The Last Dagestan European: Nostalgic Myth in Prose and Painting by Khalilbek Musayasul

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Abstract

The article traces the milestones of the creative biography of the novelist, painter, graphic artist Khalilbek Musayasul, who left Dagestan in the twenties of the twentieth century. His book “The Land of the Last Knights” appeared in German in 1936, and reached his father’s house with a delay of sixty-three years. For the first time in Dagestan culture, the idea of artistic synthesis, which presupposes an organic combination of verbal and visual, declared itself. The three watercolors and twenty-six graphic drawings placed in the text created a special atmosphere of mutual pollination of the word and the brush, when the descriptiveness was translated into the language of the visual image and vice versa. An attempt is made to analyze the value-semantic complementarity of ethno-cultural identity and sensitivity to transcultural innovations, identity and cultural universals. Two notable novels in the twenties of the last century - “Table Mountain” by Y. Slezkin and “Smile of Dionysus” by K. Gamsakhurdia - depict a young Khalilbek, already a “European”, as stated in the first of them. The East and the West came together in his personality and creativity in the sense that Europeanism declared itself not in the loss of dissimilarity, but in the inclusion in the dialogue of supra-ethnic artistic ideas. Meditative autobiographical prose has absorbed not only ethno-uniqueness, but also worldview breadth: the mutual attraction of the hearth-house and the image of the world initiated the “elevation of the small”, which does not lose sight of “the whole”, because “he needs the whole, the whole world... ” - let us refer to the lecture “The Art of the Novel” by T. Mann, a contemporary and interlocutor of Khalilbek (in the photo of 1927 He sits in a Circassian between T. Mann and F. Rubo). At the same time, the confession story, describing rituals, customs, rituals, is focused on the resilience of tradition as a counteraction to the erosion of the cultural and genetic code. The cosmos of national life opens up in its primordial ambiguity, combining the psychomental warehouse and features of mountain etiquette with finely stylized mythological plots, with an unobtrusive resurrection of archetypes and ancient customs of clearly pre-Islamic origin. The spiritual founder of the “Land of the Last Knights” was in no hurry to write off the precepts of ancestors and traditional values according to the department of archival memory, continuing to find in them the core of a positive identity.

About the authors

Kazbek Kamilovich Sultanov

A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Author for correspondence.
Email: sulkaz@inbox.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4173-2075

Doctor of Philology, Professor, Head of the Department of Literatures of the Peoples of the Russian Federation and the CIS

25a, st. Povarskaya, Moscow, 121069, Russian Federation

References

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Copyright (c) 2022 Sultanov K.K.

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