Author(s)  E.A. Gorodnitsky
Information about the author(s)  Evgeny A. Gorodnitsky, PhD in Philology, Associate Profes- sor, Deputy Director, Yanka Kupala Institute of Literature Belarusian Center for Cul- tural Studies, Language and Literature of the NAS of Belarus, Surganova 1/2, 220072 Minsk, Republic of Belarus. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Received  December 17, 2016
Published  March 25, 2017
Issue 2017 Vol. 2, №1 
Department Literature of the Peoples of Russia and Neighboring Countries 
Pages  268-283
DOI  10.22455/2500-4247-2017-2-1-268-283
UDK  821.161.3
BBK  83.3(2)
Abstract The essay focuses on the development of a new Belarusian literature in the early decades of the 20 th century and the ways Belarusian writers reflected on the perspectives of the national literary development. During this period, literary works to some extent took on the functions of literary criticism and literary studies. The works of the founders of the new Belarusian literature contained ideas about the nature of creative writing and the relation of literature to reality. In 1913, there took place an important discussion on the correlation of the social and aesthetic content in literature. A prominent Belarusian poet Maxim Bogdanovich was not directly involved in this discussion but his prose piece “Apocrypha” was an indirect response to the discussants. This story is written in the form of a parable. It tells about Jesus Christ coming on earth. Christ answers the question of a folk singer whether his art may serve simple peasants who toil in the busy season. Working people need beauty like all the rest of us, says Christ. The artist should not reproach himself for idleness because his work serves people. In many other classical works by Yanka Kupala, Yakub Kolas, Maxim Bogdanovich, and other writers of the early 20 th century, creative process too becomes a subject of self-reflection. The poem “Symon- Musician” by Yakub Kolas shows that the artist’s life experience is a priceless treasure, which is subject to artistic reflection and transformation. Belarusian classical literature that emerged in the early 20 th century thus faced a difficult challenge; it had to outbalance the social orientation of literary works with artistic quests. This task was eventually solved and this experience remains actual and useful in our time.
Keywords  Belarusian literature, artistic self-reflection, creative process, the social and the aesthetic
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