Criticism of Vladimir Propp’s Theory on Genesis of Magic Fairy Tales’ Structure
Philosophical basis of the Weltanschauung Categories of Ultimate Bases researching. Investigation of profound invariant of the structure of a fairy tale as the applied version of search for universalias in texts of culture. Аnalysis of folk rituals.
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Ukrainian National Academy of Science
Humanitarian Educational Centre
Criticism of Vladimir Propp's
Theory on Genesis of Magic Fairy Tales' Structure
Autograph - CHE UNSA
Olexander Kyryliuk. ANTI-PROPP. Criticism of Vladimir Propp's Theory on Genesis of Magic Fairy Tales Structure. - Odessa: Autograph/CHE UNSA, 2009. - p. 50. (Engl.).
Separate English supplement (Topics) to the book:
Olexander Kyryliuk. Weltanschauung Categories of Ultimate Bases in the Universal Culture Dimensions. - [Ukrainian National Academy of Science Ninetieth Anniversary; In Commemoration of Academician Volodymyr Shуnkarуuk (80-th anniversary): Photo coupled with wife]. / Abst. in Russian. pp. 357-389/ Bibl. pp. 392-411. / English Summary. / Abbrev. // UNSA Humanitarian Educational Centre: Odessa philosophy department // Odessa, Ukraine: Autograph Publish. House. - 2008. - 416 рр. In Ukrainian)
Олександр Кирилюк. АНТИ-ПРОПП. Критика теорії В. Проппа зі структури чарівної казки та її генезису. - Одеса: Автограф/ЦГО НАН України. - 2009. - 50 с. (англ. мова).
Окремий додаток до книги (автореферат англійською): Кирилюк О.С. Світоглядні категорії граничних підстав в універсальних вимірах культури. - Монографія. - [Текст] - / Дев'яносто років Національній академії наук України. / До восьмидесятиріччя академіка Володимира Іларіоновича ШИНКАРУКА (фото з дружиною). / Автореф. книги рос. мовою сс. 357-389; резюме англ. мовою; список скорочень; бібліограф. сс. 392-411. / Олександр Сергійович Кирилюк - Одеса: Центр Гуманітарної освіти НАН України. Одеський філіал / Автограф. - 2008. - 416 с. (укр. мов.)
© О.С. Кирилюк, 2009
An original author conception of Existential Semiotics is being developed in the monograph. The methodological basis of the research is the results of studying the problem „human being - world" at Kуivan School of Philosophy. The world is understood as a projection of human senses on objective reality. But as the most meaningful human senses are existential senses, world on the whole, and its separate parts and phenomena get the indicated human measuring, foremost, in the maximum terms of the beginning and the end, life and death. Such are not only religious but also modern physical pictures of the world and history and political theories.
These ultimate senses form stable invariants of cultural discourses, in other words, they make culture universalias. These are the Categories of Ultimate Bases or - birth, life, death and immortality, and world-view codes, - alimentary, erotic, aggressive and informative, and also their combinations and formula „life - death - immortality".
They form not only the core basis of culture texts, but also serve as the analytical language of description of these texts.
Defining the invariant elements of a fairy-tale structure is the applied version of the search of culture invariants. On the basis of his own conception Me author provides a falsification of theory of V. Propp, which asserts, that the structure of a fairy-tale is formed by transformation of functions of fairy-tale characters into semantic units and that a fairy-tale is the reflection of reality, first of all - the initiation ceremony.
This falsification is due to acceptance of such base concepts, which are in conflict with it. The falsification of consequences of the theory, which has been conducted, defined falsification of all theoretical system, where these consequences had been taken from (modus tollens). Its falsification has been also proved by the fact that this work managed not only to open "reproduction effect", but also to set up and prove the empiric hypothesis of low level of universality, which describes this effect (K. Popper).
This empiric falsifying hypothesis confirms that any empiric culture text in a specific form through the historically preconditioned concepts reproduce a base universal cultural formula "death -immortality".
The universal utterances of metaphysical, philosophical worldview appear on its basis. The critical review of V. Propp's conception showed that in the reconstruction of a fairy-tale structure he stopped on the superficial, second-rate level of elements of its structure.
On the basis of this falsification in this monograph the author puts forward his own conception not only of the description, but also of explanation the source of structuring of cultural discourses. The factors, which determine the structure of culture texts, are base existential options of human being.
These options as a result reproduce such a world of signs and meanings, which are identical in any culture. Because of it the humanity is united and indivisible not only in an anthropological, but also in cultural and historical aspect. People of different cultures differ one from another not in what they do exactly, but in how they do it.
1. Philosophical and methodological basis of the Weltanschauung Categories of Ultimate Bases researching
The main factors that determine the failures of applied structuralism, the study of folklore or ethnopoetry in the search of invariants of the texts of culture are their inability to find an adequate methodological ensuring for solving its applied problems, admission of the secondary epiphenomenal structures of the texts as the subject of investigation, ignoring the philosophical and Weltanschauung-ideological approach in the structurally-typological investigations of culture. In the research there is shown a positive effectiveness of implementation of the results of scientific investigations of Kуivan School of Philosophy in the process of detection of culture invariants (or culture universalias) that focused on the problem of human relation to the world. A foundation is given to the author's conception of interpretation of Weltanschauung (worldview) Categories of Ultimate Bases as the genuine invariants of culture (Culture Universalias). There is offered a hypothesis that one notional invariant - Categories of Ultimate Bases is at the heart of all the system of cultural texts (discourses).
World is the world of a person, a projection of human senses to an objective reality. Therefore the major meanings of the world, in spite of their apparent objectivity, are inherently anthropomorphous. Objective parameters of the world in their universal meanings fix categories of philosophy. But, being forms of thinking, they simultaneously act as total forms of worldview. In this function they serve as a concrete definition of the Categories of Ultimate Bases. This proceeds from the fact that in conceptually-philosophical models of the world the Philosophic Categories are Weltanschauung and theoretical generalizations of the Categories of Ultimate Bases.
Since the world in its intrinsic definitions depends on a person, for the profound comprehension of the world it becomes obviously necessary to solve the problem of human essence. To put it otherwise, defining the world as projection of humanly significant senses on an objective reality places the emphasis on the very person. Hence in the research there were considered the typological approximations to a person. The first of them gives the person the naturalistic and essential definitions. Usually the essence of a person is defined by the list of the most significant indications, as it is considered, or by leading the concept person under a wider concept (an animal, a being) with its further concretization. Nevertheless, if to recognize, that any of the mentioned intrinsic features of a person is not characteristic for a concrete individual, it unambiguously leads to a conclusion, that the person, who is deprived even of these essential features, actually is not a person. Therefore, the definition of the person as an active animal making the tools of labour, a moral creature, and a being that has religion or a biped animal without feathers etc. cannot be considered satisfactory as there are legless invalids, people who made a vital principle of idleness, people frankly immoral or atheists.
The second approach, axiomatic, rests on the basic vital intentions of a person. From the given data it is possible to draw the following conclusions. To axiomatic definitions of the person against which it is hardly possible to object owing to their evidence, refer the following: 1) the person is a living creature; 2) the fundamental inclination of the person as a living being is an aspiration for a survival which can be named as an instinct of self-preservation; 3) as any other living being a person possesses all basic vital functions called to provide realization of beforementioned fundamental inclination - nutritive, reproductive, aggressive and informational functions; 4) as well as everything in the world, the person is not eternal, he is a mortal being; 5) unlike other living beings the person is a unique creature in the world that understands his own individual finiteness and considers this phenomenon as a subject of a special personal Weltanschauung reflection.
The third approach which gives polar mortally-immortal definitions of the person, has the certain bases in the real facts of absence of precise borders between life and death in their ontological displays that was especially brightly showed in the widespread self-name of people as beings of the mortal nature (Engl. „man” - `mort', Lаt. „homo” - `humus', old-Irish „duine” - `mortal').
Real means for the person to exceed his individual finiteness is socially caused going out of his own, naturally determined limits. Through that the transcendentation in the world appears as intrinsic feature of the person. Active overcoming by the person the natural limits of his own existence leads to creation of the "second", "humanized" nature, which becomes his „inorganic body”. Reification, objectification, incarnation, transformation - all these concepts express one and the same process - the process of overstepping by the person in his qualitative intrinsic definition the naturally determined limits.
Let's recede a step back and start searching for the essence of the person “from a blank sheet”, basing upon "axiomatic" postulates, that is, such which are obvious. And it is unconditionally obvious that the person is a living being. So, the certain functions directed to support existence are inherent in person, as in any other living being. Specifically human realization of these functions occurs during the process of aim relying and detail-practical transformation of the world. Therefore an unnatural, humanized world is formed. Each new generation coming to the world, finds a historically determined system of past objectified intrinsic forces of the person which through disobjectification becomes a basis for socialization of new generation.
Development of objective transformation of the world by this new generation leads to change of the world of objectives. The next generation of people passes socialization already under the influence of the changed objective senses of the cultivated world of people and so everything sinusoidally repeats at a later time.
This process which I name after Hegel and Marx through-self-life of the person is antithetic, regarding the substantial approach to his essence. The essence of the person is formed on the basis of above outlined mechanism and consequently is rather functional than substantial. Reasoning from premises it is possible to make a conclusion that the essence of the person as a social being is defined by those factors that are its own product. For this reason, the person in a certain sense is the creator of herself.
As long as the object of the research alongside with the world and the person is the culture, on the basis of the offered approach there is given a separate definition to it. It is offered to understand Culture as the form and process of specific transformation of the natural source to the human one, the main point of that is "cultivation” of human in the person, that simultaneously transforms culture to means of life-support.
Being a living creature, the person requires satisfaction of some needs to support the existence; these needs are caused by peculiarities of his corporal organization, inherited from his evolutionary ancestors. All of them to some extent can be lead to one fundamental inclination peculiar to every living being - to aspiration for self-preservation, for continuation of life. All other basic functions of an organism are subordinate to it. This human aspiration (inclination), being socialized, gets essentially different, than in the animal kingdom, forms of realization.
Transformed in culture and presented at different levels of world attitude, the basic functions and fundamental aim at life supporting form a part of worldview consciousness (as the forms of world attitude) and act as its steady components, in a certain sense - constants. Worldview as an ideal constituent of world attitude and the form of the person's self-knowing includes these constants, and within their limits they become “Universalias of culture”.
The person always vitally comprehended and sharply experienced the finiteness, frailty. In the myths, religion, folklore, literature, philosophy and other forms of spiritual perception of reality the Weltanschauung universalias corresponding to the given type of public consciousness are recreated, among them the categories of ultimate bases, the existence of the person in the world are central, namely - birth, life, death and immortality. Consequently the attitude of the person to the world is first of all the attitude of a finite being (that declines to his own completion).
Because of stated, in the work there is elaborated a language of description and the analysis of culture Universalias, as well as regulations specifying it. Semantic and lexical units of this language are the categories of ultimate bases, the codes of the worldview and the basic world outlook formula.
By Categories of Ultimate Bases (CUB) I understand the constitutive, structural components of worldview connected with socialization and improvement of fundamental bases of existence of the person in the world in context of his finitary temporality. CUB in their worldview aspect are not only objective forms of existence of the person in the world (ontology of CUB), but also means of understanding of this phenomenon (worldview and philosophical aspect of CUB).
Reasoning from the use of the term “categories of ultimate bases” which is available in the literature one can draw the following conclusion. If categories of philosophy are the general forms of activity, and activity, in some authors' opinion (V. Zviglyanich, M. Parniuk), is the ultimate basis of human existence in the world, it becomes clear that these categories simultaneously act as the general elements of the ultimate bases of existence of the person in the world.
If we accept the fact, that categories are a certain generalization of activity, then the following step will consist in recognition of that this activity occurs with the purpose of realization of the basic cultural-universal formula of support and continuation of life. The Categories, consequently, represent some invariant moments not only of activity as a pure process, but also of the activity that consists of the person's aspiration for consolidation of the existence, supporting of life and overcoming of his own finiteness.
As long as the person achieves the realization of the basic world outlook formula by means of functions that are peculiar to all living beings but are transformed in culture such as the nutritive and reproductive functions, the function of aggression and defence, and the function of transfer of experience, then, according to the above-listed functions that form a part of culture, they can be defined as alimentary, erotic, aggressive and informative codes of worldview.
The given language is defined more exactly by the following theses. Attitudes of the person to the world represent a multivariate phenomenon, therefore the processes of transformation of natural displays of life to specifically human existence in the world are realized in different forms, depending on a level of the relation “the person - the world”. In my opinion, the main of them are the objectively-practical, ritually-ceremonial, practically-spiritual and spiritually-theoretical levels of world attitude.
Along with that, at all these levels one can see the basic vital impulse transformed to cultural forms which is expressed in the leitmotif of culture, in the basic cultural-world outlook formula „Generation and consolidation of life, the denying of death, aspiration for immortality”. In the habituйs changed in limits of culture these categories act as the genitive, vital, mortal and immortal categories of ultimate bases.
A complex interaction (mixing or contamination) is possible both between the CUB and the codes. They also can get strong and weak forms of representation of type: death > disappearance> exile > removal> leaving (the mortal CUB); birth > appearance > arrival > approach (the genitive CUB); defeat > blow > a swear word (an aggressive code in contamination in the latter case with an informational code); love > a love inclination > friendship > sympathy (an erotic code), etc.
These natural inclinations undergo the certain changes in the system of culture. Simultaneously to cultivation, growing of the natural source in culture its transformation (reorganization) also takes place, that can be accompanied by the leading of natural instincts to the certain course, channel (canalize). They can be also suppressed and forbidden (tabooed).
The world relations of the person are carried out in categorically ultimate forms. Therefore the available "aspects" of consideration of categories, such as ontological, logical, epistemological, functional, socio-historical and Weltanschauung-ideological (where the matter concerns their functioning in different forms of outlook) should be enlarged also by universally-cultural aspect. In fact along with all mentioned above, categories of philosophy have also such contents, and, accordingly, such function that are connected with characterization of the world on the basis of categories of ultimate bases extremely generalized in a philosophical reflection.
Taking that into account philosophical categories appear also as a way of understanding by the person of his life at such level of generalization when antithetic categories, for instance, existence and nothing, finite and infinite, acceptance and denying, etc. appear as the form of a concrete definition of a global Weltanschauung (World-outlook) antithesis of life and death.
As long as categories of philosophy appear as total forms of world attitude in its vitally significant parameters, that is, as philosophical-reflective expression of CUB, then all functions and features belonging to them are also inherent in the world outlook categories of ultimate bases. CUB in this case also represent universal, categorical definitions of the world, the person and his attitude to it during the realization of concrete historical types of world attitude in its cultural displays.
The universally-cultural aspect of philosophical categories reveals itself when they become means of understanding of vitally meaningful sides of life of the person. In such sense the categories of philosophy as generalization of CUB function in structure of forms of worldview where extremely generalized features of human existence, as that of a finite being, are projected on the world. On these categorical antitheses that go back to the antithesis of life and death, the worldview pictures (including religious views, cosmological and historical theories) are reconstituted, and the key concepts are those of the beginning and the end.
2. Categories of Ultimate Bases as Universalias of Culture
This part of the work deals with consideration of the transformation of natural basic functions during the socio-cultural formation of the person, an original interpretation is given to morphology of culture from the standpoint of universally-cultural approach. An illustration is given to the difference between “concepts” and “denotations” in texts of culture i.e. distinguishing between invariant components of cultural texts and their conceptual equivalents in the descriptive languages of the texts. On the basis of critical examination of different approaches to culture universalias Me author shows methodological and heuristic advantages of the concept of Categories of ultimate bases as culture universalias.
Realization of the selected strategy of the research and application of language of the description in the analysis of transformation of natural basic functions during the socio-cultural progress of mankind within the limits of creation of artificial means of their realization, reproduction in ceremonies and rituals, understanding at a level of spiritually-practical and theoretical consciousness has allowed to determine judgements, how the alimentary, erotic, aggressive and informative functions are cultivated, tabooed, canalized and in such form are represented as invariants of the structure of cultural texts.
For instance, the entire system of reception and transfer of acquired knowledge in scientific and educational establishments originates from "cultivation" of the informative function, the majority of societies used to taboo an asocial, aggressive behaviour and to canalize not normative forms of realization of erotic function though prostitution can be cultivated in the form of temple prostitution. The last function can also get the cultivated display in sexual elements, and not only in wedding ceremonies, but also funeral and calendar ones. There are religions where sexual function gets attributes of a cult, and it is shown not only in the East, but in Christianity (nunnery as a brides of Christ).
On the whole, it is a question of radical transformation of natural inclinations to especially human forms of behaviour, and by no means positive, when the person, always acting either worse, or better, as compared with an animal, but never being equal to it, is capable both of disgustingly low behaviour, and of unprecedented rises of the spirit.
Basic functions in process of their development have got an institutionalized form, having formed the certain kinds of cultural forms. In other words, socialized functions, becoming institutes, "stand stock-still" in the certain forms.
At a level of physical existence of the person the formation of corporal culture takes place. The ability to render a qualified medical assistance also refers to cultural attributes of one or another society, that allows to speak about culture of health. In other words, maintenance of normal vital functions of the body with the help of special means, methods and substances, and also by means of sanitary arrangements leads to formation of medical culture. The physical training is directed towards an artificial development of natural opportunities of body, that in its extreme way becomes a kind of sports culture, bodybuilding and a cult of body in a modern mass culture.
At the objectively-practical level the alimentary function in its wide sense in the process of its humanization has generated a powerful layer of the cultivated objectivity which is united by the general name of material culture. Artificial transformation of nature generates specific forms of a technical culture.
Therefore scientists use the terms agriculture, speak about hunting, fishing, craft, industrial and other cultures. The certain types of cultures undergo even more detailed classification. For instance, if the matter concerns pottery then by separate characteristics of pottery it is easy to identify some old cultures in general.
Objectively-practical transformation of the nature generates specific forms of functionally subordinated to each other relations between people, or industrial culture which at a level of direct labour operations finds display in manufacturing culture or a standard of work. These types of culture provide not only technological equipment of work (corresponding to a level of development of productive capacity) and skilfulness of workers, but also a high level of technical and organizational supplying of this process. Here the matter concerns technological and technical and organizational culture. But one can hardly imagine modern manufacture without an appropriate financial and economic supply, management and organizing.
Therefore there appear such spheres of cultural regulation of human activity that are covered by the concept of economic and administrative culture, the cultures of management in general. Obligatory features of a modern expert are also a high standard of business, business etiquette, etc.
In the process of transformation of the nature the person, satisfying his needs for nutrients, energy and conditions of life in general, makes the object of his activity, the nature, be a subject of special cultural regulation that leads to the formation of ecological culture or culture of nature management, including an indicative in meaning "rе-cultivation" of the activity objects.
Development of basic function of continuation of clan at a level of objective-practical world relation generates a system of cultural types which arise on the basis of cognate relations and relations in family as in a social institute. This universal cultural phenomenon corresponds with culture of family relations. Human communities which originate owing to realization of two mentioned functions of the person, also give separate cultural forms.
According to this it is possible to speak about culture of international relations, and in a wider sense, paying attention to authoritative functions of the state, about political culture. Normative cultural regulation of property, authoritative, industrial, cognate and other relations leads to formation of legal culture.
The ritually-ceremonial level transforms the vital functions of the person to one cultural type, the contents of which makes a subject of studying for special cultural schools. As any living being has no rituals and ceremonies, it is possible to speak about them as a specific human way of development of the world within the limits of special, ritually-ceremonial culture. Briefly speaking, in ceremonies of sacrifice we see realization of contaminative aggressive and alimentary functions, in the rituals accompanying an establishment of conjugal relations - of the reproductive function etc.
The practically-spiritual level causes the occurrence of such cultural forms which are united in a class of spiritual culture in general. To its main types we refer myth, religion, folklore, art, literature and morality. This level generates the objective world of consciousness of the person which is often identified with culture in general. Therefore one of forms of the spiritually-practical relation of the person to the world, religion, is understood first of all as a cult.
The spiritually-theoretical level is also covered by the general concept of spiritual culture, but unlike the previous type of spiritual understanding of the world, here it is mainly deprived of its emotionally-sensual colouring. Here the "pure" cognitive process is subjected to cultivation; the culture of scientific research is formed.
Alongside of it the system of specially created means of transfer of socially meaningful information to the new generations is formed. Within the limits of culture of school and university education, a wider system of means and methods of transfer of information to children and adults with their simultaneous education - pedagogical culture - got its development.
The humankind paid not less attention to creation of cultural means of preservation of the information, cultivating writing, publishing, keeping a source of the information (libraries, museums, archives, etc.). Owing to this, the culture of writing qualitatively differs from cultures of illiterate people. Specific means of distribution, reception and transfer of information in language culture and culture of thinking are closely connected with these kinds of cultural forms.
There is no doubt that the mentioned cultural forms do not exhaust all the richness of culture. However, it has not been taken for the purpose here to give the full nomenclature of cultural types.
It was important to outline only the general principle of understanding of cultural formations as derivatives of their general source - existence of the person in the world, directed towards creation of artificial, cultivated conditions for "organization" of a human life as a whole.
Thus, on the basis of the universal-cultural approach to the morphology of culture in the work there was shown, how all variety of cultural forms can be led to the uniform basis when people differ one from another not by what they do in cultural sphere, but by how they do it. Therefore, it enables to establish not only anthropological, but also cultural unity of humankind.
That is, cultural unity of mankind is determined by identity of functional assortment of cultural and creative activity of the person as a patrimonial being, and divergence between cultures arises owing to involving different systems of objectivation into the realization of these functions.
These moments should be considered when defining the CUB-structure of culture texts.
Understanding of the importance of a problem of finding invariants of culture has made the search for culture universalias one of leading themes of modern philosophic-cultural researches. In the wide sense this concept has a widespread application though in the majority of works the approach to them has especially descriptive and declarative character which is shown in simple ascertaining that universalias are present in culture or in ascription to culture universalias a wide range of phenomena, in consequence of that these works are unproductive for my research.
Therefore, it is necessary to accept that the development of the problem of culture universalias cannot be considered satisfactory.
Categories of ultimate bases, on the one hand, are the subject of investigation and on the other - they exist as means of knowledge of the required invariants of cultural texts.
Consequently, we offer the methodological principle, which suggests to distinguish universal invariant constituents of the textual structures in the text itself („denotate”), and in notions („concepts”) by means of which these invariants are fixed and comprehended.
When the researchers (Heleasar Meletinsky and others) specify, that the fairy tale is structured within the limits of a destructive code, and Algirdas Greimas speaks about a gastronomic code of culture it is clear, that in the „languages of the description” they implicitly used such „concepts” which correspond to aggressive and alimentary world outlook codes.
It is necessary to distinguish also the forms of representation of the ultimate bases of human existence in the world at different levels of world relation and corresponding sciences with the specific conceptual apparatus, which have as the subject of investigation this concrete level.
For example, ontology of death is studied by thanatological branch of medicine and the ritually-ceremonial level of its representation in funeral ceremonialism - by ethnography. Accordingly, the „conceptual” description of one and the same boundary human situation in these branches of knowledge will be different.
In the work it is also proved, that existing substantial approaches to culture universalias eventually originate from the categories of ultimate bases and worldview codes.
And so, my viewpoint, when universalias of cultures are understood as categories of ultimate bases and codes, has its obvious essential advantages as it reveals the deep invariant elements of structure of culture texts, consequently all available points of view on cultural universalias seem only as a particular, specifically conceptually issued variant of my approach.
So, in the approach offered by Theodore Oyzerman, it is easy to see a wider CUB-structure. Such distinguished by him universalia of culture as labour is the basic form of supporting existence with the purpose of reception of substance and energy from an outer world (the alimentary code in its wide meaning).
The reverse influence of nature changed in the course of practice upon the person and conditions of his life has determined the origin of an ecological problematic, which is also considered by this author as a cultural universalia.
Reproductive function in its emotional-evaluative variant is presented by this researcher in universalias of matrimonial relations and respect for motherhood. Hospitality and peaceful co-existence of people as universalias of culture (according to Theodore Oyzerman) can be led under a wider CUB-base, namely - under an aggressive code in its tabooed manifestation.
At the same time the universalias „boldness and courage” as well as „war" give us the cultivated aggressive code. In the certain degree the same code in the same expression is visible in the first part of Oyzerman universalia „self-control in the face of death”. Courage here has obvious indications of force, strength of mind, and it is nothing else but one of conceptual expressions of aggressive code. At the same time, courage is directed against death, that is against denying of life.
Therefore, in this case on the basis of the given universalia one can notice also an intentially presented immortal category. Similar result in detection of the deep CUB-contents has been received during the analysis of other works on this theme (Bronislav Malinovsky, George Murdock, John Passmor, etc.).
3. Investigation of profound invariant of the structure of a fairy tale as the applied version of search for universalias in texts of culture
The chapter begins with consideration of conceptualization of structurally-formal studying of a fairy tale by Roman Volkov. Thus I regarded the searches for the inner invariant of the structure of a fairy tale as the applied version of revealing universalias in texts of culture. Then the approach to structure of a fairy tale of Vladimir Propp is examined. In the chapter CUB-aspects of the reconstruction of „historical roots of a magic fairy tale” by V. Propp is stated also.
The analysis of the work of Roman Volkov (Волков Р. М. Сказка. Разыскания по сюжетосложению народной сказки. - Одесса: Гос. изд-во Украины, 1924) has shown, that he possesses a priority in undertaking of structurally-formal studying of a fairy tale. This is true because it was he who carried out for the first time the classification of a separate type of fairy tales (where the characters are unjustly expelled) and through formalization proved that in each of its versions there is present a constant invariant.
At the same time, he implicitly used categories of ultimate bases and codes as the language of the description (the formalized elements of fairy tale structure). Categories of ultimate bases and codes made also an inner invariant of fairy tales contents, which underwent formalization.
For instance, the aggressive world outlook code is at the heart of the type of the selected for the analysis fairy tales about guiltlessly persecuted. Persecution as the hostile aggressive act provides presence of the one who persecutes, and the one who is persecuted. At the same time persecution as the dynamic motive plays the role of the leading moment of development of all narration. In the given type of fairy tales he actualizes the basic formula „life - death (threat of a life) - immortality (removal of the threat)”.
The main feature of Vladimir Propp approach consisted in recognition as elements of structure of a fairy tale of those semantic units which were formed on the basis of functions of the characters. There can be many characters, but the number of functions is finite. In each fairy tale it is possible to distinguish these identical functions.
Therefore, externally different fairy tales as a matter of fact, according to V. Propp, are identical. Such point of view has got all attributes of a research paradigm, having set for the long years the general direction of research of not only the fairy tale invariants, but also of other narrative texts. Simultaneously the real fairy tale structure nevertheless was showed to some extent in the language of description of a fairy tale offered by him.
Later this fact was objectively examined in my work, as a result we discovered that for the conceptual forms of V.Propp's “language of description” of the fairy tale structure there stand CUB and corresponding codes.
The same result has been received at the analysis of works on the structure of a fairy tale by the followers of V. Propp within the limits of his paradigmatic functional approach.
The solution by V. Propp of his own research problems was embodied in four postulates:
1) the functions of characters are the constant elements of a fairy tale; 2) a number of the functions of a magic fairy tale is limited; 3) the sequence of functions is always invariable; 4) all magic fairy tales are of the same type according to the structure. It has enabled to draw a conclusion, that morphologically all fairy tales can be originated from one fairy tale on abduction of tsarevnas (princesses) by the Dragon and their rescue by the hero (Аф131).
The analysis of the „ language of the description” (of functions of characters both in their formal record, and in substantial displays), offered by V. Propp, shows, that these functions have a precise universally-cultural distinctness. In the "basic" fairy tale the matter actually concerns how, feeling a fatal threat, the heroine or heroines eventually are rescued.
That is, an authentic invariant of this fairy tale (according to V. Propp, all the others are reduced to it), is one of the versions of the basic world outlook formula „life - threat of life - rescue”. On the basis of the material stated by V. Propp there is shown a universally-cultural isomorphism of a fairy tale and “reality”. At the same time here it has been paid attention to problematic character of explanations of genesis and transformation of texts as representations of "reality".
For intensification of my position I have brought examples of criticism of this postulate of V. Propp "from within", from the point of view of specialists in folklore and narratologists. They warned against carrying out of erroneous unequivocal correspondence between a fairy tale and ceremonies, and also a widely understood "reality" (Albert Bajburin, Alexander Reshetov, Peter Bogatyryov especially - Богатырев П. Г. Магические действия, обряды и верования Закарпатья / Богатырев П. Г. Вопросы теории народного искусства. - М., 1971; reissue of: Actes magiques rites et croyances en Russie Subcarpathique. - Pr., 1929).
Addressing to „historical roots” of fairy tale "morphology", V. Propp began to understand a fairy tale as a certain secondary, derivative structure, as reflection of another, out-fabulous "reality". He regarded it first of all as the cycle of initiation (a ceremony of ordaining) and, in less degree, as a cycle of idea of death.
I have critically reviewed the works of followers of V. Propp who aimed "to improve" his conception (Vadim Baevsky, Neonila Krinichnaya, Natalia Hobzej, Nikolay Kisljakov, Rachel Lipets, and others) and have come to conclusion, that many of them had the same methodological difficulties, as V. Propp. They were connected first of all with an establishment of a real historical and genetic correlation of a ceremony, an epos or a fairy tale with "reality", and also with verification of both the procedures of reconstruction, and the achieved results.
Especially vulnerable for criticism there were conclusions of Heleasar Meletinsky (Мелетинский Е. М. Герой волшебной сказки: происхождение образа. - М., 1958) who tried to find the original sources of an image of a character of a magic fairy tale in “the social reality”. He considered them as a usual right (common law) of “minorat” when all parental property passed to the younger son.
But, contradicting to himself, H. Meletinsky considered also in an absolutely non-corresponding to this right oppression of the younger brother by the elder brothers the sources of an image of the poor character. If the “minorat” underlies the fairy tales where there appears a deprived character, then in particular the elder brothers who were disinherited of any property, should appear as destitute characters.
In the book it has been found out, that the deep underlying causes of structure of a fairy tale are CUB and codes in their formula sheaf. As consequence of this during the research there has emerged a problem whether the CUB-structure of a fairy tale is an adequate representation of a universal-cultural structure of "reality" of a ceremony, or, probably, both the fairy tale and the ceremony have such structures independently from each other?
And if it will be ascertained, that secondariness of structure of a fairy tale relatively to the structure of the reality is doubtful, there arises one more problem - what is exactly defined by the formation of the fairy tale structure (or form as the way of organization of its contents)? For this reason, there was the necessity for critical viewing of V. Propp's paradigm from viewpoint and on the basis of philosophic and worldview approach. On its basis there opens the prospect of making a correct methodological base of all theoretical generalizations of applied folklore and ethnographic researches.
Only in that case we shall receive an adequate knowledge of a real structure of the texts of culture and find out the reasons of such structurization of them. In other words, there opens the opportunity to change the descriptive method of research to an explanatory one.
However, to make the new concept of invariants of the structure of culture texts productively working, it is necessary to show mistakes and weaknesses of existing approaches. Preliminary step in this direction became revealing of internal contradictions and discrepancy in the concept of V. Propp that has served as the precondition of its falsification (according to Charles Popper's theory).
4. An explication of internal contradictions of the theory of V. Propp as a precondition of its falsification
The chapter begins with a critical verification of the concept of structurally functional morphology of a fairy tale according to V. Propp. It is carried out by revealing problematical character of formation of semantic units of a fairy tale on the basis of functions of actants. It is shown also, that the way out of the impasse of applied structuralism within the confines of an antithesis "element-structure" is possible based on a wide philosophic and world outlook approach only.
Questions which arise here first of all, consist in that, how much successfully V. Propp was able to reconstruct its real structure in formal language of the description of a fairy tale. One of disadvantages of his formalization is ignoring of the circumstance, that the fairy tale, except of actions of its characters includes in the structure their states, non-realized desires, aspirations, etc., and also various consequences of these actions, and this just has not fallen under procedures of formalization.
Besides, there remain some non-examined processes and phenomena which can depend on functions of the characters, and can remain only as conditions of their activity.
In spite of an over-formalized language of the description, V. Propp simply ignores in "inconvenient" cases some functions of some characters.
So, in case of when such character as the father, has sexual interest to his daughter (shocking though a widespread function in fairy tales), we should have a semantic unit as „daughterfucker”. Also there were not formalized such characters who during a fabulous narration considerably change their functions. That leads to their declaration as "mysterious" and causes those additional, but unpersuasive explanations that are offered by V. Propp.
But when trying to add the opposite definitions to them, it makes them semantically different units of a fairy tale (a "grantor" acts simultaneously as a "wrecker") that "breaks" the idea of V. Propp from within. To other essential imperfections of V. Propp's concept we should add also leaving without explanation of incomplete application of a theoretical part of his concept in his own works. Actually, from all of the more than three tens functions distinguished by V. Propp only a little of them was entered into the basic scheme (б1е1А1В4С^П4Л5^) of the main fairy tale № 131 (from collected stories by A. Afanas'ev).
Thus, it is necessary to ascertain, that the idea offered by V. Propp that a fairy tale invariant consists of permanent functions which number is invariable, and the sequence is constant, gives essential failures, because, firstly, quite not all the functions of actants of a fairy tale form those steady semantic units which allegedly are constant elements of a fairy tale structure.
Secondly, he has not solved the problem not only of correlation of the opposite functions inherent in one actant during the change in time of a pole of its action, but also could not formalize these features of a fairy tale, owing to that an allegedly steady semantic unit becomes blurred (according to V. Propp, this semantic unity is an atomic basic fairy tale element). All this testifies to an internal inconsistency of the theory of V. Propp, establishment of this fact is an important step to revealing of its falsity (falsification).
The heart of the problem "a structure - an element", formulated with reference to studying of a fairy tale, looks like a question, whether the structure (a plot or motive) sets the functions of elements (characters), or, on the contrary, the functions of characters build a plot? If functions of actants are constant, then exactly these characters, being involved in a fabulous narration „at a right time and in the right place”, will determine its structure. But if these actants are really rigidly defined in their functions, then it is difficult to imagine a fairy tale where the Little Red Riding Hood catches the Wolf in the forest of and eats him up.
At the same time, there are many fabulous and folklore actants which functions are not definitely set. Thus, say, the Wood-goblin can frighten people, steal children and so on, but he also helps to pasture the cattle, kindly lulls the child forgotten by a mother. What structure then will be set to a fairy tale by this ambivalent character?
One of the ways of decision of the denoted problem "structure-element" consists in admission that, according to the principle “the structure determines the function of elements”, not the actant builds the structure, but the structure, in cases when the actant has taken the certain place in it, "compulsorily" sets corresponding functions to an actant.
At first sight, it seems so. Nevertheless, the matter is that the basic invariant fairy tale structure does not exist in pure form, just as it is. Similarly, to an archetype, it demonstrates itself only through an objective material, but is not reduced to it.
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