The Influence of National Classical Literature on Moulding National Identity

Abstract

An intense interest in national identity is a paradoxical but an utterly human reaction to globalization. The paper considers the role of national literature in shaping and preserving national identity with Russian classical literature as a source material. The word classical is pivotal here because it implies that a work of literature has been read and acknowledged by many generations of the nation despite changes in their way of living, culture, ideology, world outlook, etc., inevitable in the course of history. Consequently it is classical literature (among other factors) that moulds a nation, its identity, character and culture. Therefore it may serve as a key to a magic door behind which the nation’s enigmatic soul dwells because all differences of national identities are obscure and mysterious to other nations. The reason for this is ethnocentrism, i.e. perception of one’s own culture as the only right, acceptable and standard one. It causes hostility, xenophobia and aggression thus threatening humanity. The best way to ensure a peaceful life on the Earth is to give the right for self-identity to all nations. We should be grateful to that national literature which stops the word and the hand threatening other peoples. The main questions discussed in the paper are: To what extent can national classical literature be regarded as a source and a pivot of national identity? Why do some greatest Russian national classics (like Pushkin, Lermontov) not become international ones (like Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov)?



Author Information
Svetlana Ter-Minasova,Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russian Federation

Paper Information
Conference: LibEuro2014
Stream: Literature - Literature

This paper is part of the LibEuro2014 Conference Proceedings (View)
Full Paper
View / Download the full paper in a new tab/window

Posted by amp21