev”, in which his descriptions of characters’appearance was influenced by his interest in anthroposophy and its concept of various bodies that a person consists of (the astral body, the ethereal body and the physical body). Bely was not interested in the “biological” aspect of a person. He depicts mental state of his characters and their fictional metamorphoses, which in turn motivate the inclusion of portrait characteristics in the text. Thus, the Russian literature of the 20th century saw the rise of a new approach to depicting a character’s psychological state, which in turn led to changes in the traditional methods of visualization of character appearance in the artistic texts.
Key words: VISUAL IMAGES; LITERARY HEROES; RUSSIAN SYMBOLISM; MYTH MAKING; LITERARY WORK.
Drovaleva, N. A. (2020). Artistic Features of Character Portrait in Symbolist Prose (V. Ya. Bryusov and A. Bely). In Philological Class. 2020. Vol. 25 ⋅ №2. P. 159-168. DOI 10.26170/FK20-02-14.