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Corpus analysis of the Russian verse

Linguists know quite well what a body is. On PostNauka many times it was said that now in the hands of linguistic scientists and those who create useful products for electronic services related to language, there is such a tool – the case. This is a collection of texts, often a large collection. More than one person knows or can remember. On these texts there is an electronic search, which in no time, in less than a second, gives a response on request.

Thanks to the body, we understand better how the language is arranged, what it contains, what it does not have, how it functions and what features there are in it. What was previously available only through the introspection of the scientist, thanks to his immersion in the subject, thanks to his memory and other personal competences, is now available with an electronic instrument.

Corpus analysis of the Russian verse

Literary scholars are slightly less aware of this instrument, although it can also be of use to them. But it can not be said that none of the literary critics know anything about the corps, it would be untrue. The most advanced, modern researchers are aware of this tool, but the use of its potential is yet to come.

Among other poetic traditions in a particularly advantageous position is the Russian poetic tradition, because in Russia a tool called “poetic corps” was created. It contains poetic texts from the XVIII century to our days, although this is the most representative of the corps until the middle of the 20th century. But everything is ahead, it is replenished, and everything will surely be fine.

Thanks to the body, we know a lot about the history of Russian poetry from the XVIII to the middle of the XX century. If earlier it was necessary to read and memorize all the poetic texts during this time – of course, a completely unimaginable task for a person whose possibilities are limited – now we can ask the corps questions we need and find out the answer.

Not only that in the poetic body there are texts in large numbers, there are also special search possibilities. For example, to search only for rhyme or some other features of poetic texts is a poetic meter. We can make a special request and ask the corps for texts that were written by a four-legged amphibrachie between 1840 and 1890. And more to ask if there were any special words in these texts that might interest us. This tool has a very large research and academic potential.

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First of all, thanks to the body, we can model for ourselves a reader of a certain era. It’s not very simple. We studied at a modern school and know almost everything that was written after Pushkin. We are well aware of the literature of the later era, and it is very difficult for us to get distracted from this knowledge. It is difficult to immerse themselves in the 20-ies of the XIX century and imagine what was known at the time the reader – the ideal reader, not some kind of a real person, whom we will never know what he had read in his life, and what is not. And that the reader of that Pushkin era seemed organic in the text, which for him was outstanding, new.

With a poetic body, strangely enough, the not very meaningful themes of school compositions acquire a special role and even sense. We all wrote an essay on the nature of nature in Esenin’s work. Thanks to the body, we can just find out whether the truth is unique in the works of Yesenin, Pushkin, Baratynsky, or just like the rest. Let’s look at an example.

In Russian poetry there is an unusual author, a little mysterious, although we pass it in school and he does not immediately make such an impression. This is Fedor Ivanovich Tyutchev. If we look in the literature, there is written that Tiutchev first wrote poems in imitation of Derzhavin, like others of his contemporaries or predecessors, and from a certain point began to write unlike other scriptures, to their original style. The boundary between imitation and originality falls on the poem “Gleason”, written in 1825. Thanks to the poetic body, we can try to understand, and where in this poem lies the very originality, where this grain is, maybe everything in it is like everyone else. And we can limit the request to the same year 1825 and imagine that the building is the place where the reader’s perception of Tyutchev’s contemporary is stored.

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Here is a contemporary Tyutchev opens a poem and sees the name “Gleam.” We can ask the corps a request, where in Russian poetry before Tiutchev the word “glimpse” appeared. Of course, not all poetic texts written in Russian will present to us the poetic corpus, but it gives a rather good representative sample. We find that in the case the word “glimpse” before Tyutchev appears only in one product – the poem “Gleam” Gavrila Derzhavin. That is, the name itself is not peculiar. On the one hand, it clearly goes back to Derzhavin, and perhaps Tiutchev’s contemporary was aware of this connection. Still, Derzhavin was the author of the first series, and his poems knew much better than now. Not only the ode “God” or “On the death of Prince Meshchersky”, but also other poems that are now not included in the school curriculum. Here we can already put ourselves a notch and remember that there is a connection between Tyutchev and Derzhavin. And she repeatedly declared on the material of other poems Tyutchev. That is, it does not look inorganic, but generally for Russian poetry it is not very common. The word “glimpse”, it turns out, is not the most frequent in it, the poem is so called infrequently.

Corpus analysis of the Russian verse

Next we look, how the first stanza is arranged. In fact, we can read the entire poem with the help of the case, but it is long, and, of course, the full analysis will not fit into our small lecture format. But we can see what is written there.

“Did you hear deep in the dusk?”

Air harp light ringing »

It turns out that the word “twilight” is not a frequency, as we expected, because the dusk, on the one hand, the word is quite poetic, and on the other hand, it appears that only since the XIX century, wrote poems about it. The entire XVIII century seemed not to notice this word. If we think a little, we will understand that it should be so. The fact that the word “twilight” draws in front of us a vague picture of something indistinct, and yet XVIII century – a century of clarity, clarity, consistency, consistency, a century classicism. And therefore in poems this word of poets is not very interesting.

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The deep dusk is a special combination. In the nineteenth century, in Russian poetry, it happens with different shades. As for the dusk of the deep, it turns out that a deep twilight is in some way a very special combination. We will not find that every poet uses it once. But we see Tyutchev’s predecessor. It turns out that the phrase “dusk deep” is found in Zhukovsky’s poetry. And here we see that Tyutchev is creatively reworking the poetics not only of Derzhavin, but also of other authors, whom the poet knows, his contemporaries.

Corpus analysis of the Russian verse

Of course, we can not confine ourselves to one “deep dusk”, we must read the whole text. A special impression will be made on the person who will check each combination of words with the help of the hull, that the air harp is a special musical instrument. It does not resemble an ordinary harp, it is differently arranged. The air harp in his poetry, it turns out, is also mentioned only by Zhukovsky. And no one else has such a combination of words in the body – at least until 1825. This does not mean that they were not at all. But in the case we still see a good sample and we can imagine what Tyutchev’s contemporary was reading and keeping in mind.

Already on the first two rows, we see how the new poetics Tiutchev largely independent of the old classicists and archaists, as they were called in Russian science of the first half of the XX century, but from the new poets, Arzamasians, including from Zhukovsky, which Tiutchev was friendly and talked well. Understanding where the uniqueness, the originality of poetics, and where something common and like everyone else, we can draw from the careful analysis of the hull and the model that this corps provides us. It is necessary to understand what poetry looked like and what ordinary readers read in past epochs, not necessarily the poets who are now quite far away from us.

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