Home Releases # 13. 2019


Literary Сriticism , UDC: 821.161.1 DOI: 10.25688/2619-0656.2019.13.01


  • Romanova Galina Doctor of Philology, Associate Professor


The article deals with the initial stage of using the word image as the term of the literary criticism in the works of writers of the 18th century. Based on the comparative analysis of the dictionaries of the 19th century, it is found that the word obraz can mean both form and content. According to the Church Fathers, the word obraz, which is a calque from ancient Greek, has an important spiritual meaning. This meaning is retained in icon painting. Russian authors of the 18th century used the word obraz as a term referring to the form in their translations from European languages. M. V. Lomonosov consistently used the word obraz in his rhetoric in the meaning of “icon” (content) when talking about cult and religion, and in the meaning of “form” in his translations of fragments from foreign literature. The book Letters of a Russian traveler by N. М. Karamzin played an important role in the term formation. Following Lomonosov’s traditions, Karamzin used various approaches to the original Russian vocabulary for more accurate translation of the foreign texts. The article examines the translation of Cervantes’ expression “The Knight of the Woeful Countenance” (“El Caballero de la Triste Figura”) from his novel Don Quixote of La Mancha. The original expression in Cervantes’ novel El Caballero de la Triste Figura was translated into English as Knight of the Illfavoured Face (T. Shelton, 1612). In the book A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy by L. Sterne this phrase was translated as The Knight of the Woeful Countenance. It is a well known fact that the novel by Sterne infl uenced Karamzin. But in his translation he used the word obraz with the deeper connotations than the figure, face or countenance. This expression conveys the deep tragedy of Don Quixote’s character, and not just the absurdity of his fi gure or the painful expression on his face. In his book Karamzin successfully used the ability of some abstract nouns of the Church Slavonic language to change their meanings depending on the context, he also enriched the range of meanings of some words, in particular, the word “image”. The meaning of the term obraz as a designation of sensually perceived form, which the writer used in the Letters of a Russian traveler, was later entered in the Dictionary of Ancient and New Poetry by N. F. Ostolopov. The article concludes that some vagueness and ambiguity in the meaning of the modern literary term obraz (image) is deeply rooted in the history of the word and is related to its etymology. The analysis shows that the polysemy of the modern term obraz (image) (artistic) can be explained by the fact that the meanings of the homonyms are not well distinguished. Throughout its life the word has never acquired a single meaning as a term, but has considerably broadened the paradigm of its meanings, which can be confi rmed by modern theoretical works.

How to link insert

Romanova, G. . (2019). THE TERM IMAGE: TO THE ORIGINS OF THE LITERARY TRADITION (OF “LETTERS OF A RUSSIAN TRAVELLER” BY N.M. KARAMZIN) Bulletin of the Moscow City Pedagogical University. Series "Pedagogy and Psychology", # 13. 2019, 8-19. https://doi.org/10.25688/2619-0656.2019.13.01
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