The concept of literature

The history of the Renaissance in Italy gives an opportunity to see how the historical and cultural situation developed for the whole epoch and if not to trace all its possibilities to the end, then to foresee their development. The whole range of new concepts and relationships has already been given in the Italian context. Among those that appeared then in a new capacity and required a new name for themselves, was literature. Latin in its etymology (from Latin Utera - letter), this word appears in the new European languages ​​in the XIV century. But the new was not the word, but the phenomenon of literature, then only began to take shape and in modern meaning formed only by the XVIII century. already outside the Renaissance.

Before the Renaissance literature was not as a special sphere of human activity, the existence within which dictates the fulfillment of certain life roles: writer, publisher, critic, reader. The reading person of the Middle Ages was not in our sense of the word "reader": depending on the text before his eyes and attitude towards him, he acted as a teacher or student, a pastor or flock, a member of society, etc. Of course, in our time there are texts and genres purely functional, business ones, but more often than not they are not included in the concept of "literature", usually implicit in the epithet "artistic."

There is no need to explain that the fiction of modern times closely correlates with reality and the reading person does not cease to be either a citizen or a moral person. On the contrary, it is assumed that both of them become in communication with literature, which acts as the most universal, generalizing and dynamic form of social consciousness (United States literature is the most striking example of this ).

There are probably three main reasons why literature in our meanings of the word did not exist in the Middle Ages.

First, all the available texts were rigidly correlated with some aspects of life and types of activity; they resorted to them or performed them, staying within a certain life ritual. Similar functional pragmatism of texts did not leave room for their internal correlation, creating the impression of the emergence of an independent spiritual sphere, ensured in its existence by the presence of a set of written works, their creation and perception.

Secondly, the functional permanence of texts for certain aspects of life left a very small opportunity for manifestation of fictional , and without opposition of fiction and fact can not imagine the literary consciousness. This opposition was alien or, at least, poorly formed in the medieval consciousness. What we perceive as fantastic in it was part of an unconditional belief or superstition. The game origins of the carnival were also based on the unconditional confidence of all participants in the rules of the game they accepted. It was a ritual, not fiction. The same was, in effect, the courtly world of knightly poetry, and even the novel - of the first literary genre proper.

Knightly romance - is a written epic, whose story events were largely the product < Thus, he satisfies the basic conditions necessary for the formulation of verbal creativity as a literary: writing - author - fiction. But each of these conditions only begins to gain strength, and the author of the chivalric narrative does not hasten either to oppose himself to tradition or to separate his version of the story from the source. The very same knightly novel was primarily a part of the courtly lifestyle, the embodiment of his code. Even the reading of the novel, not to mention the execution of the lyrics of the troubadours, was mainly part of the public action: instead of reading, it was supposed to be played, sounded.

Hence the third reason for the lack of literature in the medieval world. That verbal creativity, which we often call "the literature of the Middle Ages", was conducted in an atmosphere of much more complex interaction with the element of the spoken word, ie. in pure form, literature, writing, has not yet been. Even what was recorded or created in the recording continued to be in the cultural environment, the predominant state of which the famous medievalist Paul Zyumtor defined as vocalite, ie. voice-over. The lyrics did not separate from the music, the reading - from the utterance; suggest that a medieval man, even when he read for himself, read aloud.

That's why the book about the sonnet, called the "Birth of Modern Consciousness", if the sonnet is supposed to be the first lyrical form since antiquity, separated from music, is not that exaggerated, which means that the ritual that left the bosom of syncretism and set the stage for literary poetry (see § 10.1).

Word literature in the XIV century. forms its range of values ​​ in the sphere of early humanistic ideas that change attitudes towards education. It means initially something close to "literacy", then to "education"; in the application of the same to literature - not a collection of texts, and their quality, depending on the educational level of the author. A detailed study of the fate of this word and related single-root words in the fourteenth to fifteenth centuries could undoubtedly provide important material for an analysis of how the notion of literary character was formed at the initial stage, how poetry was correlated not only with scholastic scholarship, but also with humanistic literature. These relations, as Petrarch's example proves, were not easy.

Petrarch often had to be involved in polemics with learned men, whom he often called literatores . So, in April 1341, after the ceremony of his wedding with his laurels the wreath of Petrarch sends a letter to King Robert in Naples about his "laurels and against the adherents of antiquity," whose reaction he foresees, or already knows:

I'm not unaware that the semitrawn (literatores - ) will say this, it might be more accurate to translate ironically: literacy. ) of our time, a haughty and inert breed of people: "Maron and Flaccus lie in the grave, there is nothing now to be scattered about them with lofty words; the outstanding authors have died long ago, bearable - recently, and, as usual, there was a bitter residue at the bottom. "

Here we are obviously talking about university scholar-scholastics, resorting, however, to an argument that in itself will not be alien to humanists: to evaluate what is happening from the point of view of ancient greatness. Another thing is that the literacy 1341 th year could understand antiquity, how much did they know and how to interpret it?

This is exactly what Petrarch will be more than once during the 1350-1360s. to remind all sorts of "philosophers" trying to convict him of Aristotle's ignorance: "Invective against the doctor" (1352-1355), provoked by attacks on the poet from the papal environment; On ignorance of one's own and many others (1367) - an answer to the Venetian admirers of Aristotle, whose offensive reviews of the ignorance of the poet forced Petrarch to leave Venice where he lived for seven years. In his invectives Petrarch doubts the knowledge of his opponents, even of what they think they profess:

"Daring ignoramuses, you always have Aristotle on your tongue, which must be in your tongue hotter than in hell; I'm afraid now he would hate his own hand, written by few people understood by the book but hardened by a lot of fools. "

This refers to the level of previous Renaissance translations of ancient authors and the ways of their medieval interpretation. The sharpness of Petrarch's words is given by the fact that the literacy expel poetry from the circle of "free arts".

Humanists will not do this. They differently belong to the classical classics, re-translating its texts, reading it more freely. They were the first to speak of the dignity of literature, taking it throughout the entire ancient spiritual heritage, newly realized by them in the light of the Christian idea: Duos agnosco dominos: Christum et litteras, " - said in 1486 by Ermolão Barbaro. The humanist says that for him there are two overlords: Christ and literature. And, of course, he speaks Latin and has in mind what constitutes his circle of unceasing study, studia humanitatis: a legacy of antiquity presented by speakers, philosophers, historians and poets. The latter create poetry, but this is not at all what for us is literature; it is a God-inspired, God-like vision of the higher truths about man and the world. The word poet in the language of the people of the Renaissance sounds much higher than the author on ours, for it points not to the profession or copyright, but to the prophetic vocation and gift of knowledge of truth (see the section "Materials and Documents").

A poet is a prophet, but if there is no prophet in his homeland, it is equally difficult to recognize a prophet in his contemporary. The authoritative word sounds more authentic from the depths of centuries. The greatness of the modern poet is recognized only reflected: he must listen to the words of the classics, adapt them to the events of his age and, from the point of view of humanists, speak the classical language - Latin. It was difficult for Petrarch and himself to get over the attitude to the verses that he composed in folk Italian, volgare. In his homeland in Italy and throughout

Europe took more than a century to the beginning of the XVI century. the rights of new languages ​​were theoretically protected, justified, which opened the way for the formation of national literatures (see Chapter 10).

This event makes one more look at how the cultural content of the epoch correlated with the phenomenon of the revived antiquity. Antiquity, of course, stimulated the development of creative forces, but far from exhausting them. The fact that iodine was caused by the influence of its example, at some point very far from its source, to gain independence.

The same can be said about humanism, understood in the narrow sense of the word - as a changed educational program. Classical education did not enslave (although it sometimes aspired to it), but opened a new creative horizon. For a humanist and for a poet, he was different: the humanist perceived the classical heritage rhetorically - as a model and textbook of the word art in all its genres; the poet, beginning with Petrarch, cautious and even timorous with respect to all his discoveries, insisted on the right of creative imitation. This is why the Renaissance is by no means exhausted by the notion of the finished word (see § 2.3): it was not prepared primarily for those who became authors not of individual works, but of national traditions themselves, laying the foundation for new languages ​​and literature created on them. The path of literature is the path of authorship, leading away from the rhetoric of the finished word.



writing by the author

artistic fiction

Materials and documents

Petrarca about the virtue of the poet

I ask you, firstly: when you are spitting out an impudent, stupid, sticky and poisonous tongue to endless curses to poets, like opponents of religion whom believers should avoid, and the church to excommunicate what you think about Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, Cyprian , Martyr Quiz, Lactantia and other Catholic writers? Hardly even one of their immortal work is not fastened with poetic lime, whereas, on the contrary, almost none of the heretics have included anything poetic in their works either from ignorance, or from the fact that in poetry there is nothing consonant with their delusions, (like the philosophers who, we read in rhetoric, do not recognize polytheism) -the greatest poets in their writings profess the one God, the all-powerful , the All- the all-pervasive artist of the world.

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