Katie Ninidze # 8
Opposition between “Fathers” and “Sons”
Keywords: Opposition; Generation; Fiction.
The Gist of the Opposition
The generating impulse of the opposition between “Fathers” and “Sons” is one of the fundamental functions of the cultural development. We’ll try to analyze the factors that caused the collision between the generations taking place in the 19th century Georgia and called “The opposition between “Fathers” and “Sons”.
Traditionally by the “The opposition between “Fathers” and “Sons” is meant the dispute launched on the pages of the journal “Tsiskari” (The Dawn) in 1860s and developed between “Sakartvelos Moambe” (“The Georgian Messenger”) in the 1860s. The opposition was qualified in this way by the representatives of the generations themselves in the process of the “Fight” (they refer to their opposition as “fight”). It was provoked by Ilia Chavchavadze’s publication “A Couple of words about the translation of Kozlov’s “The Mad Girl” by Revaz Eristavi” (Chavchavadze 1861: 557-594) but the opposition had fundamental ideological and political foundation.
Among the core representatives of the two sides of the opposition were “Fathers”: Revaz Eristavi, Barbare Jorjadze, Grigol Orbeliani, Giorgi Baratashvili, Dimitri Kipiani and “Sons”: Ilia Chavchavadze, Akaki Tsereteli, Sergei Meskhi, Ilia Tsinamdzgvrishvili, Ivane Poltaratski, Kirile Lortkipanidze. The battlefield was publicity and fiction. Were used theoretical and artistic weapons (Realization of such devices as metaphor, type, symbol, dialogue in the publicity text, interpretation of literary citations, deconstruction of tropes etc.
Solomon Dodashvili and Giorgi Eristavi as a “Cultural Dynamite”
Speaking about the chronology of the opposition between “Fathers” and “Sons” the main attention is paid to Ilia Chavchavadze’s and his associates’ contribution to this dispute. In the school practices a number of fundamental historical shifts in literature are ascribed only to Ilia Chavchavadze. This presumably can be explained by the tendency of personality cultivation. Importance of the authentic context for this battle is often neglected.
From this point of view it is of special importance that the new conception of the Georgian literary language first becomes apparent in Giorgi Eristavi’s texts. In his comedies communicative language of the characters is a dialect and this is the first important step towards the democratization of the language. Later this conception found its development and was given its place in the fundamental layer of the ideological opposition between the generations. Ilia chavchavadze in one of his articles published in “Droeba” #24 1876, says that the activities of the 1860s generation were based on Solomon Dodashvili’s ideological achievements and Giorgi Eristavi’s literary traditions.
Solomon Dodashvili didn’t belong to the 19th century Georgian aristocracy. He belonged to the class of the clergy. His family investment was not social but educational capital. It is important that this direction was determined by his family from the very beginning. He had never been in the military service and still from the end of 1820s was trying to gain the place of a public figure.
Still at the age of thirteen Solomon Dodashvili went to Petersburg to get education and for this reason became an object of the nobility’s criticism. In the 1820s it was not approved to send the youth to Russia for educational purposes. Therefore his parents’ decision was evaluated negatively (Chichinadze 1893: 10). Though the diploma work (“The Logics”) written by Dodashvili at the age of twenty-two (1827) gained him considerable recognition among the Petersburg professors, he was not accordingly respected by Georgian aristocracy. Okropir Batonishvili (Prince) writes that as he didn’t have the title and the rank, was not considered as a respectable person by the society. Bagrat Batonishvili promised Dodashvili to give him the prince’s title and the lands in case his descendants gained the throne as a result of 1832 rebellion. That would change his conditions considerably (Gotsadze 1955: 75-76).
At the end of 1820s and the beginning of the 1830s Dodashvili was an initiator of a number of very important enterprises. In 1818 he opened a printing house in Tbilisi, where in 1830 was published “Short Georgian Grammar” and in 1832 was begun printing of the journal “Tbilisi Announcements” and its literary supplement “Literary part of the Tbilisi announcements”. His sketch “Brief Survey of Georgian literature, or fiction” is the first attempt of Georgian literature periodization. Dodashvili is a pioneer of Georgian Journalism, a jurist and a philosopher. His liberal and humanistic public activity is casual in the social field of Georgian aristocracy. As far as it is known, he was not an active member of the aristocratic meetings and often criticized them e. g. for the tolerance towards the Russianisms – usage of original Russian words in Georgian speech (Chichinadze 1893: 25-26).
Special attention should be paid to the documentation reflecting the last years of his life after the exile to Viatka for the organization of the 1832 rebellion. In his appeals to the governor of Viatka (written from May 1834 till August 1836) Solomon Dodashvili repeatedly asked him to send him to some Southern gubernia as the North climate had deteriorated his health (Gozalishvili 1976: 437-443). We can know from the correspondence between General Auditor Noinski and the Minister of Internal Affairs that the Emperor didn’t comply with the request (Gozalishvili 1976: 440) until the medical certificate didn’t confirm his extreme weakness and deplorable health conditions (Gozalishvili 1076: 441). Solomon’s request was satisfied exactly on the day when he died of tuberculosis in Viatka on the 20-th of August 1836. The emperor seemed to be especially merciless to him because saw in him an intellectual fighter.
Dodashvili’s ideological line was more or less adequately developed in the manuscript journal `Цветок Тифлисской Гимназии~ (“The Flower of Tbilisi Gymnasium”) designed by the Gymnasium students (Nicholas Baratashvili, Michael Tumanishvili, Konstantine Mamatsashvili, Levan Melikishvili, Iase Andronikashvili, Dimitri Jorjadze etc.) and especially in Nicholas Baratashvili’s lyrics. By the analogy with Byron and Dodashvili for him even death in the foreign country seems acceptable. Ilia Chavchavadze shares the experience of this virtual channel (which in the wide context implies comprehension of French and Russian enlightenment ideologies too) directly (Dodashvili > Chavchavadze) or through mediator (Dodashvili > Baratashvili > Chavchavadze). Baratashvili’s “Beautiful soul” and Chavchavadze’s “Man” (a free citizen) are connected with Dodashvili’s concept of “Peace”. It doesn’t mean the content with the achieved or secluded contemplation but “peace” as the goal of history and union of free personalities (as similar or different members) for one demand. The harmony in the nature – in the realm of the original objects – consolidates the rate of the peace by searching and working (Tevzadze 2005: 29)
According to Lotman’s Theory of explosion, history of a language is anonymous and the process of its development can be foreseen on the basis of its internal structural regularities. On the contrary, the history of literary language depends on the cultural resonance of the personal names and can not be foreseen (Lotman 2005: 176-177). On the first stage the “democratization” of the language is achieved by Giorgi Eristavi by cultivation of the dialects and sociolects in the dramatic genres. It is a bit strange that the language of Eristavi’s comedies wasn’t followed by the excitement of the conservative society. Presumably the privilege can be explained by the genre specificity – the comedy is not considered among the high genres. So the vertical hierarchy was replaced by the horizontal differentiation, where the position of the members are determined not by class factors but by ethnic categories. Therefore the process of democratization carried out in the theatre proceeded without complications.
Novelty introduced by Giorgi Eristavi was “Georgianization” of classicist comedy and realistic discourse – legitimation of Mollier’s, Rossini’s Gogol’s and Griboedov’s stylistics in Georgian Dramatic art.
If the diachronic development of literature is seen as regular exchange of particular models, their construction will be possible according to the universal articulation matrix existing in phonetics: approach phase, hold phase, release phase. 1860s as the literary period was preceded by the phase of Eristavi’s and Dodashvili’s fictional and theoretical works. They extended to the literary and ideological domains and were in full readiness, waiting for the right moment for the explosion.
Preconditions of the Opposition
Some signs of “Fathers’ and Sons’ opposition” in the form of a collision between the generations could be seen still in the 1840-1850s in Giorgi Eristavi’s comedies and Lavrenti Ardaziani’s prose. The problem is apprehended but the battlefield is enclosed by the frame of literary texts. It doesn’t extend to publicity (Eristavi’s “Tsiskari” which is the only Georgian periodical organ of the period) and doesn’t resort to the theoretical explications which would assign him a special place in the cultural development.
The main reason of the opposition between the Fathers and the Sons in the 1840-1850s was emergence of a bourgeois class in Georgia. This event is followed by the important structural changes in the social field. Organization of the readers’ societies, development of the saloon culture and family parties, activation of literary criticism and journalism creates an alternative group of the culture consumers and observers (Habermas 1989: XIV). The so called nobility identificators are the symbols (special feature-instruments of ethos, way of speaking and clothing). Unlike the aristocracy, who owned the symbolic capital by inheritance, the bourgeois had to acquire them by experience. They get the experience in Petersburg, where greater part of Georgian aristocracy has never been. Therefore in the binar oppositions between “fashionable” and “outdated”, “educated” and “ignorant” the first member is generally represented by an upper bourgeois’ daughter (traditionally ethnic Armenian).
Since 1850s Georgian “Tergdaleuli” are involved in the opposition. This layer appears as a result of Vorontsov’s educational policy. In 1849 on the basis of the governor general’s order heirs of the Caucasian princes were awarded the scholarships which covered their living and teaching expenses in Petersburg. It should be noted that the number of the Caucasian grant-aided students was about 120 a year - three times more than the number of Russian ones (Tavzishvili 1974: 449). Middle class, fascinated by revolutionary ideas, is more enthusiastic in Petersburg’s student movement. The aristocracy are no more privileged in the students’ circles. They become marginals (Nikoladze, 1962: 117). Coming back to their country the “Tergdaleulis” find out that they have lost mutual understanding “common language” even with their own parents.
Protagonists of Giorgi Eristavi’s comedies and Lavrenti Ardaziani’s stories: Beglar, Nina (“The Quarrel” Eristavi), Shushana, Ivane (“The Divorce” Eristavi), Khampera (“The Mean” Eristavi), Taso, Beglar (“The Mad” Eristavi), Alexander and Helen (“Solomon Isakich Mejganuashvili”, Ardaziani), Mikhako and Alexandra (“The obedient”, Ardaziani) and antagonists: Teimuraz (“The obedient”), Anakhanum (“The Mad”), Amirindo (“The Quarrel”), Andukhafar (“The Divorce”), Luarsab Raindidze (“Solomon Isakich Mejganuashvili” all are the binar couples of the 1840-1850 years opposition between the generations.
Protagonists’ Habitus includes the following representational feature-instruments (Gofman 2007: 11): duel, writing love letters, passion for literature (Reading Goethe’s Shiller’s, Byron’s fiction and lyrics), introverted seclusion in nature, “uninterested” vision, joyfulness, sociability, individualism. Unlike them those who keep to the old way of life are mainly materialistically purposeful, constrained in relationships, quarrelsome, ignorant. They don’t appreciate education, have collective consciousness and are religious only in the sense of keeping to traditions.
In the fiction of 1840-1850s the thematic invariant, giving rise to the conflict is the following: a young, educated couple love each other and want to get married but they are hindered by their materialistic parents (“The mad”, “The Quarrel”, “The obedient”). “What can I say is that in Georgia nobody goes mad from love, going mad may become a fashion as putting some cotton under the waist” – the phrase reveals the social character of “madness”. By the term “Mad” which has a stigmatic function, the members of the old society marked the habitus of the “Tergdaleuli”. This representative feature-instrument is similar to the “hair plated in the latest fashion”, knowledge of Voltaire by heart, breaking the fast (Gofman 2007: 11).
The representatives of the old society considered that recognition of the erotic function of love by the youth was “immorality”. There is a discursive difference between the opinions concerning love, because love and sexuality, which are also connected with the functioning of a family as an institute, predetermine a number of social dispositions which differentiate societies of “Fathers” and “Sons”.
The representatives of the old social structure can’t go in step with the new challenges but on the other hand they subconsciously feel possibility of reconsideration of the social positions. Therefore the struggle between individuals and institutions is aimed at preserving the dominant capital (social / cultural). The nobility doesn’t welcome education of the youth, especially of the young women as education is the “alphabet” (compare Derrida), the tool, which they cannot use themselves. That’s why they spread myths that “Education is tuberculosis”, “Education is an entertainment for the idle” “Education is Godlessness” etc.
Rejection of the new principles, as well as non recognition of the playing rules is apparent in the fact that, as we have already mentioned above, the agents of the old social structures associate “seriousness” not with education but with physical activity. In the attitude towards the women’s activities the idea is exaggerated and symbolized in the act of “making pickles”. In the comedy “The Mean” a young, educated women is not considered as a suitable pair for Khamfer’s son because she can’t “make pickles”. This may remind us of the detail from the famous actress Mako Saparova’s biography. Her family members kept forbidding her to work in the theatre as supposed that a woman had to know family pursuits among them, “making pickles” while being an actress proves their inferiority (Javakhishvili 2005: 48).
Contradiction between the old and the new in the 1840-1850s is not exactly the fight between the generations. The gap may exist between the representatives of one generation, belonging to the different ideological fields. The reason of the brothers’ divorce is the ideological opposition. In Giorgi Eristavi’s “The Divorce” one of the brothers (Andukafar Didebulidze) says: My “tergdaleuli” brother / never leaves me in peace / he insists on divorce / and will take our house for himself / he is going to cut down vines in the vineyard / and plant instead morus trees (Eristavi 1936: 168). It is important that the essence of the opposition by the representatives of different fields is evaluated in different ways: before the Tergi and beyond the Tergi (interpretation of the ignorant feudals) the old – the New (interpretation of a young educated person)
Still it is the fact that the opposition between “The Fathers” and The Sons” took place not in 1840-1850s but in the beginning of 1860s. This points out the potential for opposition which was expressed in the ideological and social readiness of the participants, supported by the students’ revolutionary movement in Petersburg.
Ideological Aspects of the Opposition between Fathers and Sons
The roots of the “Fathers’” and “Sons’” opposition are firmly established not on the surface layer of the social relationships (groups gathered around the journals /social dispositions of the institutions and / personal ones) but in its depth, ideological strata and embodies fundamental contradiction between conservative and liberal ideologies.
In the political theory conservatism is often referred to not as an original system of dispositions but as an ideology which acquires the completed form only in correlation with something else. In the 19th century conservatism was considered to be the ideology which didn’t share the ideals of the French Revolution.
Liberalism as an ideology was developed in the 19th century. Still in the 1830s Wigs in the United Kingdom called themselves “liberals” and the ideology takes the completed form at the end of 1860s during the Gladstone regime. Liberalism takes its origin from the Enlightenment and French Revolution values. It declares primacy and freedom of the Personality and the Mind, while conservators acknowledge primacy of the organic society, natural hierarchy and traditions (Heywood 2004: 82-93).
The name “Fathers” and their “parental” political orientation imply that they are inclined to paternalism. “Fathers” reveal more or less flexibility, adhere to the conservatism and admit their responsibilities towards the lower classes (In the aspects of their physical and spiritual salvation) and the homeland. This attitude is reflected in the representative of Fathers’ generation - Grigol Orbeliani’s poem “Reply to the Sons”: “They (fathers) saved, defended with their might / their bleeding country / and hope in God / which guards the nation / language / church / faith” (Orbeliani 1935: 66). The author of these words emphasizes the importance of the “Fathers’” military activities in the Caucasian War: Osman-Persians, mountains of Dagestani / will tell you the praise for their great deeds” (Orbeliani 1935: 66).
It is significant that “The playground” of the “Fathers’” social field is marked with the toposes: a masquerade ball, a theatre, a family party, a boarding house etc. The trajectory of the communication is circular and the members participate in it as a group. As for the “Tergdaleuli”, their walk of life is virtual as the centre of gravity is not in the social interactions but in the overall distribution of the ideology. The arena of the activities is a journal / a text. The communication is developed between two elements: the reader and the writer (it’s better to say between two individuals). The intimacy is reflected in the appeals to the addressee of the text: “Reader... “, “My reader...”etc.
The playground appointed for games is sanctified (Huizinga 2004: 25). Talking about the importance of literature for the people, Ilia Chavchavadze often refers to the sacredness of logos “We must spread the sacred word... among the people (Chavchavadze 1987: 120). Besides, the spirit of his articles concerning the lofty and sacred responsibilities of a journal and a journalist calls to our mind the words of the national hero of Italy, one of the inspirers of the revolutionary movement, Father Alessandro Gavazzi: (Journalists, your mission is important, honest and lofty... treat it as a thanksgiving service... (Dobrolubov 1863: 116). The text of the preaching according to Dobrolubov’s translation, was published in “The Georgian Herald” in 1863 # 1.
Journal is a sacred tool for fathers as they consider that its function is to save the language as a church (Dimitri Kipiani... ) It is known that when “Tsiskari” was facing the threat of prohibition, Ivane Kereselidze sent special invitations to every prominent representative of the nobility, arranged a meeting and reminded them that survival of the periodical was their common duty (Chichinadze 1913: 175). Though the editor received financial aid and “The Tsiskari” didn’t stop functioning, the journal didn’t become progressive, didn’t spread new ideas and visions. Its main purpose was the conservation of the existing linguistic base. Weakness and disability of “The Dawn” couldn’t compete with the masculine energy of “The Georgian Herald”. It is figuratively expressed in the metaphor “Herald calls out the “Dawn” to a duel”. As we can see the journals are personified. In the publications of “The Georgian Herald” one can see such sintagmatic pairs as “The coward “Dawn”, “mindless Dawn”, “Greedy “Dawn”, “Dawn” – Herald’s elder brother etc. This precedent has its representative logics and the fact is justified as far as a periodical is a product of homological dispositions and a kind of habitus of the field.
Accusations of “The Fathers” can be reduced to one narrative model – profanation of the sacred which contains:
1. Distortion of the language with international words and dialectisms by “The Sons”: The lofty language / its power and blessing / was roughly distorted / in the hands of the impious people!.. / life of the nation / its glory / its history is survived by the language / If the language spoils / the nation falls / the saint church is blurred with pus!.. “ Examples are cited from Grigol Orbeliani’s poem “The Reply to the Sons” (Orbeliani 1935: 66-70).
2. Diminution of “The Fathers’” merits by “The Sons”: Why do you damn your fathers? / What are you expecting? / Why do you curse your fathers?”
3. Forgetting the God and distribution of godlessness among the youth: “poor fellows / their innocent hearts / were eager to study but lost the moral. / hopelessness / godlessness / were deeply sewn into their innocent hearts / - why should I pray? / Why should we need God? / Our mind is our God!.
Especially acute is the question of the “Language Purity”. In one of his articles Dimitri Kipiani analyses the linguistic tasks and uses the allegory of a builder and a building. He considers that the activity of the 1860s generation is like the work of a carpenter who doesn’t know his trade and ruins the palace built by his ancestors (Kipiani 1995: 21). On the other hand the generation of the 60s sees the resemblance with the catholic church and the Italian people. Therefore they translate and publish in “The Georgian Herald” Dobrolubov’s above mentioned sketch about Father Alessandro Gavazzi. The author says: ”Gavazzi talked to the people in an ordinary, common people’s language, without mixing Latin words, unknown for the people (Dobrolubov 1863; 144).
Grammar of the struggle between “The Fathers” and “The Sons” (conservators - liberals) is not developed in the local socio-cultural context. Liberal implications of the Enlightenment from the 18th century caused the new world-scale socio-political configurations. Incompatibility of the bipolar models are metaphorically expressed in Ilia Chavchavadze’s phrase: “As soon as we came, we recognized you, and kept distance from yout” (Chavchavadze 1987: 142). Differentiation of the “Alphabets” implies general differences between the points of view, taste and structures of the ethos.
The Model Hero: Military Servant vs. Public Figure
Literary reproduction of the Fathers” and The Sons” opposition includes oppositions of different character: narrative, tropal, linguistic, stylistic, between the plots and between the characters. The essence of the contradiction can be reduced to the main linguistic dichotomy, cultural value of which is the differentiation between “The old” and “The New”.
When we speak about a model hero, we mean not Lotman’s “Mad”, which is also considerable in the society, but a conformist which is in harmony with the conjuncture. A model hero is typical and not unique. His public resonance is based on recognition and denouncement, which is connected with the violation of the rules by the “Mad” and formation of a new habitus (Lotman 2005: 55-56). The model hero is in contradiction with him because is submitted to the permanent social regulation. Deviation from the norms is not characteristic of him, so in the features of the model hero it is possible to identify more or less adequately the dominant dispositions: the data of behavior and moral norms in the framework of the social field.
In French sociology remarkable person is identified with the term “example image” (imagesguides) / “personal ideal”, in English researches – “enviable human figure” and “human ideal-type of a given culture”, in German social sciences it is called “ideal type of a group” (Ideal-Typus der Gruppe) (Ossovskaya 1987: 27).
It is more or less possible to reconstruct the propagandized images according to the models of fiction on different levels of cultural development because in such cases we take into consideration political conjuncture and position of the literary field in the power field. In this kind of researches the main questions are character of the plot and narrative realization, the roles of protagonist /antagonist in the conflict solution and other factors. It is much more difficult to identify the recognized images which do not often coincide with the propagandized type. Till 1860s recognized and propagandized images in the conservative society are identical and represent an aristocrat with military honors. Laconic evaluation of Ivane Korghanashvili and his pretty sister, given by Grigol Orbeliani: “Brother sabres with a sabre and sister – with her beauty” (Orbrliani 1936: 55) represents the common scheme of the recognized fellow and young lady. But this scheme is not universal because in the social field of the 1860s generation recognized example images are marked off from the propagandized.
In 1871 on the occasion of Alexander III’s visit to Georgia, Georgian nobility arranged a meeting and worked out an official request in which they asked the emper to found a university in Georgia. The inspirers of the idea were the Tergdaleuli (Ilia Chavchavadze, Besarion Gogoberidze, Nicholas Nikoladze, Ivane Tarkhnishvili (later famous physiologist and academician). The request was also signed by the representatives of the elder generation: Michael Tumanishvili, Grigol Orbeliani, Dimitri Jorjadze and Revaz andronikashvili, but under the influence of Baron Nicholai Fathers wrote a new appeal in which Marshal of the nobility Revaz Andronikashvili and his confederates asked the emperor to open a military school (Tsereteli 1913: 96-98) This fact caused anger among the 1860s generation and made Ilia Chavchavadze write his famous satiric verses “The Riddles” in which the author blames the representatives of the Fathers for irresponsibility towards their motherland.
For the liberals the main basis of the state are not military and police institutions but the civil society. In one of his “Survey of home affairs” published in “The Georgian Herald” Ilia Chavchavadze discusses the inadequacy of the militaristic activities before the new challenges. He considers that the officers of the Ermolov period, who were proud of their military merits, ranks and crosses gained “in the fights conducted, as they said, for Georgia’s might”, couldn’t develop a new society. The writer says that the young generation doesn’t show interest to military service as they see the potential of social development in the public service. (Tulashvili 1863:198).
In Anton Purtseladze’s story “Marta” Rostom Tabladze - a typical character of 19th century 40-50s landlords, thanks to his contacts with military officials becomes a considerable person in his village and an object of small feudals’ envy. Rostom Tabladze decides to enroll his nephew in the military school because he considers that the noble boarding school won’t be able to provide him “either with a rank or with a position” in a due time. “Military service is a quite another matter. Here a man gets a quick promotion and is treated another way” (Purtseladze 1984: 356). Such attitude towards military service is nothing else but a family investment.
As we have already mentioned, in the 1840-1850s the plots of epic and dramatic texts are built on the thematic invariants of marrying daughters off against their will. In Barbare Jorjadze’s story “On the edge of the village ravines” the rejected character (fiance) Malkhaz becomes recognized after having gained the military merits and the rank. Of course all this is also bound up with social and material welfare and is not connected with the military servant’s recognition as a knight.
Military service gives people of the middle classes an opportunity of promotion and if they manage to show their worth it will become a guarantee of a successful career. Therefore pragmatic and pushing mothers envisage the justification of the family investment mainly in military officers. Marriage, adoption of a brother /a sister / mother / father / daughter / son by oath (sworn sister / brother) and baptizing make possible change of social configurations between individuals and institutions as variables. These practices were cultivated in the 19th century Georgian society. e.g. According to Dimitri Kipiani’s son Nicholas’s information, (he had chosen for his adopted mother a widow of his gymnasium teacher Fedorov – Mariam Kipiani. They gave the oath in the church before the Bible and the life-giving cross according to the old tradition (Kipiani 2007: 8, 246).
Baptizing, implying choice of a desired Godmother (Godfather) or a child from the desired family, also often had the similar underlying idea. We can give an example from the same family, as Dimitri Kipiani was one of the most authoritative personalities during Vorontsov’s governing period. It is known that Kipiani had Godchildren from the honourable families in every region of Georgia and their number was about two hundred. Besides he adopted a sister – wife of the leader of Kutaisi gubernia princedom Nestor Tsereteli – Pelagia (Daughter of Gurieli) who had a status of a lady in honor (Kipiani 2007: 268).
Literature reflected the process of variations in social configuration. A model hero is a character of a desired fiance. This model appears several times in Giorgi Eristavi’s comedy “The Mad”. Some women advice Taso’s mother to make her leave her beloved, who is a poet, and merry her to a Russian colonel. Another candidate for the fiance (Fridon) is also a military servant – a major of the dragoon regiment.
The same disposition is reflected in Giorgi Eristavi’s poem “Thoughts of a young lady”. A young girl rejects her worshipper (Beglar), because he can’t live “in a Russian way”. In the character’s narrative we can identify the recognized features of a desirable fiance’s image: nice appearance, wealth, military occupation. The methods of social investment are: arrangement of the “evening parties” and “balls” and the socialized behavior functioning at such places - “French Cadrille” dance. It is important that the ethos which is traditionally spread in the European saloon markets, in Eristavi’s texts are identified with life in “Russian manner” and singing “Russian songs”.
The end of the poem is quite interesting. Untying the knot of the plot, the author moves through the time and describes the young woman’s future husband and his family. Context meanings of the features (big nose, woolen socks and plural slippers, yashmask, unplastered walls of the house and an ottoman) lead us to the idea of an anti-image. The latter has its representative logic and its existence is justified by giving us the possibility of differentiation. Anti-image marks the borders of the recognized image more distinctly. If we go into the depth, interpretation of the image and anti-image, according to this text, gains cultural value and carries deeply politicized meanings of the Russian (as the Western, civilized) and Eastern (non-civilized).
From the cycle of Giorgi Eristavi’s realistic poems we should pay attention to “The Mother and the daughter”. The writer has two texts by the same title and motive. In both of the cases mother advocates the desired fiance who is an old general with crosses and ranks (in one of the varia– colonel, who will soon become a general). One of the features of the desired fiance – old age, introduces romantic narrative, which is represented in the oppositional stereotypes: a young poor knight (poet) – old, passionless, functionary. The stereotype is mentioned in a Nicholas Baratashvili’s letter, where he says that old generals are in fashion (Baratashvili 1992: 623).
Both versions of the poem are structured on the principle of dichotomy. The gravity centre of the dialogue as one of the oldest rhetoric means is connected with the playful element. The aim of the dialogue is not to ascertain the truth and to come to the right conclusion. Its play is self-sufficient. The author as a co-author of the playing rules, a distributor of the parts and the “owner of the secret” (cf. Huizinga) uses the form itself to point out that syntactic relations between the variables in the play are preconditioned and ritual.
As we have already mentioned above, the basis of the state for the liberals is a civil society. Accordingly the recognized
images, functioning in the social and literary fields of the 1860s generation, are: a free citizen (The widow, George in the story
“The Widow of Otarashvili”, Soloman and his pupil – in the sketch “A Strange Story”) and a public figure (lyrical and epic
character – Ilia Chavchavadze in “The Traveler’s Letters”)
Ilia Chavchavadze in the Larsi passage of “The Traveller’s Letters” makes a micromodel of Lermontov’s novel (“A Hero of
Our Time”). Identity is first of all revealed on the plot level – Russian officer tells stories to a traveler; identical toposes – the
Caucasus (Vladikavkaz, Larsi ravine, post station); stereotypes – myths about the local population and the Russians; Plot
accessories – Drinking tea, povozka (a cart), a coachman (Osetian coachman – “A Hero of our Time”; Russian coachman -
“The Traveller’s Letters”.
Deconstruction of militaristic rhetorics points out desacralisation of the signs (moustaches, epaulette, tea, “Samovar” - a
special teakettle, cart) and narratives (educated Russia, uncivilized Caucasus, Petersburg – Meka of civilization) as well as
profanation of a character (Russian officer) as a recognized image, achieved by grotesque means. Unlike Lermontov’s story
(“Bela” from the same novel), in “The Traveller’s Letters” in the communicative situation participate representatives of the
heterogenic socio-cultutal contexts: a military servant and a public figure.
It should be noted that “The travellers’ Letters” were written not immediately after Ilia Chavchavadze’s arrival from
Petersburg, but in 1871 (Kankava 2002: 269-272). At that time the writer envisaged his social function in the socio-cultural
paradigm of a public figure.
Expression “Public figure” (საზოგადო მოღვაწე) terminologically cultivated by Ilia Chavchavadze, replaced a social and
religious subject of the medieval ages represented by 19th century military aristocrat. The term ”მოღვაწე” emphasizes the
individual’s belongness to public and his social designation. The word in old Georgian means “torment” and, unlike modern
language, doesn’t correspond to the semantics of “activity”. In our opinion Public figure combines “a Genius” and “A decent
man” (Pascal 1908: 220).
Genius is a person who is given birth by the epoch. Ilia Chavchavadze describes this process metaphorically – boiling of the epoch heaves the genius to the surface. The present and the perspective of future meet n his personality (Chavchavadze 1991: 120). “...Goliath of wisdom stretches his mighty arms and embraces the whole halves of human work. He, with his sharp-sighted eyes gathers together everything what life has revealed... (Chavchavadze 1991:124) This definition coincides with the writer’s self-estimation: “Maybe I carry my country’s yeast in myself” (Chavchavadze 1988: 14); “And I will gather those single sparkles which gleam in every man into a big fire to warm my countries coldened heart” (Chavchavadze 1988: 14) “I will dry my people’s suffering tears” (Chavchavadze 1987: 103); “Oh, my country... I am listening to your heart beating with baited breath” (Chavchavadze 1987: 119).
Pascal’s “A Decent man” is reflected in the public figure with the following features:
a) Universality – It is characteristic of “A Decent Man” not to have specialized disciplinary education. He distributes
his personal resources in different fields equally. Therefore we can’t consider “A Decent man” as a poet, geometrician or a
philosopher, but each of them together (Pascal 1908: 59). Pascal’s “A Decent Man” includes St Paul’s “spiritual” man (“But
he that is spiritual judges all things, and he himself is judged of no man” (1 Corinthians 2:15)
b) Hedonism – Attitude of “A Decent man” towards life is preconditioned by epistemal peculiarities. He directs his life in
the way to dispel thoughts about the death. The result is addiction to duels and gambling.
c) Individualism – declaration of the superiority of human intellect and recognition of personal freedom by the Enlightenment
were the basis of the liberalism. So by means of cultivation of a personality “A decent man” is similar to Lessing’s
“bildungsideal” and Goethe’s and Kant’s "the whole man" (Goldman 2001: 251) and later to Mill’s “Homo Oeconomus” (Mill)
which have some contradiction with “Homo Socialogicus” (Darendorf)
As a result of 1860s generation activities and development of the liberal-democratic movement, in 1870s socio-cultural model
of a military officer gradually loses its function in the society. Accordingly the model heroes in fiction and personal ideals in
everyday life now are representators of the civil institutions. This fundamental change was the basis for the formation of a
civil society in the second half of the 19th century.
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Volume 4, Issue 1