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The principal of nationality in V. G. Belinsky’s artistic aesthetics

Liberal Arts in Russia. 2018. Vol. 7. No. 2. Pp. 154-161.
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Gorlanov G. E.
Penza State University
40 Krasnaya Street, 440026 Penza, Russia


The problem of nationality is the one of the most actual in the modern study of literature. One of the first critics, who appealed to that question and problem in the 30s of the 19th century was V. G. Belinsky. In this article, his opinion on term “nationality” is considered in connection to A. S. Pushkin and N. V. Gogol’s opinions on national originality. The author of this article believes that V. G. Belinsky developed his own evaluation system for literary texts, based on such characteristic as nationality, pseudonationality, and vulgarity. Following to this debatable principles, the critic defined the works by I. A. Krylov, A. S. Pushkin, M. Yu. Lermontov, and N. V. Gogol as “national”. These writers got the highest evaluation by calling them “national” not only for their artistic mastership, but also for expressing the Russian national self-reflection in literary texts. In this context, V. G. Belinsky payed attention on the historical novel “Yuri Miloslavsky, or Russians in 1612” by M. N. Zagoskin, with its “national” and “pseudonational” elements. In the poetry by A. V. Koltsov, V. G. Belinsky accentuated vulgarity of lyrics. The critic did not simplify understanding of “nationality” reducing it only to patriotic national spirit; he tried to protect the writers from national narrowness. V. G. Belinsky criticized the authors, whose creativity had traces of despising the destitute Russian people.


  • • nationality
  • • Belinsky
  • • self-reflection
  • • national originality
  • • study of literature
  • • criticism


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