Russian folk epics: history, canons and popular stories
The word "epic" for some reason is associated with somethinghuge, large-scale, indisputably great. The first thing that comes to mind is the images of mighty heroes who protect Mother Russia, patrol the mighty horses of the state's borders, drive away all kinds of misfortunes. Even the language on which these amazing works are written differs from the ordinary literary! Russian folk epics is an absolutely independent genre of folklore with established traditions and canons. What distinguishes them from ordinary fairy tales and legends?
What it is?
So, epic is an epic song, usuallytransmitted from generation to generation, the main plot of which revolves around the hero, fighting against the forces of evil and with all the forces defending the fatherland. Usually the main character does not have a very simple destiny; moreover, he does not come to realize his "heroism" at once, but then, when the "silk" is already whipping, no one can resist the Russian knight.
The term for this form of folklorewas introduced in the thirties of the last century and is taken from the "Lay of Igor's Campaign" (where there is the phrase "the epic of this time"). Most of all such legends have been preserved among the peasants of the northern part of Russia. Bylins (short works are rare) are often quite voluminous, as they tell of a long period of time.
It is difficult to say when the firsthistorical songs: it seems that they have always been among the people. The first documents containing Russian folk epics date back to the seventeenth century, and no one can say whether this is caused by illiteracy of the population or because such a genre did not exist before.
The first collection of "legends" of the Slavs was created byorder of the Englishman Richard James, interested in the culture of Russia, true, it had only five epic stories. In the eighteenth century interest in the genre is growing, there are more authors who create whole collections of folklore songs. The peak of interest occurs in the sixties and seventies of the nineteenth century, when the ordering of bylinas not by characters, but by storytellers (in this way the northern peoples are called the custodians of oral creativity) became fashionable.
Most often, Russian folk epic explorers discovered in Siberia. As a separate genre, the legends of the Russian Cossacks stand out.
As for any literary genre, for the epiccharacteristic of their canons. They say that before they were performed to the accompaniment of psaltery, melodies, however, they were few, but in combination with the narrator's voice they sounded really amazing. Such a phenomenon as the epics were short, did not exist at all, so each legend was delayed for long hours, often it was interrupted for the rest of both listeners and the narrator.
Epic genre of these works suggestssolemn style of narration. It was achieved with the help of repetitions (all known "long time ago" came from there) and synonyms (live-life). Very often repeated whole phrases - at the end of the line and at the beginning of the next. Usually, the accusers did not focus on any specific places, it was much more important to tell them about "heroic" affairs, the process of horse saddling, for example, the epics contain the most detailed descriptions of harness horses, equipment of the hero himself, etc. It is frequent and exaggerated, emphasizing certain qualities of the characters. The narrators adored epithets (a glorious hero, a nasty enemy), some of whom eventually became phraseological (hot blood). To highlight the "bright side" again, diminutive suffixes (Alyoshenka) were used, while for negative characters, suffixes "magnifying" (tsarishche) were used.
Russian folk epics are presented in the presenttime, there are no references to the past or the future. In addition, they usually consist of three composition parts: the chant (a kind of introduction that has little in common with the narrative itself), the beginning (the plot itself) and the ending.
The most famous genre of this element of folkloreare epic about the heroes. Stories about love for Russia, about dedication to business, real honor and friendship have always been popular. Such characters as Alyosha Popovich, Dobrynia Nikitich and Ilya Muromets are known to every Russian-speaking person. They are popularized even in cartoons, so that even the smallest ones know that "superheroes" are not only in America, but also in Russia. Stories about the heroes bring up in children a love for the Motherland, an awareness of its value, while showing the historical life of the Old Russian state.
The culture of Russia is amazing and rich. Bylins, Russian folk tales, proverbs and sayings, various riddles are only a small part of all this wealth. Much remains to the end not explored, much - not understandable modern man, but in no case can not deny the value of folklore. Without the past, the present and the future are impossible, and only then will the people develop correctly when they learn to value their history.