STUDIUL ARTELOR ȘI CULTUROLOGIE: istorie, teorie, practică – Nr. 2 (29), 2016

STUDIUL ARTELOR ȘI CULTUROLOGIE: istorie, teorie, practică – Nr. 2 (29), 2016

Nr.2 29, 2016

The article studies the drama works of Belarus in the nineteenth century to reveal the basic concepts of educating an individual.
Having analyzed the plays of Vintsent Dunin-Martsinkevich, Yan Bаrshсhewski, Wladislav Syrоkomla, Pavel Shpilewski and Heranim Martsinkevich, the researcher comes to the conclusion that the authors were deeply concerned about the moral values and spiritual guides of their contemporaries, who were increasingly focused on material and pragmatic interests.
To prevent the spread of low moral values in society, the playwrights off ered to base education on the following principles that were established many centuries ago: the multiplication of Christian virtues, love of the native land and respect for national traditions. Th e researcher believes that it is no coincidence that the generalized philosophical teachings about the meaning of
life, the prevalence of humanity in human souls were oft en puts into the mouths of mothers and nannies.

Keywords: Belarusian playwriting, ancient principles of upbringing and education, spiritual and moral values, the image of an ideal hero

Bazându -ne pe materialele operelor de dramaturgie ale Republicii Belarus din secolul XIX, ne putem forma o închipuire clară despre educaţia și instruirea omului. Analizând piesele dramaturgilor Vincent Dunin-Marţinkevici, Jan Barșcevski, Vladislav Sîrocomlea, Pavel Șpilevski și Gheranim Marţinkevici, autorul a putut constata îngrijorarea scriitorilor vizavi de valorile morale și orientările spirituale ale contemporanilor, care tot mai mult își concentrau atenţia asupra intereselor material-pragmatice.
Pentru a evita răspândirea în societate a indiferenţei, dramaturgii au propus să fi e luate ca bază a educaţiei, stabilite cu multe secole în urmă și verifi cate de-a lungul timpului, următoarele principii: sporirea virtuţilor creștine, dragostea faţă de plaiul natal și respectul faţă de tradiţiile naţionale. Nu este deloc întâmplător și faptul că principiile general-fi losofi ce despre sensul vieţii, despre prevalarea sentimentelor umane în sufl etele oamenilor au fost expuse de către autorii pieselor prin gura mamelor și bonelor.

Cuvinte-cheie: dramaturgia belarusă, principii vechi de educaţie și instruire, valori moral-spirituale, imaginea eroului

The problem of forming an individual has always been extremely relevant. It is important to analyze which spiritual and moral foundations of education and upbringing of young generations were laid in the family, and which moral foundations of human personality were supported by the society in the past century. The answers to these questions can be found in the Belarusian plays of the nineteenth century: Idyll and Madman by V. Dunin-Martsinkevich, Orphan’s Life by Y. Bаrshсhewski, Hrabia na Wątorach (Count Wątorski) and Kaspar Karlinski by Wl. Syrokomla, Dazhynki by P. Shpilewski and Evening by H. Martsinkevich. In these works the playwrights raise the topic of the moral and ethical content of the human soul, speak about the meaning of human life.

It should be noted that the Belarusian writers closely interconnected the subjects of parenting and education with the timeless socio-philosophical theme of equality between people. Th ese plays convey an idea that wealth and entertainment do not automatically endow man with all the virtues. The playwrights harshly criticized those who boasted of their status in society.

For example, in the comic opera Idyll the aristocrat Karol keeps dreaming of communion with beautiful women and big money. At the same time, he says that the life of his own bondsmen is «savagery». Th us, the character eliminates the possibility to fi nd any amenities among people who are on the lower level of the social ladder. But in the end the young man is fi rmly convinced that «the peasants have good hearts, that we do not know them and do not know how to live with them. […] I want to love them and I want them to love me; and I hope that, with the blessing of the Almighty, we will live happily together» [1, pр. 145-146]. He got rid of arrogance due to Julia who was in love with him. Despite her aristocratic origin, she easily fi nds a common language with the peasants, and she understands and has a good command of their language. Th rough her image Dunin-Martsinkevich refl ects on the dignity and humane treatment to every person on earth:

Że Bóg i kmiotków i pany
Zarówno uważa w niebie,
Ten u Niego jest wybrany,
Kto kocha bliźnich jak siebie [1, p. 92].
God in heaven cares equally
About a peasant or the landlord.
And he has the respect for those
Who respect the others. (Word for word translation)

In one of the fi rst scenes of the romantic drama Orphan’s Life Yan Bаrshchewski also expresses the idea of the equality of people. Helenka’s (main character) nanny sings an old song about a simple shepherdess, who became a princess when she got married. Th e sudden wealth and nobility did not change the good girl’s heart. She helped those in need:

The orphan-princess lived a worthy life,
She did not forget her woes,
Generously donated to beggars
And helped the unhappy [2, p. 345].

Wl. Syrakomla’s comedy Hrabia na Wątorach (Count Wątorski) also warned arrogant people against constant opposing to the «simple plebs». It was the idea of maintaining true humanity in the soul that sounds in the monologue of the main character:

Mnie od pieluch wmawiali, żem dostojne dziecię,
Że bez pracy, bez nauk, znajdę cześć na świecie.
Dzisiaj, gdym niedołężny, gdy mię hańba czeka . . .
Przeklęctwo, kto magnata odróżnił od człeka ! . . . [3, p. 174].
I was convinced from the cradle that I’m a worthy child,
That I can fi nd honor in the world with no job and no science.
Today, when I’m helpless, when I’m about to be disgraced…
Cursed be the one who separated aristocrats from men!…
(Word-by-word translation)

The idea of equality among people is vividly refl ected in the text of the dramatic poem Evening by H. Martsinkevich. Th e whole play is riddled with brotherhood motifs. Th is is manifested through the words «brother» and «brothers» that are used about 40 times. About 50 times the characters use words that are directly related to the high status or low origin of people (the word «gentleman» is used about 35 times, «man», «savage», «slave» — about 15 times) [4].

Back in the early 1840s, Dunin-Martsinkevich was one of the fi rst to express concern about the moral values and spiritual guides of the youth. In particular, in Idyll Karol, aft er a stay abroad, began to despise the common people, the people’s language and culture. Julia is convinced that this is due to his age and inexperience, «He was so young and irresponsible when he left us… But once in a society of tainted youth, he began to neglect the customs of the people and forgot my good father’s advice» [1, р. 104]. Th e francomaniac gentleman later regretted the years of learning:

Ja w szkole mody ćwiczony
Mylnemi zasady żyłem [1, с. 92].
I used to go to a fashionable school,
I lived a life not worth living. (Word for word translation)

In contrast to Karol, the young lady received education in a boarding school: «We learn to glorify God and perform the duties that our position imposes on us» [1, p. 113]. Julia contrasts with the European education of many young ladies, «who from a young age to old age are constantly taught salon manners» [1, p. 113]. Bаrshchewski in Orphan’s Life spoke bitterly about young landlords who «grow like poor cripples». Other people do everything for them, and they «think about nothing and grow like careless trees». Th e playwright put these ideas into the mouth of a peasant philosopher Bonka. At the conclusion of his speech, the character asserts that «then inactivity and laziness, lack of habit to face obstacles… force them to be arrogant, despise people, and fi nally… forget God, and then their descendants are crippled in body and soul» [2, p. 358].
These nobles are oft en brought up by foreign teachers. Meanwhile, the main female character was nursed by a local woman who knew the Belarusian folklore. It can be assumed that the nurse was not at odds with the girl’s mother in approaches to education, as it was Hanna who was entrusted to grow the little Helenka. Mother’s advice has a generalized philosophical nature, and it sounds in the song of Mother’s Spirit:

My son, love without measure
God, your land, your faith, and brother.
Endure the world, because life is not a holiday,
After all, it is like a dream that disappears [2, p. 352].

Dunin-Martsinkevich said in the mid-1850s that education should be based on the «multiplication of Christian virtues». In Madman, the playwright several times focused on the ideal of the educational principles of the past. In particular, the 16th century, when both the common people and the children of prominent persons, such as the Hetman’s daughter, highly appreciated their traditions and culture, in contrast to the women of the 19th century, who:

Z nowomodnego dumne ukształcenia, […]
Że przebiegły Suego, Balzaka, Dumasa,
Myśl ich tęskna w dziedzinie Montechrystów hasa!
Wstydzą się przodków mowy – z obyczajów szydzą,
W prostocie ich serdecznej barbarzyństwo widzą [1, с. 207].
They are proud of their modern knowledge […]
For they have read all of Sue, Balzac and Dumas
And their thoughts fl ew with Monte Cristo.
Th ey laugh at traditions and the native language,
And see barbarism in the simplicity of their hearts.
(Word for word translation)

The playwright claimed that it was a change in the principles of education that caused the new perspective on life for young people, which was more aimed at the material and pragmatic than the spiritual. It may be noted that similar processes in the sphere of culture were then highlighted by Syrokomla, who in his opening remarks to the comedy Hrabia na Wątorach noted that «being captured by the eff ects of French literature, our writers regret that our customs and traditions do not provide a basis for creating such a rich composition as in Th e Wandering Jew or Monte Cristo» [3, p. 127].

In Kaspar Karlinski, a boy named Sigizmunt dreams, like his father, of feat of arms for the good of the Fatherland. And he is ready to sacrifi ce his life to defend his country. From the words of his nurse Marta we learn about the traditional principles of child education in the local families:

Patrzy na oręż, wciąż o wojnach słucha,
Hasa na koniu przez poła i jary.
Czytaniem kronik rozegrzewa ducha,
Z Żywotów Świętych uczy się ofi ary.
Nic to nie szkodzi, niech przywyka wcześnie.
A czy on Niemiec, by się bawił w lalki? [3, pp. 199-200].
They look at the arms, listen about the wars,
Gallop on horseback through the fi elds and ditches.
Th ey warm up their spirit by reading chronicles,
See the sacrifi ce in the Lives of the Saints.
It does not harm anything, let them get used early.
He’s not a German to play dolls? (Word for word translation)

In H. Martsinkevich’s poem Evening one of the main characters Vasil says that the peasants «are not the clamps». By repeating this rude word meaning an «uncultured», «uneducated» peasant, the landlord alludes to the natural wisdom of the people. Education was the privilege of the wealthy classes, so the playwright three times brings the idea of science and knowledge, which are both a dream for a common man and a way out of the impasse in his modern life:

Children will learn to read and write –
To know God and the people,
Th ey will get many ways
How to live their lives [4, p. 87].

Shpilewski stresses in a scenic performance with Belarusian choruses, songs and dances entitled Dazhynki. Belarusian Folk Custom [5] that the main character Vera receiving an education abroad (in St. Petersburg) has not forgotten about her native land and the Belarusian culture. She understands the language in which prefect Navum addresses her. She easily changes her clothes into those of a simple peasant, goes to reap in the fi eld, and then brings a festive wreath to the landlord – her betrothed Borys. The playwright stresses through their names – Vera Paleskaya («woodland»), Borys Draulianski («wooden»), Navum Shchuka («pike») – their closeness to nature.

Thus, the domestic playwrights were extremely concerned about the education of the young generation. Most oft en, the authors advocated the principles of time-tested love for the native land, respect for tradition and the Christian virtues.

Bibliographic references

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