International journal

Speech Genres

ISSN 2311-0759 (Online)
ISSN 2311-0740 (Print)

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Kryuchkov V. P., Yakunina O. V. Possibilities and limitations of the psychological method in the analysis of a literary work (based on the analysis of L. S. Vygotsky’s psychological essay on “Light Breathing” by I. A. Bunin). Speech Genres, 2022, vol. 17, iss. 4 (36), pp. 293-301. DOI: 10.18500/2311-0740-2022-17-4-36-293-301, EDN: EOBRQK

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Possibilities and limitations of the psychological method in the analysis of a literary work (based on the analysis of L. S. Vygotsky’s psychological essay on “Light Breathing” by I. A. Bunin)

Kryuchkov Vladimir P., Saratov State University
Yakunina Olga V., Saratov State University

The article includes an analytical review of different conceptual approaches and interpretations of I. A. Bunin’s novelette “Light breathing”, which have emerged during the decades after the publication of L. S. Vygotsky’s article on Bunin’s “Light breathing”. The most problematic and discussible questions are the following: the interconnection and interdependence of the form and content in the novelette; the contradictory image of the young high-school girl Olya Meshcherskaya; the culmination motive of the main character’s “failure”; the conflict; the symbolic meaning of the light breathing dominant motive and the novelette’s final. The authors of this article explain that the genre definition of L. S. Vygotsky’s article is a psychological essay, containing prevalently individual subjective and imaginative impressions and comments of the author on some elements of form and content of the literary work expounded in the emotional style. The authors also analyze Vygotsky’s version of the form and content conflict in Bunin’s novelette, note the vague differentiation of “earthly” basis of the novelette and the chain of the events in the novelette in their “natural” consequence, that leads, according to L. S. Vygotsky, to Olya Meshcherskaya’s drawing into the “earthbound haze”. Based on the speech analysis of Bunin’s novelette, the characteristics of the novelette’s main characters are redefined. Considering the writer’s intention, the authors correct Vygotsky’s perception of the light breathing dominant motive. The genre of L. S. Vygotsky’s article on Bunin’s “Light breathing” is defined as a formalistic psychological and physiological essay aiming at revealing the mechanism of literary creation impact on the reader. It is noted that the critic and psychologist presented the formal, physiological nature of this impact in a classical manner, by realizing the potential of a psychological essay genre, that is by emphasizing only one element of the literary creation and basing on it the general conclusion about ideological and artistic content of the novelette. However, it is necessary to remember that the literary creation as a whole exerts an influence on its reader by the other elements of its form, which are rhythm, tone, vocabulary, intonation, speech organization, physical, moral, esthetic points of view of the author-narrator in the novelette.

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