Posted 13 сентября 2022,, 15:48

Published 13 сентября 2022,, 15:48

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:38

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:38

Forever superfluous heroes: 200 years ago Griboedov started to write "Woe from Wit"

13 сентября 2022, 15:48
The protagonist of his comedy opened a long gallery of "superfluous people" of Russian classical literature - a symbol and evidence of the ideological, political, behavioral gap of times and generations.

Sergey Baimukhametov

"Superfluous people" are united by another common property, not noted by literary critics.

Here I give only a synopsis, the thesis. Perhaps future researchers will develop it in detail, down to the biographies of the authors. And so I think it is necessary to warn ...

First, let me remind you of Byronism - a trend in Russian literature inspired by the image of Childe Harold, the hero of George Gordon Byron's poem Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. His influence on the minds and souls of Russian noble youth was so strong that Pushkin immediately characterizes his Onegin:

Like Child-Harold, sullen, languid

He appeared in drawing rooms;

Neither the gossip of the world, nor Boston,

Neither a sweet look, nor an immodest sigh,

Nothing touched him

He didn't notice anything .

Then: “Direct Onegin Child-Harold / Went into thoughtful laziness” ... And Tatyana Larina perceives him unambiguously: “A Muscovite in Harold's cloak ...”

My warning refers to the early years of the life of the authors. Byron's childhood was very difficult, joyless. And the biographies of Griboyedov, Pushkin, Lermontov, Turgenev are similar in the almost complete absence of parental love.

But if we focus on this point, then we will slide into a kind of simplistic psychoanalysis, on which many works of foreign literature and cinema are built, where everything that happens in the lives of the characters comes down to the sorrows of childhood, to family relationships, mental trauma - and is explained by them.

"Superfluous people" of Russian literature - a social phenomenon

So, let's read again "Woe from Wit", "Eugene Onegin", "A Hero of Our Time", "Rudin". Chatsky, Onegin, Pechorin, Rudin - from school years we lived with them, as with people close to us, starting with imitation in adolescence, youthful age.

What unites them, besides the fact that they are "superfluous" in that society?

There are no fathers and mothers in their lives. Biologically, of course, there is. But they do not participate in the fate of our heroes in any way. In these works, the words "mother" and "father" in relation to them - to Chatsky, Onegin, Pechorin, Rudin - practically do not occur.

Parental love, if it is and was, warms a person all his life. In social terms, parents, elders, in one way or another convey their experience, their vision of the world, instruct. For example, in the story "The Captain's Daughter", Grinev Sr., sending his son Petrusha to the service, admonishes: "Remember the proverb: take care of the dress again, and honor from a young age."

Here, nothing, not a word. Unless in "Woe from Wit" - and only in Molchalin's monologue:

My father bequeathed to me

First, to please all people without exception:

The owner, where he happens to live,

To his servant who cleans dresses,

Doorman, janitor - to avoid evil,

To the janitor's dog, so that it was affectionate!

In "Woe from Wit" there is some explanation, between the lines: Chatsky became an orphan early. And what about Onegin? The mother is never mentioned. Father - twice. Only as a man who left no inheritance to his son. It speaks only of material inheritance:

Serving excellently, nobly,

His father lived in debt

Gave three balls annually

And finally squandered . (Highlighted by me. - S.B.)

We especially note the word "squandered". In 15 years, Lermontov will make it a characteristic of a generation, a characteristic of time.

Sadly, I look at our generation!

His future is either empty or dark

Crowd gloomy and soon forgotten

We will pass over the world without noise or trace,

Not throwing for centuries a fruitful thought,

Nor the genius of the work begun.

And our ashes, with the severity of a judge and a citizen,

A descendant will offend with a contemptuous verse,

The mockery of the bitter deceived son

Over the squandered father . (Highlighted by me. - S.B.)

In Lermontov's "Hero of Our Time", Pechorin talks a lot about everything, most of all about why he became like this:

“In me, the soul is corrupted by the light ... My colorless youth flowed in the struggle with myself and the light; my best feelings, fearing ridicule, I buried in the depths of my heart: they died there. I told the truth - they did not believe me: I began to deceive. ... I was modest - I was accused of craftiness: I became secretive.

And nowhere - not a word about the parents. However, one day, in passing, in the story of her acquaintance with Princess Ligovskaya, slipped: "She announced to me that she knew my mother and was friends with half a dozen of my aunts."

Yes, there is an artistic, professional moment here. The authors are so comfortable. When you create an image of a brutal and attractive hero, a denouncer of public morals, a rebel, or just a person who is disappointed in everything, then the father and mother "interfere", because they have a great influence on the spiritual formation of children. And in these works, the authors primarily pursued the social background. Society, the elders pass on certain principles of being to the younger generations. Of your being.

That is, the principles of life of its time.

And what was and is the foundation of that life?

Answer: slavery. What we call - serfdom.

The generation of Chatsky, Onegin, Pechorin and Rudin looked at these "traditional values" with disgust.

Back in 1819, 20-year-old Pushkin was horrified by what he saw in Mikhailovsky:

I greet you, desert corner,

A haven of peace, work and inspiration,

Where the invisible stream of my days flows

In the bosom of happiness and oblivion.


But a terrible thought darkens the soul here:

Among flowering fields and mountains

A friend of mankind sadly remarks

Everywhere ignorance is a murderous shame.

Not seeing the tears, not heeding the groan,

Chosen by fate for the destruction of people,

Here the nobility is wild, without feeling, without law,

Appropriated by a violent vine

And labor, and property, and the time of the farmer.

Leaning on an alien plow, submitting to whips,

Here skinny slavery drags along the reins

Relentless owner.

Here, everyone drags a burdensome yoke to the grave,

Hopes and inclinations in the soul not daring to feed,

Here young maidens bloom

For the whim of an unfeeling villain.

Four years later, the Decembrists declared in their manifesto with all their frankness:

“To possess other People as one’s own property, to sell, pledge, donate and inherit People in the likeness of Things, to use them according to one’s own will ... is a shameful thing, contrary to Humanity, contrary to the laws of Nature, contrary to the holy Christian Faith ... And therefore it cannot be longer in Russia there is permission for one person to have and call another his serf. Slavery must be decisively abolished, and the nobility must certainly renounce the vile advantage of possessing other people.

What ended is known. The terrible shadow of the gallows on the Kronverk Curtain hung over a generation, over society. Here it is necessary to quote Belinsky's note:

“Let us note for greater clarity and “accuracy” that, speaking of society, we mean only the feeling and thinking people of the new generation.”

Society is devastated, paralyzed. He does not see a way out, meaning, purpose.

After all, Pechorin is essentially a spiritually paralyzed person. He dies in his prime, full of strength. But Turgenev brings his Rudin to advanced years. Rudin is lonely, weak, almost pathetic. However, in the end he finds strength in his devastated soul for an act - he leaves for France and in 1848 dies on the barricades of the Paris Commune with a red banner in his hand.

Turgenev wrote Rudin in 1855, shortly before Russia's defeat in the Crimean War of 1853-1856. It showed the shameful backwardness of Russia, including elementary technical. Our army was armed with flintlock smoothbore guns with 200 paces of combat. In wet weather, the gunpowder dampened. And the enemy has locking rifled fittings with a range of 1200 steps. That is, it was safe for opponents to simply shoot Russian soldiers - serfs.

Everyone understood that it was impossible to live like this any longer. Why Tyutchev, a statesman (in current political terminology), a poet who branded the Decembrists, the chief censor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and he wrote to his wife:

“The Russian people were stung with a sting by the sudden light of the revealed truth: by our own eyes, the inconsistency - administrative, military, diplomatic ...”.

Everyone understood that serfdom had fettered the country's productive and moral forces and was corrupting everything and everything.

A nation of slaves, from top to bottom, all slaves

Absolutism, starting with the slavery of the lower strata, is spreading, poisoning the whole society. There can be no free people in the country of slaves, including the slave owners themselves. Few people know and remember that corporal punishment for the nobles existed in Russia, they were finally abolished only in 1801 - already during the life of Pushkin.

“Reckless speeches, satirical poems drew attention to me in society, gossip spread that I was taken to the Secret Chancellery and whipped,” Pushkin wrote in 1825 to Tsar Alexander the First (the letter was not sent, it is given in translation from French). - I was the last to reach this gossip, which became common property, I felt disgraced in public opinion, I fell into despair, fought a duel - I was 20 years old in 1820 - I pondered whether I should commit suicide or kill - AT".

Of course, there was nothing that was slandered about. If this were true, the fact would have come out.

But the bottom line is that in Russia in 1820 they believed in a vile rumor that a nobleman was flogged in the Secret Chancellery ...

Reflecting on the modern, pre-reform society, raznochinets Alexei Volgin, the hero of Chernyshevsky's novel "Prologue", comes to the conclusion: "A nation of slaves - from top to bottom, all completely slaves ...".

Accordingly, in such an atmosphere, rejection, persecution of the smart and independent becomes the norm, servility and opportunism are planted, cultivated. Chatsky - not needed. "The silent ones are blissful in the world"...

In 1861 slavery was abolished in Russia.

But it was too late. The centuries-old hatred that had accumulated among the masses exploded in 1917, when the peasants, who had never heard of Marx, went after the Bolsheviks with a roar and obscenity, having received the sweet opportunity to destroy everything “masterly”.

That legacy lives on to this day (only 160 years have passed). On the one hand, humility, servility to power, to the state, on the other, hidden aggression for any reason and address.

Exactly 200 years ago, Chatsky said:

And who are the judges? -

For the antiquity of years

Their enmity is irreconcilable to a free life <…>

Where? show us, fathers of the fatherland,

Which should we take as samples?

Are not these rich in robbery?

They found protection from court in friends, in kinship,

Magnificent building chambers,

Where they overflow in feasts and extravagance,

And where foreign clients will not resurrect

The meanest traits of the past life ... "

Belinsky, full of sympathy for these heroes of Russian literature, wrote:

“Society lives not for years, but for centuries, but a person is given a moment of life: society will recover, and those people in whom the crisis of his illness has expressed, the noblest vessels of the spirit, can forever remain in the destructive element of life!”

Summing up, we can say: "Superfluous people" of Russian literature are a symbol and evidence of the ideological, political, behavioral gap of times and generations.