What will be written tomorrow?
What will be written tomorrow?
If they turn away, say them "I acclaim you coequally and I do not know is the one you were promised close or far away”
The Koran, soura 21, line 109.
As the embryo that does not look like a human precedes the birth of a child thus the origination of the new theme is preceded by something obscure and unattractive. The reason of that is in the history of the group.
A group starts to develop. Who can depict it well in a form of AS? The representatives of the group would deal with it the best of all. But they often do not have skills for doing that neither time nor wish to be engaged in affair unknown for them. Even if they try to do it, they would not make it. As the art and the channels of its promulgation are completely managed by the old groups. The others inspired by the group’s affiliation can not perceive the new group seriously and positively. They can not understand it completely – they just do not need it.
Let’s remember the way how the genre reflecting the culture of young town’s intellectuals – author’s song – was spread. The way how the rock culture stepped into the mass circulation. How the avantgarde in art and poetry achieve the spot beneath the sun.
That is why any new theme in the art starts with collective considerations, having nothing common with the object, or the scoffing. How did the theme of nihilism stated in Russian literature? Let’s remember Turgenev’s obscure thoughts in „Fathers and Sons”. Whatever can be said about Bazarov, moreover, with any note of characterisation? The same was with the theme about the clerks. Just then the scoffing was turned to Pavlov and Odoyevskiy.
One more example. The first professional scientist in the European culture was Socrates. He was the beginning of the scientists’ group history. But look how Socrates’ confrere Aristophanes scoffs at him. Humiliating, basely and primitively... He did not have any prevision what Socrates really worked on, moreover, he did not want to know it.
Then time comes and another Ancient Greek author – Ksenophontus – writes about Socrates seriously and respectfully. The new group came into the second phase of its development. Other scientists came – Ksenophontus himself, Platoonus, Lukianus, Plutarch, Elian... Platoonus’s written „Socrates’ Analogy” is the example of completely established scientists’ effigy – positive even heroic. The new theme started in the art.
Usually the theme is revealed not on the whole but partially – in subchapters. The most frequent types of subchapters might be highlighted as follows:
à) Description of different types of people, involved in the group. They are the main activists in the group but later perform also the associated work. Descriptions of mutual interactivity between the members of the group.
b) Interactivity of members of the group with the representatives of other groups. This interactivity concludes with moral victory of „their own people”.
c) Retrospective outlook onto the „dissatisfied ones”, „agitators” and „fighters” dividing them in „their own people” and „strangers” as well as their estimation through the prism of the new proposed group. Absolute exculpation of „their own people” doings (even totally negative – like manslaughter, boozing etc.) is related to the same issue. Besides, the glorification of „senior founders” of the group also makes one of the most frequent types of subchapters but the establishment of the group is described as difficult but prompt victory.
d) Remodelling historical events in the form it would be closer to the ideas of the new group.
We can rather often hear from the post Soviet intellectuals that only the Soviet culture transfigured everything in their own fashion. These words – similar transfiguration but done by the following – winners group. Soviet culture transfigured the history no more or less than any other. Literature about the discovery of America written by Indians and the Men is absolutely opposite. Notes about the history of polovtsi in the documents of North Caucasus nations – there depicted polovtsi hiding from the Slavs offence differ from Russian chronicles just to “Back to front” precision.
Only now the theme has been formed. Its further existence depends on the group where it was formed. The movement of the group gradually becomes more difficult. A lot of big and small associating activities appear. The group grows in quantitative form. Inside the group there are contradictions among different directions of activities as well as among people. At the beginning the art prefers not to mention these contradictions. Afterwards, it tries to „accuse it furiously”. But soon the contradictions can not be ignored. Then some subchapters that like the theme itself were positively orientated start to be lowly interpreted as negative. The transforming of themes starts and subchapters more and more often are transformed as anti-subchapters.
Let’s remember one of the most popular themes recently – sport. The theme was extra positive. However, gradually some publications appeared where separate untypical sportsmen, instructors, functionaries and businessmen connected with sport are shown as „bad people”. In some cases, sport leads to negative moral consequences. But it does not put a slur to this generally positive object. In the long run, the number of those „some untypical” subjects increases.
In some moment it is obviously clear that the group degenerates.
The health (initial objective of the sports system) is not only the most important thing any more but also is detrimental for this system. Former positive theme in the art turns into the anti-theme. Within the period of last years, sport in artwork and journalism looks like non-human system. For the sake of records and profits it sacrifices sportsmen’s health as well as takes back resources provided for development of health of lot of other people.
We should not think that the transformation of the theme is a fast process, moving forward along the steady front. Theme is alive and strong. It continues to subdivide into smaller sub-sub-themes. Fancy nuances of positivism are outplayed. Critics is written about it as well as discussions go on. It receives any kinds of premiums. But the anti-theme has already grown and appears up to scratch. It already is obvious; however, the most part of people does not want to see it yet.
On what expense does the theme live and even prosper during that period? Its minuses should have to be seen already by everybody? No how! First of all, the anti-theme is not acquainted yet. The consumers are still seeking for the theme’s exculpation. It is facilitated by two strong movements which are in the hidden reserves of the theme.
First step - "psychologisation". It is bases on previously mentioned identification. It is much more enjoyable to read, watch and listen a refined psychological nuance of well known theme, instead of trying to understand strange and unpleasant anti-theme. When the nuances of the theme are over, there is a huge amount of psychological nuances in this theme related to the characters’ behaviour.
However, "psychologisation" strongly influences only those people whose tastes had been formed during the period of the theme’s development. And this group of people is not so large. Just it disposes all levers giving the influence to the consumer – the system of distribution, critics, science, mass information, learning and education. This leading group oppresses those who were formed later or within the frame of other groups. For the last ones mentioned, the nuances of the theme are either boring or unclear. Our inquiries showed that nowadays the students of the senior grades who do not have any inferiority complexes think that behaviour and suffering of Tatiana Larina and Natasha Rostova are preposterous. (Of course, if we don’t take into the account seriously the girls’ thoughts written into the formal essays at school.) But for the group of lesbians (they also have their own culture) these characters would seem totally perverse.
We like to announce these facts as the degradation of the moral and non soulful. However, it is worth of thinking – how soulful is the efforts by any means to impose your artistic tastes to other groups.
Second step – dying theme announces itself as „eternal soulful value”. The movement is strong enough – it gives the possibility, not bothering itself with the arguments, to humiliate everybody who does not understand the basic theme or does not agree with it.
Example 51 "It is to say that nowadays, according to the data of instructive statistics, „Russian teenager” less and less addresses to Nekrasov and even if he takes another direction of his development, it happens after Nekrasov – and it might mean that he hardly moves forward. In such cases we most often are tended to blame a poet: isn’t he too old fashioned, isn’t he behind the age? But, probably, the question should be set up otherwise: isn’t „Russian teenager” behind the set objectives in his sometimes purposive preposterously soulful movement? Probably, this is not the matter of the poet but the uptight mechanism of solidarity, compassion and commiseration of „Russian teenager”?” (N.Skatov. Reading over Nekrasov. Literature Newspaper. 15.07.87. – Í.Ñêàòîâ. Ïåðå÷èòûâàÿ Íåêðàñîâà. "Ëèòåðàòóðíàÿ ãàçåòà" 15.07.87.)
It is interesting that the talks about the „immortality” of the theme start when the theme becomes un-actual even in the group it was initiated by. Besides, 99% of people automatically becomes „non soulful”. There are no real arguments standing up for the theme therefore those who throw doubt upon the theme are „non soulful”.
So far there are large possibilities for anti-theme. It is supported by other groups, too that fed up with „eternal values” hardly alive theme. The future is in front of it temporarily. The new generation will develop it, a part of those who did not succeeded in working with theme will move to anti-theme. Anti-theme that will become a new theme will be faced with the same destiny – at first "psychologisation" and afterwards including into the flake of never-fading and eternal. How many of them – eternal – disappeared, not managing even curse sceptics. The history of art shows clearly: as far as the theme is alive, it does not need the immortalization. This is a destiny of already dying, un-viable themes. Anti-theme like theme completes its life circle. The difference of the new art formations between each other becomes imperceptible. Identification turns into the standardization.
Then the lat impact is done by parody. Many themes, art genres ended their existence after having been impacted by the parody. Knight novel with its theme about noble knights – defenders was smashed by Cervantes’s "Don Kikhot". Soviet Russian story with the theme about exalted aristocrats and anti-theme about narrow-minded saloon marionettes was tattered by Sollogub’s „Huge world”. Theme about nihilism in Russian literature was ended by Goncharov’s „Landslip” – that was the parody on nihilism.
The line of the theme’s development started with the scoffing and ended with parody...
But - "King is dead, long live the King!!" The theme has scooped but "its idea lives and triumphs". Not a single theme (contents, not the title) has ever returned to the real, active art. But the blessed spot never stays empty. The theme transfers to its over-system. There are three ways for it (most often simultaneous).
The first – unification of the theme with another theme. The themes joining together, give qualitatively new phenomenon, approach, point of view. Such a new quality we see, for example, in Pushkin’s "Captain’s daughter". The romantic theme of saving the sweetheart (absolutely boring for Russian readers after twelve years long run of romantic stories) was joined with the theme of framers’ rebellion.
The simplest way of such unification – the pair formed from theme and anti-theme. Such a pair can be seen, for example, in the movie by Afghan producer Abdul Latif where two opinions about the war in Afghanistan are joined.
The second way – the transition to over-theme. It means, to wider theme for which the initial theme was just a coincidence. Thereby, from the „adventures” of individual temporal aristocrates (Besstuzhev – Marlinskiy) the adventures of all swell society (Odoyevskiy, Zhukov etc.) were depicted in Russian stories of temporal society.
Finally, the third way – change of „inner world”, conditions where the theme was developing in. The swapping of theme to another group, another culture. Let’s take, for example, such French invention as introducing the contrast characters in household situations (Jack Kazot „Devil in Love”). The swapping of this theme from France to Malo-Russ (Ukraine), ie., absolutely different conditions, gave a full ‘neath – genre of romantic stories. – Malo-Russian stories. One of the most famous examples (from hundreds of similar) – N.V.Gogol „Evenings in the village near Dikanka”.
Some kind of structural similarities of all three ways might be mentioned. The result is one – the new theme appears.
Its further development is well known. Considerations, scoffing, formation of theme, the sub-themes and later the whole theme’s changing, psychologisation and immortalization of theme and anti-theme, parody – and new transfer to the over-system.
Themes are mortal. There just are not „eternal themes”. But at the same time none of the themes „expire forever”. Getting through its work, they become the material for next, new themes that are temporarily actual.
* * *
Does the development of the thematic always go that way? Yes and no.
The thing is that the described scheme defines the development of the thematic AS in qualitative manner. There is a little bit difference taking on account the quantitative issue.
There is a well-known gag-man rule related to the creative work called "The Rule 20/80". It says, "Twenty percent of people on the Earth drink eighty percent of beer. The same is in the science". This rule is right also developing the thematic AS. Turning-points, systems’ transfers take no more than 20% of time every moment of AS. But during other periods – even less. The basic amount of ÕÑ contains only one „theme”: wailing for the passed thematic. While the less part of the authors are forcing through anti-theme, the biggest part of them stand for the old theme (and appeals to it regeneration). When the minority steps up to over-system, the majority announces the anti-theme immortal. And so on. Majority works for consumption. Minority works for the development of the theme.
However, the „weepers” for langsyne can not hold their position for a long time. Two generations pass and they are forgotten. And we start thinking by chance that minority – it was the art of those times. How do we visualize Russian literature at the beginning of 19th century? Pushkin, his social circle, the Decembrists, a pair of romanticists... It was quantitatively small and hardly known group (so hard to believe in it now!). The general social mass comprised by classicists, romantics, sentimentalists. Up to forty literary magazines and newspapers were published in Russia during the period until the 40-ties of 19th century. Hundreds or even thousands of books were published. It means – hundreds and hundreds of writers and poets. We call the literature of that period some tens of writers and poets who were not were popular then. Genuine popularity was not basked by Pushkin but Zhukovskiy, Batyushkov, Davidov, Barkov; not Gogol but Senkovskiy, Besstuzhev,-Marlinskiy, Sollogub. Our contemporaries answering the question who wrote the prose in Russia in the beginning of 19th century today remembers just „Captain’s Daughter” and „Dubrovskiy”. However, people at that time most often read other authors then – Romanists, sentimentalists and the classicists also had not given up its positions. Tens of authors, hundreds of talented writings. But times changed and understanding changed as well as culture (did not become worse, just changed!). Classicists are hardly to be read by our contemporaries today – the language has become obsolete and the thematic is not actual any more... And we easily give all epoch to that quantitative small group that is still understood nowadays.
Now, let’s generalize all above-mentioned in the form of scheme.
Parodies "Eternal verities" Clash into sub-groups Combination, super-theme, change of the conditions Considerations, scoffing Contradictions and clash with other groups. Criticism from other groups. Some deficiencies
Clash into sub-groups
change of the conditions
Contradictions and clash with other groups.
Criticism from other groups.
„Old good theme”
Further we will work with this scheme; new themes will be constructed objectively and objectively. Meanwhile, not to leave the scheme unfledged curlicue of lines, we will look through one of the most „immature” themes of Russian literature – farmers or peasant theme.