Devices & Hardware

Notes on the Semantics of Otzyv in Baratynsky

This paper describes the poetic uses of the word "otzyv" and the interplay of its two meanings ("echo" and "response") in Evgenii Baratynsky and other Russian poets of the Golden Age.
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   Irish Slavonic Studies,  15 • 1994 (1996), pp.75-101. Notes on the Semantics of Otzyv   in Baratynsky IGOR A. PILSHCHIKOV 1. A study of the semantic function of a single word in the author’s corpus of texts is not the esoteric enterprise of a scholar in his ivory tower, in our case at least. S.G. Bocharov, in his provocative study of Baratynsky, stated that ‘every poet has his or her own key words which are of the utmost importance. In the Baratynsky of the 1830s this word is otzyv  (‘response’)’ (1985: 100). M. Senderovich, having paid tribute to Bocharov’s statement, pointed out that in Baratynsky’s ‘metapoetic poems the content develops around the idea of response’ (1990: 185; cf. 221). I touched upon the theme of otzyv  in the context of the problem of communication in Baratynsky (Pilshchikov, 1992a: 19-21 and 27-8, n.22). Otto Boele (1994: 41, 44-5) added some interesting observations. The problem thus seems to become a real one. The aim of the present study is to outline the evolution of the semantics of this word in Baratynsky and to provide the minimal ‘outside’ context for his usage.2. The word under consideration itself is an ambiguity. In Baratynsky’s  poetry it is pronounced in two different ways: otzyv  and otzyv  (like  prizrak   and  prizrak  , etc.); both forms can be found in the frame of a single text or even in two adjacent lines (for example, in stanza XIV of ‘Osen”).  It can be translated into French either as écho  or as réponse  (on Baratynsky’s French self-translations see Frizman, 1970; Pilshchikov, 1992), and it can translate  both, thus having two meanings or even being two homonyms. It can be used in both literal and figurative senses of each of the two meanings just mentioned. This word can enter into the consturction ‘otzyv +  Genitive’ (thus corresponding to the French ''écho de...’)  or, alternatively, into the construction ‘otzyv +  Dative’ (thus corresponding to the French ‘réponse à...’).  And all these tensions can only serve as a point of departure for the pursuit of the individual textual meanings and senses that this word can acquire.We have touched upon two individual meanings which acquire a special 75  76IRISH SLAVONIC STUDIES significance in the Age of Romanticism. These meanings do not cover the whole of the semantic field of the lexeme in question. Slovar’ Akademii    Rossiiskoi  gives the following accepted meanings of otzyv  (the pronunciation with the second syllable stressed is recommended): i. vyzov, otozvanie\  ii. otklik   (that is, otvet klichushchemu,  S1AR:554); iii. otvet   (S1AR: 497); iv. otgolosok, gul, ekho  (see S1AR: 542). Otzyv  2 and 4 are those which Romanticist poets came to elaborate; otzyv  1 and 3 are more prosaic, the latter even bureaucratic: for example (1) vyzov, otozvanie : *<...> spokoino ozhidayu otzyva'   (Karamzin,  Arkadskii     pamyatnik,  1966: 337).(2) otklik’  . ‘no... golos v pustyne. II Otzyva net!'   (Zhukovsky, ‘Protokol    dvadtsatogo arzamasskogo zasedaniya'  , 1817; 1959a: 293).(3) otvet:  ‘<...>  polucheno mnoyu uvedomlenie ob otzyve g. ministra finansov   <...>’   (Pushkin’s letter: see SlYaP: 207).(4) otgolosok, ekho: ‘otzyv gor krutykh’   (Vyazemsky, ‘Vecher na Volge',  1816;   1982: 68). Slovar’ Yazyka Pushkina  fixes one more meaning of otzyv: (5) mnenie, otsenka  (SlYaP: 207-8; all the quotations are from prose works). Examples can be found in other authors, including poets: for instance, ‘ Takoi   otzyv ee znakomykh vsekh otbil!’   (Dmitriev,  LPrichudnitsa\  1794; 1967: 177).The word which we are discussing is a rare one in the poetic works of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The poetry of Lomonosov, Karamzin and Batyushkov does not provide us with examples of its use (although related concepts and lexis can be found in these authors, as well as in those cited below). In Murav’ev’s published works, otzyv  is used once, in Derzhavin once, in Dmitriev twice (referring only to poetry). Vyazemsky’s  poetry before 1845 gives us 4 examples (10 in all); Pushkin’s - 4, Zhukovsky’s - 8 (all of them are found in the poems written in the first two decades of the nineteenth century). From the aspect in which we are interested, the latter is a real predecessor of Baratynsky who used otzyv  9 times (related lexis is also strikingly abundant).1We shall see that the poems in 1See Shaw, 1975: 308 (to which should be added the example from the first version of    ‘Finlyandiya').  The significance of otzyv  is rather ‘semasiological’ than ‘statistical’: the   word does not enter the list of even the fifty most frequent nouns (their frequencies ranging   from 220 to 31: see Kjetsaa, 1973a: 40-41, or 1983: 29-30). However, its Guiraud’s coefficient (see ibid. and Baevsky, 1986, for the discussion) would be high enough: this word must   be considered as one of those ‘words which are significantly more frequently used’by  THE SEMANTICS OF OTZYV   IN BARATYNSKY77 which Zhukovsky exploits this word and this concept are involved in Baratynsky’s intertexts. Here we are faced with a ‘Zhukovskian’ vein in Baratynsky, who otherwise tends to find his inspiration rather in Batyushkov (especially in poems of 1818-25) than in Zhukovsky. However, differences  between Baratynsky and Zhukovsky are probably more telling than convergences. The theme of otzyv  in the later Baratynsky is very similar to the elaboration of this theme in Pushkin; consideration of these correspondences  provides an interesting example of rare contacts between the worlds of the two poets in the late 1820s and the 1830s. Finally, the otzyv  in Baratynsky always accompanies the theme of language,  that is the notion which enters different spheres of his poetic world and binds together such conceptual strata as ‘nature’, ‘culture’, ‘history’, ‘ar,t’, ‘communication’ and ‘existence’.3. It should be noted that otzyv  can be found in the earliest works of Baratynsky: in the poems of 1819-21 and prose translations of that period. In his translation of Xavier de Maistre’s  Le Lepreux de la cité d’Aoste, otzyv  is a complete synonym of ekho',  both words are used in adjacent sentences as equivalents of the French écho: <...>  эхо развалин замка Брамафана внятно повторяло: горе тебе   <...> и слабый отзыв горы, спустя долго после, прошептал: горе   тебе!... (Baratynsky 1822: 28)<...> j’entendis l’écho  qui <...> répéta distinctement: Malheur à toi! <...>   et l’écho  faible de la montaigne répéta longtemps après: Malheur à toi!(Maistre 1839: 252) The word acquires the same meaning in the first wording of ‘Finlyandiya’   (1820): Следы минувшего исчезли в сих местах,Отзывы праздные не вторят песне Скальда... (382).2 The image'derives from the Ossianic-Scandinavian colour of the poem (being ‘indifferent to cultural typology’ [Vatsuro 1981: 381], the poet confuses different topoi ).  Echoes of songs  srcinate in Macpherson’s texts, the word in question being used in Russian translations and imitations3of  Baratynsky ‘than by contemporary poets and consequently characteristic of his poetry’ (the   formula is from Kjetsaa, 1983: 26).2 Page numbers refer to Baratynsky, 1982, unless otherwise stated.3 Cf. the opening lines of Derzhavin’s ‘Na pobedy nad frantsuzami v Italii... 1799 goda' \  on   Russian Ossianism, see Levin, 1980.  78IRISH SLAVONIC STUDIES Ossian, for example in E. Kostrov’s prose translation: <...> звуки голосов наших услышатся иногда в пустыни, и камни   повторят слабые отзывы песен наших (Ossian ...Part 1, 2nd edn., SPb., 1818,   p.173; quoted in Kjetsaa 1973: 345). Baratynsky’s poem was written under the influence of two Russian poems in which the northern (Scandinavian-Ossianic) colouring had been used: Batyushkov’s ‘  Na razvalinakh zamka  v Shvetsii’   and Zhukovsky’s ‘Pesn’    barda...'.  (Like many of his contemporaries, Baratynsky did not distinguish  between Finns and Scandinavians, between Scandinavians and Celts, Skalds and Bards etc.) Unlike Pushkin, who ‘harmonized’ (Gasparov 1984: 150) Batyushkov’s stanzaic structure in ‘ Vospominaniya  v Tsarskom Sele’,4  Baratynsky repeated Batyushkov’s imagery (see, for example, Kjetsaa 1973: 346)  but used free iambs with lines of six and four feet; the use of this metre in such a context links ‘  Finlyandiya’   with Zhukovsky’s modified Ossianic song (on which see Levin 1980: 88-90). Batyushkov also mentions the absence of echoes of Skal’d:   ‘Gde prezhde Skal’d gremel na arfe zolotoi, II Tam veter     svishchet lish’ unylo’   (Batyushkov 1934: 60).5The word otzyv,  however, is not used ( ekho  is found in the first stanza: ibid.: 57).6 The narrator’s view point in Baratynsky is the same as in Batyushkov (the past is imagined by the present traveller), but the word for ‘echo’ is the same as in Kostrov and in Zhukovsky: Умолк... и струн исчез в пустынном небе звон,И отзыв по горам и дебри усыпились(Zhukovsky 1959а: 53). One of the pioneering texts of Russian Ossianism was Derzhavin’s ‘ Vodopad’   (‘one of the most historically significant works in Russian  poetry’, according to Pumpyansky [1939: 123]). Acoustic images predominate in the poem (ibid.: 116-17). In 1821 Baratynsky wrote a short poem under the same title (‘Vodopad’),  in which otzyv  is found again: 4 For Pushkin’s ‘Vospominaniya...’   in its relation to Batyushkov’s poems see Tomashevsky,   1956: 57-60; Eliash, 1914: 1-3.5 Cf. the final version of ‘Finlyandiya Умолк призывный щит, не слышен скальда глас [...]Развеял буйный ветр торжественные клики (8).6 The supposed prototext, Matthisson’s ‘Elegie: In den Ruinen eines alten Bergschlosses   geschrieben’, is quite different: see Matthisson, 1851: 71, 75.  THE SEMANTICS OF OTZYVm  BARATYNSKY79Шуми, шуми с крутой вершины,Не умолкай, поток седой!Соединяй протяжный вой   С протяжным отзывом долины (65). Baratynsky’s poem is obviously inspired by Derzhavin’s, although later reflections of ‘ Vodopad  ’ are also entailed; in a sense, Baratynsky’s poem is a Romantic ‘translation’ of Derzhavin’s ode. The poet borrows from Derzhavin characteristics of the waterfall as a natural phenomenon, corresponding lexis and syntactic constructions. Natural accessories, scattered about in the 444-line ode, are concentrated in three quatrains (the last of which repeats the first). The vast metaphysical meditation becomes a laconic self-delineation, written in a Batyushkovian-Zhukovian stylistic key. The very beginning of the poem echoes Derzhavin’s line: ‘ Shumi .  shumi. о   vodopad!’   (Derzhavin 1933; 176). There is no doubt that Baratynsky was aware of Batyushkov’s ‘Shumi. shumi volnami. Rona ’ in ‘Plennyi  (1934: 92; the theme of foreignness links the two poems). The noun ‘  potok  ’ and the epithet ‘sedaya [репа]’   may be found in Derzhavin (1933: 163), but Baratynsky reads Derzhavin’s poetry through the prism of Del’vig’s (as he often did in his early works): thus, ‘Gde  v bezdnu s mrachnogo navesa И    Sedoi potok shumit  ’ (Del’vig, ‘K   Fa«iazii’[1810s; 1986: 112]; note also ‘ bezdna ’ in the three poems). In the wording of the 1827 collection Baratynsky strengthens associations with Derzhavin’s poem; the second stanza  begins as follows: ‘Ya slvshu: svishchet akvilon. 11 Kachaet e I iy и    skrypuchei...’. The fir   (  spruce ) and the wind   are traditional in the description of the northern landscape; nevertheless, lexical particularities and syntax here are Derzhavin’s; thus: ‘On sly shit: sokrushilas' eV_...\ ‘Rev vetrov.    skryp derev...’   (on these Ossianic details see Grot 1868: 342-3). The next lines of the second quatrain: ‘Is nepogodoyu revuchei  // Tvoi rgv myatezhnyi    soglashen'   - which actualise Baratynsky’s ‘authentic’ motif, ‘an inner harmony’, also lean on the prototext: ‘On  [= volk - I.P.] voet soglasyas’s   toboi'  ; compare the first wording of Baratynsky’s quatrain: ‘Ya slyshu    grokhot vod tvoikh: U Svistya, slivaet vetr poryvnyi H Svoi vopl’ glukhoi i    zaunyvnyi /I S odnoobraznym shumom ikh'   (410).7 While describing 7 Boele is quite right when supposing that there is ‘a certain harmony between chaotic   (hostile) forces’ in both poems (Boele, 1994: 44—5, n.4). The wolf from Derzhavin’s   ‘Vodopad’ (‘Volk ryshchet vkrug tebya  [...]/ sherst’ na nem shche.tinoi zritsya’)  reappears in   Baratynsky’s 'Primety'   (‘... volt IIKrutyas’ ipod”emlya shchetinu...’).  This poem presupposes a non-existent harmony between primitive man and nature; it is relevant to the development of the oizyv  dialogism in Baratynsky (we shall return to this point below). For the   parallel see Vyazemsky’s ‘Braiton’   (1838).
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