WRITER’S PHOTOGRAPHIC EXPERIENCE. PHOTOGRAPHY AS A KEY TO READING BUNIN’S «THE LIFE OF ARSENIEV»

Е. А. Калинина

Abstract


The article attempts to read a XX century literary text through modern knowledge on photography. The subject of the study in this case is the «photographic» in literature, namely how photographic experience of a writer acting as photographer, the one being photographed and viewer (Operator, Spectrum and Spectator in R.Barthes’ terms) is reflected in the structure of a text, how it determines the literary language of the work. Speaking about «literature of the photography age» (Philippe Ortel), literary studies should take into account the dialogue between photography and writing, which started already when the first daguerreotypes appeared. In particular, «photographer’s eye» described by psychologists, which «registers any phenomena of reality through the prism of potential possibility of being embodied in a photograph» (Veronika Nurkova), manifests in a whole number of literary works as photographic view reproduced in writing by special literary means. Using fragments of Bunin’s novel «The Life of Arseniev» (1933) as an example the article shows how such view works in the text aiming to reproduce the mechanism of memory and how usage of photography and photographic method helps the writer to create the space of «living», emotionally experienced personal recollection different from «knowledge» about past, which is stored in memory. The article also tells about photo album as a narration model, which sets parameters for both writing and reading. The latter in case of Bunin’s novel turns into reading-scrutinizing, concentrated not on the movement of the story, but on contemplation of a fixed moment.

Keywords


Ivan Bunin, literature and photography, «photographer’s eye», writer-photographer, memory.

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