Статьи журнала "Современное образование"

LITERARY CLUB | B.Gabdullin. Famous and new names

What precedes the birth of a great artist of a word, respectively, the writing of a masterpiece, whether the era, time, socio-economic environment, the development of the general culture of the nation, cultural-philosophical thought are guilty; strict censorship or the brilliant work of a writer is born independently of these circumstances by the will of God?

In order to get answers to these questions, I propose to make an excursion into the history of human civilization, more precisely, into those epochs when masterpieces of the world literature of enduring value for mankind were actually created.
The first thing that comes to mind is the flourishing of Central Asian culture in the IX-XII centuries - the Eastern Renaissance era.

This cultural rise had a huge impact on the birth of the European Renaissance as well. During this period in Central Asia, great scientists were born, lived and created their remarkable works Musa al-Khwarizmi (783–850), Ahmad al-Farghoni (797–865), Imam al-Bukhari (810–870), Muhammad at-Termizi (824–892), Abu Nasr al-Farabi (873–950), Abu Rayhan Beruni (974–1048), Abu Ali ibn Sina (980–1037), Mahmud al-Zamakhshari (1075–1144) and others. They contributed to the flourishing of the world culture and laid the foundation for the Eastern Renaissance.

Without going into the details of their invaluable works, I will only note the typical traits of the culture of that era, which contributed to the birth of such geniuses. According to the great general Alexander the Great, who made a campaign to Maverannahr, he found there a high, very developed ancient culture. He saw something he wasn't ashamed to emulate. It struck him that there was no slavish submission, no will-lessness, no barbarism, no ignorance, but everywhere reigned high human dignity, courage, and the ability to create and admire beauty.

Above all, in Central Asia there was a great interest in such scientific and philosophical issues as the mysteries of the universe, its evolution, stages, structure, peculiarities of substances and the soul; turning the pursuit of knowledge of the various sciences, spirituality and enlightenment into an important criterion for social development. A special view on a man as the supreme product of the Creator of the universe was forged. The most important mission of a human being was considered to be the exaltation of human cognition and thinking, faith in it, enlightenment of people, and noble deeds for the sake of society.

Honouring the principles of morality, ethics, culture of communication was considered as the primary goal of human upbringing, conditions were created for just conduct, elevation of a person, aspiration to spirituality.
The era of the Eastern Renaissance was followed, about 200 years later, by the era of the Western and Central European Renaissance (in Italy – XIV–XVI centuries, later in other countries – XV–XVI centuries).

It was the time when titans of literature were born all over Europe: Rabelais, Boccaccio, Erasmus of Rotterdam, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Lope de Vega and others.

What was the reason for the birth of such great people?

Undoubtedly, this is due to a radical reformation in culture itself, which became secular and humanistic at its core, and to socio-economic transformations in the European society. Again, it is the human personality, efforts, intelligence, diligence, and not the nobility of ancestors that is put in the forefront. A man begins to see himself/herself and the world in a different way, the criterion of his/her evaluations, aesthetic tastes, attitude to the surrounding reality and to the past changes. The ideal of a harmonious, free, comprehensively developed personality began to take shape.

The Renaissance in Europe is also marked by the rapid development of philosophical thought, the emergence of natural philosophy, the dawn of natural science; science is closely intertwined with culture. This is vividly exemplified by the brilliant work of the great Leonardo da Vinci.
Let's go back to the XIX century, the epoch of the highest triumph of Russian literature. The magnificent figures of Derzhavin, Karamzin, Fet, Pushkin, Lermontov, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Leskov, Goncharov, Krylov, Griboyedov, Nekrasov, Tyutchev and Chekhov were all fit into just one century - the golden age of Russian literature. A single nineteenth century was enough for Russia, without any literary tradition, to create literature that equalled English and French in its creative merits and world influence.

Literature in Russian society finally acquires prime importance. It becomes the basis of the spiritual being of the nation. And the writer’s prestige is raised to the heavens as a teacher of life.

Now about our native Penates - Kazakh literature. Yes, it doesn't boast the big names that the Eastern and European Renaissance eras were famous for, but it experienced a burst of talents.

By examining the periods of the heyday of Kazakh literature in an attempt to identify the forces that struggled for the artist's soul and inspired him, I am likely to find that deep pathos and nerve inherent in true art that grows out of the gap between its eternal values and the dictates of today's confused world. Should we blame this world for not valuing literary labour, treating it as an amusement, a bling, and not as it used to be - a guide to life.
Abay's era. Herold Belger was right when he wrote: “Abai is great, Abai is a titan”. His poetry is the poetry of sacred texts. The river of life is the world's sorrow and the world's tears fill it. Abay is great as he created a kind of Iliad, The Divine Comedy, King Lear, Faust for us, the Kazakhs. A supporter of critical reason, an enlightened rationalist, a fiery fighter for the culture of the people and a tragic loner among prudes, vultures and slanty grey-bearded elder feudals, Abay was an outstanding phenomenon of his epoch not only in the history of the Kazakhs, but also in the history of the whole Middle East.

Abai's creativity did not grow out of nothing. It was preceded by oral folk art of akyns of the zhyrau period, poets including Asan Kaigy, Dospambet, Shalkiyiz, Bukhar-zhyrau, Marabai, Makhambet Utemisov …

When in the last quarter of the century before last, a religious-bourgeois innovation came to the East to replace the centuries-long domination of scholastic madrassas and fanatical mullahs, Abay showed a critical, cold attitude towards it. He rejected it for the beneficial influence of western culture and the culture of the Russian people

According to Murat Auezov, only classical poetry of Arab-Iranian and “Chagatai” antiquity as spiritual food was selected by Abay for himself from all the ancient culture of the East. Only Ferdowsi, Hafiz, Saadi, Nizami, Navoi and Fizuli received real recognition from Abay for their immortal poetic creations.

But from his youth Abay sought his ‘Kaaba’ not in the ruins of Islam, not in the East, but in the West, he followed a solitary path, went through the darkness and grimness of his epoch. In this search, he found light and happiness when the path led him to the “ungrowing folk path”, to the “Monument” of Alexander Pushkin, the great genius of the Russians. And perhaps the first of the visitors to the noble monument was he, Abay. He came to him as one of the first from the entire Middle East.

And today, with all his immortal creations, infused with the juices of folk and Russian classical poetry, he appears to our eyes as a striking phenomenon of the past. What he brought from the centuries-old spiritual culture of his people, what was so wonderfully enriched by the beneficial influence of Russian culture created the unfading glory of Abai's name as the shining peak of Kazakh classical poetry.

Yes, Abay learnt from the greats, stood on the shoulders of titans, but the birth of his priceless poems is in no way connected with the era in which he lived and created.

Abay's work represents an unattainable Mont Blanc of Kazakh literature, and he owes his birth to Allah alone. I cannot see any other explanation.
The 1930s. The next period of prosperity of Kazakh literature. A group of clever and educated bearers of the spirit of the Kazakh nation – members of Alash Orda movement -Alikhan Bukeykhan, Ahmet Baitursynuly, Myrzhakyp Dulatuly, Beimbet Mailyn, Saken Seifullin, Magzhan Zhumabaev, Zhusipbek Aimautov and, undoubtedly, Mukhtar Auezov. The time of their vivid creativity - the 1930s (Auezov created in the 1940-1950s) - falls on the period of changes in the public consciousness of people, expectations, searches, public depression. The future is still unclear, the country hangs in the agelessness. There is an anticipation of great tragedy and disaster.

Kazakh society is exhausted by revolutions, the uprising in 1916, it is in a kind of stupor, in spiritual disarray. Oddly enough, it was this very situation that provided a positive boost. Members of Alash Orda movement, who have received European education, worked for many years in Moscow and St. Petersburg, absorbed the first sprouts of democratic reforms in Russia, appeal to their native people with the call “Oyan, Kazakh!” (“Wake up, the Kazakhs!”)

We must not forget that at this time the brightest representatives and heirs of the Silver Age of Russian literature were working and creating in Russia – Leonid Andreyev, Maxim Gorky, Valery Bryusov, Alexander Kuprin, Ivan Bunin, Alexander Blok, Anna Akhmatova, Andrey Bely, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Sergei Yesenin, Boris Pasternak, Marina Tsvetaeva. Certainly, they were familiar with the work of many of them, and this literary school could not but exert its beneficial influence on their work. Thus, the hard time of confusion, the time of searching for their own way of development for the people was quite fruitful in creating their talented works.

Mukhtar Auezov, on the other hand, breaks out of his society and, despite any obstacles of the authorities, creates his famous novel “the Path of Abay”. Undoubtedly, Auezov's genius was nourished by the favourable influence of Russian and world realistic literature, and at the same time, the oral-poetic treasure of the Kazakh people had a predominant influence on Auezov's formation as an artist. He was known as an excellent adept of Kazakh folklore, from which he drew vivid images, epithets and comparisons, aphorisms, proverbs and sayings.
1970s and 1980s. The time of birth of magnificent works of Kazakh literature. It would seem that this was the time of stern Soviet party literature, when censorship was rampant, when the country was just standing up from the violent unanimity, the atmosphere of fear, adaptability and unscrupulousness, which, having let loose in this atmosphere, made people call black what yesterday was considered pure white, the ruthless repressions of the 30s, 40s and 50s. In short, it was the time of extremes, when people were not put in jail, but books were eliminated. An example of this is Olzhas Suleimenov's book “Az and Ya”, which the authorities confiscated immediately after publication.

But Kazakh writers in response to the bans went for a trick, they began to create historical novels that depicted distant history. This is how famous novels and dramatic works are born by Ilyas Yesenberlin, Anuar Alimzhanov, Abish Kekilbayev, Mukhtar Magauin, Takhaui Akhtanov, Zeynulla Kabdolov, Abdijamil Nurpeisov, Kaltai Mukhamedjanov, stories and novels by Berdibek Sokpakbaev, Maurice Simashko, Seytzhan Omarov, Muzafar Alimbayev, Azilkhan Nurshayikov, Saken Zhunusov, Satimzhan Sanbaev, Oralkhan Bokeev, Kabdesh Jumadilov, Sain Muratbekov, Dulat Isabekov, Tolen Abdikov, Kalikhan Iskakov, Akim Tarazi, Tynyimbay Nurmagambetov, Sherkhan Murtaza, Beksultan Nurzhekeev, Smagul Elubai, Adolf Artsishevsky, Yuri Gert. Shone in the poetry names of Mukagali Makatayev, Olzhas Suleimenov, Syrbai Maulenov, Gafu Kairbekov, Zhuban Moldagaliev, Tolegen Aibergenov, Fariza Ongarsynova, Kadyr Myrzaliyev, Tumanbay Moldagaliyev, Zhumeken Najimedenov, Mukhtar Shakhanov, Israil Saparbaev, Zharaskan Abdrashev, Shomishbai Sariev, Kenshilik Myrzabekov, Nesipbek Aitov, Iranbek Orazbayev, Bakhyt Kairbekov, Bakhytzhan Kanapyanov, Serik Aksunkaruly, Ulukbek Yesdauletov, critical thoughts of Askar Suleimenov, Zeynulla Serikkaliev, Murat Auezov, Sagat Ashimbayev …
I have listed quite a few names of talented writers whose creative heyday was in the 1970s and 1980s.

But among them stands out the outstanding figure of poet Mukagali. He is a unique figure and the pride of Kazakh literature.

He managed to preserve the purity of his poetry because the laws of social life (communist morality) had no power over him, he precisely followed his own talent and did not give up. It is difficult to find a writer of the time who would deserve to stand side by side with him in terms of fidelity to his creative criteria. It is when it comes to such writers that the phrase “A man - it sounds proud!” immediately springs to mind. Never was a member of a party, not involved in anything, wrote only about what he wanted to.

But then came independence. And, as if by magic, our writers quickly “exhaled” and calmed down. Later came a sad period for our literature. Firstly, a certain fading of the writer's enthusiasm probably occurred precisely because the long-awaited independence of the freedom-loving Kazakh people became a reality. On top of it, I think, new age writers have begun to create literature that tries to hit predetermined criteria, fitting reality to those criteria. Insincerity in literature ruins its quality. Therefore, the works of the last decades of Kazakh literature do not touch a sensitive string of public self-consciousness.

An outstanding Russian writer of Korean origin, our countryman Anatoly Kim to my sacramental question “Why no bright works are written in Kazakhstan?” answered accurately: “The phenomenon you have noticed relates to Russian literature. The exception is, without false modesty, only the works of Timur Zulfikarov and mine. And it happened not because we are particularly ingenious, but because we are internally free from conformism and in our creative work we express not “the demand of the time” and not “giving honour” to our nation, but we express a more important purpose - through verbal magic and miracle-working we bring into immortality our only, unique, inimitable, unrepeatable, inexpressibly deep divine Human Person, created by the Creator in His image and likeness”.

Who knows, maybe a great work by a Kazakh author is about to appear. Or maybe it takes time to write an outstanding piece of work about our era. Leo Tolstoy's great novel “War and Peace” comes to mind, which was written almost fifty years later than the described events.

Nevertheless, I believe in the works of the talents such as Zhusipbek Korgasbek, Kuandyk Tumenbaev, Yermek Tursunov, Yerbol Zhumagulov, Assel Omar, Daniyar Sugralinov, Akberen Yelgezek. Let's wait and believe that more works will be written and become national treasure.

Time will tell!
Magazine articles - Modern Education (Kazakhstan)
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