"You exaggerate!": Grotesque as an artistic reception

Many familiar with the term "grotesque", and someone even wrote an essay about grotesque in the work of N.V. Gogol or M.E. Saltykov-Shchedrin. What is grotesque, what are his main features, who of the writers loved to resort to this artistic reception and for what.

Viktor Wilner, lithograph
Viktor Wilner, lithograph

Grotesque as reception

Grotesque in literature is an artistic technique based on excessive exaggeration, combining unexpected, sharp contrasts, bizarre mix in the form of real and fantastic, beautiful and ugly. The distinctive feature of Grotesque is the inextricable connection of the funny and tragic, grotesque laughter is bitter, indigrant. Look at the world through the prism of Grotesque - it is like to look at all the surrounding magnifying glass, distorting real proportions. However, it is this optics that helps to identify the tragic essence of phenomena, reveal the vital contradictions, to discover the true, sometimes sinister and unsightly, nature of things.

Grotesque and Satyra

Grotesque is one of the techniques for creating a comic effect, it is often used in satirical purposes. In the Soviet literature, it existed that the grotesque and satire of concepts were almost identical: supposedly grotesque - "a shape of a satirical image, satire without grotesque does not happen." However, not everyone supported this point of view. For external implausing, fantastic in grotesque lies deep artistic generalization.

Grotesque and artistic generalization

The grotesque is always distinguished by biblosity: what seems at first glance with random, turns out to be natural, the individual turns around the typical, and a single case or phenomenon is repeated everywhere. Recall the image of the provincial city N, created by N.V. Gogol, which grows up to all-Russian scales. Such a generalization, often satirical, is largely achieved through the use of grotesque.

Grotesque and fiction

Grotesque always contains fiction elements, implausing. Fantastic may prevail over real or, on the contrary, retreat to the background. So, in the possessions of M.E. Saltykova-Shchedrin The narrative is based on a fabulous element, and fantasy is combined with topical political reality. The writer attracted a fantastic basis for a fairy tale, which allows in grotesk pointing to portray public and moral vices. In the works of Šedrin, the mass of conventions and domestic inconsistencies: from the wonderful resolution of conflicts to magic transformations and movements, giving animals and objects of extraordinary properties. Any plot situation in Shchedrin is communicated to complete impersonality or absurdity. Similar combination of real and grotesque plans creates an unexpected effect: terrible, frightening inconsistencies are found in the usual.

However, fantasticity, the unreality of what is happening does not always play a key role in creating grotesque images. So, in the "Petersburg Handes" N.V. Gogol, unlike "nights on the farm near Dikanka,", the fantastic element is moved to the background. And if in the story "the portrait" it is still strong, then in the "Sineli", "Nevsky Prospect" and even "nose" is already the character of a joke, false hearing, urban legend. Fantasy dissolves in urban reality and, faster with numerous real parts and details, becomes likely.

The successor of Gogol tradition became MA Bulgakov, in its satirical titles grotesque, that is, a fantastic exaggeration, also mixes with an absurd of surrounding reality. "Fantasy, growing in everyday life", according to E. Zamyatina, is a favorite acceptance writer. But the grotesque images of Bulgakov are created not only on a fantastic basis, many of them are easy to relate with reality, because the surrounding reality is so absurd that herself generates amazing grotesque forms.

Grotesque and hyperbole

Grotesque and hyperbole are often confused, as they are based on an exaggeration. The hyperbole is a figurative expression, a stylistic figure, which consists in intentional exaggeration used for greater expressiveness. In household speech, we use hyperboles to convey our feelings or impressions, emphasize the size of a phenomenon or the significance of the event: spoke a hundred times, to wait for a whole eternity, I have not seen a hundred years, I'm sick to death etc. In the literature of the hyperbole - a means of creating a memorable, impressive image: in one hundred forty suns sunset gruel (V. Mayakovsky), Sharovar width with Black Sea (N.V. Gogol), rivers, lakes, sea, oceans tears (F. M. Dostoevsky), and longer last day (B. Pasternak). In other words, with the help of hyperboles, we exaggerate the impression produced by the subject or phenomenon, but do not depict reality in the ugly-comic form, distorting items or phenomena themselves.

Grotesque in art

Grotesque as an artistic admission is widely used in art in general, not only in the literature, but also in painting, graphics, sculpture, music, theater and cinema. All unusual, strange, beyond the ordinary, exaggerated, distorted, incomprehensible, paradoxical is familiar to this term. However, the concept itself arose in the XV century and was quite concrete importance: the complex ornament was so called, which were covered with vaults and walls of the Roman Emperor Nero Palace of the Roman Emperor. In it, plant motifs are bizarrely intertwined with images of people and animals. The Romans called the premises of the palace with grottoes or caves (Grotta in Italian - Grotto), and fantastic, distorted images that he was decorated with grotescas.

As an artistic technique, grotesque begins to be widely used in the era of romanticism, but they appeal to it before. Pictures of Bosch and Bruegel, works F. Rabl, D. Swift and E.T.A. Hoffmann still remain samples of grotesque. Grotesque forms are diverse and can manifest in different ways. By this reception, artists resort again and again for centuries to comprehend various social phenomena of their time, expose their frightening, alogistic, absurd nature.

The grotesque is the highest degree of comic, manifested in excessive exaggeration or combining contrasts, the displacement of serious and tragic to the comic area.

Word values

Grotesque in different categories of art are called: 1) an image with a bizarre combination of parts and motifs; ornament with pictorial and decorative motifs (plants, animals, masks, figures of people, etc.); 2) the artistic technique, which is based on an excessive exaggeration, a bizarre combination of contrasts, comic and fantastic; 3) the name of the typographical font with a uniform thick of the strokes ( Study. ); 4) Dance type in theatrical and circus game built on eccentric techniques.

Origin of the word

The word "grotesque" comes from French Grotesque What is translated as "quaint." His etymology dates back to the Italian word Grotta - "Grotto, a small cave or vpadina."

Photo: Depositphotos.

The current value came from painting. In the XV century, archaeologists discovered the underground halls of the "Golden House" Nero, which was destroyed as a result of a fire in 64 AD. In the premises of the complex, frescoes are well preserved - wall paintings, decorated with a bizarre ornament from plants and animals. Over time, under the action of moisture, they began to collapse, but thanks to this discovery the word "grotesque" appeared, which initially indicated any distorted image.

Photo: Depositphotos.

Nowadays, in colloquial speech, Grotesque also call strange and distorted forms, replacing this word the adjectives "strange", "fantastic", "eccentric" or "ugly."

Grotesque in literature

Grotesque in the literature is a comic reception. From humor and irony, the grotesque is distinguished by the fact that the comic in it is inseparable from terrible. The first explorer Grotesque, the German Historian of Literature Karl Friedrich Fleugel (Geschichte des Groteskkomischen, 1788), wrote: " In the visual arts, grotesque-comic is in the caricature ... - In individualization, brought to the borders of the impossible, as well as in humorous contrast, where the noncometic things can be combined by itself "

In France, one of the main masters Grotesque was Francois Rabl. In the five-volume novel, Gargantua and Pantagruel, he considers the foundations of the worldview of the Renaissance and ridicules his enemies.

Also, the grotesque was widely used by Charles Dickens. In Russia, F.M.Dostoevsky resorted to Grotesque, who, according to Korofman, wants to scratch the heart of the reader in his novels in his novels, "N.V. Gogol (for example, the story "nose"), in the XX century - MA Bulgakov, I.G. Ehrenburg.

Grotesque examples

History of the term

The lexical meaning of the word grotesque goes back to the French language. The word grotesque, like the Italian Grottesco, is translated as "fancy", but the literal translation of the French word Grotesque is "grottoes", "referring to the grotto" or "in the grotty", from Grotte - "Grotto" (i.e. Cave or Vpadina) . This word, in turn, also goes back to Latin Crypta - "underground", "hidden", "Dungeon".

Grotesque meaning words

The term entered the spread in the XV century, when the Golden House of Nero was found as a result of archaeological excavations in underground premises - an unfinished palace complex, which was founded by the emperor after a serious fire in 64 N. e. Having a big fantasy and a subtle artistic taste, Nero ordered to decorate the walls of rooms and corridors with unusual patterns, painting with images of non-existent animals and bizarre species of nature. Subsequently, the palace was destroyed by the emperor Troyan.

Since the ruins of the palace complex were found in the Renaissance era, grotesque motifs quickly entered the culture of that era. The painting of underground premises gave fashion to create unusual patterns and images in the decoration of houses, finishing furniture, dishes, decorations and bizarre figures. Dragon with a grape vines in the teeth, a griffin with an apple in a paw, a two-headed lion, whose body is passing to ivy, - all these typical examples of grotesque in art.

Lexical meaning

Grotesque - a means of artistic expressiveness, which is based on a sharp contrast. It combines bizarre in one subject, it would seem that absolutely not combined concepts - in an equal ratio of simple and complex, realism and fiction, comical and tragic, ugly and funny, ugly and beautiful, cartoon and plausibility.

Grotesque in literature is a comic reception used to emphasize absurdity and in order to indicate the reader to something important, hiding for fun, at first glance, an event. Absurdity plays an important role: It lies the secret of understanding the idea of ​​the work. It is with the help of grotesca that can be called to many serious philosophical and witness.

Grotesque is in literature

Literature is different from other types of art by the fact that its content is impossible to see or touch it, but can be represented. Therefore, the grotesque makes emphasis to surprise and thereby wake up the reader's imagination with its atypical images. Among other things, this style is opposed by everydayness, expands the boundaries of the human worldview and allows authors to fully demonstrate their unlimited talent.

Synonyms for the word grotesque as a literary concept can be: cartoon, cartoon, parody, irony, satire, hyperbole. With some of these terms it can be confused. But from irony, it is characterized by the fact that it is funny and funny borders with terrible and sinister, and images in it, as a rule, have a tragic meaning. Humor and horror here - Two sides of one medal. Unlike hyperboles - excessive exaggeration, grotesque brings the situation to the extreme, to the absurdity.

In Soviet literature it was believed that grotesque - a form of a satirical image, satire without grotesque does not happen, and therefore these concepts are almost the same. But afterwards, many researchers have denied this point of view in their articles.

Distinctive features

Thus, it is possible to highlight the main distinguishing features of the grotesque style. They are easier to understand on literary examples:

Nose Gogol.M. A. Bulgakov "Master and Margarita"
  1. Excessive exaggeration, distortion, caricature. From the point of view of common sense, many grotesque images seem to be too implausible and strange. For example, in the novel of M. E. Saltykov-Shchedrin "The Story of One City" in the fictional city of Sillious, one dupler had a tider instead of brains, who gave one of the programmed phrases, and another was stuffed with a head.
  2. Funny and frightening inseparable. This allows you to demonstrate the characteristic contradictions and show witness images. For example, in the poem of V. Mayakovsky "Provered" there are images of officials who burst into two meetings right away: "People have been sitting down," while the main character, seeing it, exclaims that they were "slaughtered, killed!".
  3. Grotesque images can not be interpreted literally. It is not clear to the end that they can mean, so they remain incomprehensible to human mind and logic, thereby retaining elements of mysteriousness. Examples can serve as images from the works of N. V. Gogol "Nose", "Viy".
  4. Grotesque images fluently intersect and interact with ordinary. Grotesque "lives" in the composition of reality, which only enhances the comic and expressive effect. At the same time, the characters are often not surprised at the outgoing events from a number. You can recall the story M. A. Bulgakov "Dog's Heart": Even if people were surprised to turn a dog into a person, everyone considered it a completely possible scientific breakthrough, but not fantastic.
  5. Can manifest in the form of composite contrast. In the Roman M. A. Bulgakov "Master and Margarita" there is a bizarre combination of a domestic description of Moscow with fantastic images of Voland and his suits.
  6. Very often in the literature, this technique is used to describe the dreams of heroes. For example, the episode of Sleep Tatiana Larina from the work of Pushkin "Eugene Onegin": in a dream, heroine sees Onegin in the poor slag surrounded by a group of terrible animals and monsters - the author leads the descriptions of their grotesque images: "... one in the horns, with a dog face, another with a pet Head, here is a witch with goat beard ", etc. Another example can be the dream of Rodion Skolnikov in the Roman F. M. Dostoevsky" Crime and Punishment ", in which the hero sees the launching old woman.

Examples in literature

Initially, the grotesque was used in myths, legends, epic and fairy tales. Chimeras, Centaurs - All this grotesque images: For example, Centaur combines the traits of a person and an animal. Also, grotesque motifs are traced in the images of some of the ancient gods.

Another bright grotesque image is a blasphemy immortal, in which human is combined with unknown otherworldly forces and mystical possibilities. The image of Baba-Yaga also combines and ugly, and frightening, but also fun.

Grotesque is inherent in artistic thinking of such authors as:

Ernst Theodore Amadeus Hoffman
  • Ancient Greek Comediograph Aristophane;
  • Francois Rabl;
  • Laurence Stern;
  • Ernst Theodore Amadeus Hoffman;
  • Nikolai Vasilyevich Gogol;
  • Mark Twain;
  • Franz Kafka;
  • Mikhail Afanasyevich Bulgakov;
  • Mikhail Evgrafovich Saltykov-Shchedrin.

You can briefly list some well-known examples of grotesque in literary works:

Aristophane "Frogs"Gofman Kroashka Tsakhs, on the Nickness of the ZinnoberA. France "Penguin Island"
  1. N. V. Gogol "Nose". Perhaps the most famous work with a grotesque component. The nose runs off the face of the College Assistor Kovalev, a real careerist, and begins to live his own life, while being on three ranks above him. Through the grotesque, the author shows the image of an empty and pompous person who chases high status and thinks only about external effect, but, having lost it, it turns out to be unnecessary.
  2. Aristophane "Frogs". In this comedy, such serious topics, such as the fate of the soul after death, politics, creativity and poems, the morals of the society of that time are affected. God Dionis goes to the afterlife and wants to bring euripide from there, since after his death in Athens, there were no good tragics. In the kingdom of the dead, there is a dispute between Sophokl and Euripid, during which, instead of a classic antique choir, designed to accompany the phrases of characters, only the choir of frogs are heard. Their boil sounds like a laughter - in this and the grotesque is concluded, transmitting the absurdity of the situation.
  3. F. Rabl "Gargantua and Pantagruel". Roman makes fun of many vices of society, the state and the church of that time. With the help of Grotesque, portraits of two major heroes are created - Gargantua and Pantagruela giants. They live next to ordinary people, sometimes eating with them at the table and swim with them on the same ship. One of the giants is sitting on to relax to the Cathedral of the Paris's Mother of God and takes the cannonic kernels per flies. The grotesque culmination reaches in the episode when Pantagruel, having dried his tongue, closes his army from rain, and one of his faithful subjects accidentally finds himself in his mouth and sees the city and village there.
  4. F. Kafka "Transformation". Once the protagonist Gregor Zep is suddenly turning into an ugly insect, and the reasons for this event are not disclosed (as in the work of Gogol "Nose": the author simply states the fact of what happened). And although the hero retains human mind, as a result, he just dies in the insect, having ceased to be a burden for his family. The phantasmagoric idea of ​​the work continues the topic raised by Gogol in the work of "Nose": about how little a person means, having lost his social functions, and how he becomes unnecessary to close people.
  5. E. T. A. Krofman "Baby Tsakhs, on the Nickness of the Zinnober." This fabulous story is written in the genre of grotesque, thanks to this reception, the main figure of the work is the ugly body and the soul of the baby Toddha. A kind of fairy from pity shakes him, so now people cease to notice his bodily and spiritual ugliness, but, on the contrary, stretch to him. Thanks to this ability, he begins to make many non-resident actions, but still fascinates the surrounding. Only people of art and melancholic student Balthazar see its true nature. When, as a result, it turns out to be exposed, then in the spirit of Grotesque sinks in his castle in a pot with uncleanness.
  6. A. France "Penguin Island". This is a grotesque parody of French history. Mael's minor Abbot mistakenly accepted penguins for people and dubbed them, because of what many difficulties arose in heaven and on Earth. The emergence of the statehood of penguins is occurring, in their society, historical events are also occurring, the contemporary of which was the author. The situation seems absurd from the point of view of common sense.
  7. M. E. Saltykov-Shchedrin "Wild landowner". In this fairy tale, the greedy landowner expelled from his estating men so that they do not eat his bread, but in fact could not do without them. Soon he has grown, wild, and after some time he began to walk on all fours and "even lost the ability to pronounce the director sounds." This is a hyperbole and grotesque. His transformation in the wild beast rises the true nature of the existing power. It should be said that in many other satirical fairy tales of Saltykov-Shchedrin, elements of Grotesque are present: "As one man's two generals I punched", "Carace-idealist."

Sometimes whole novels are a set of bizarre images: they have a lot of different parts and episodes, which can be attributed to Grotesque. These include: "The history of one city" Saltykov-Shchedrin, "Master and Margarita" Bulgakov, "Castle" Kafki, "Dead Souls" Gogol. In poetry, grotesque is especially characteristic of Mayakovsky's creativity.

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