a Ph.D. in Philology, a senior research fellow at the Department of Ukrainian and Foreign Folkloristics of the NASU M. Rylskyi Institute for Art Studies, Folkloristics and Ethnology
The History of Oral Memories Study: A Standpoint of Maksym Rylskyi and Modern Approaches
Folkloristics problems raised by Maksym Rylskyi in the article ‘The Beauty and Greatness of Folk Art’ (1957) are analyzed. Many of them are relevant till the present time. This concerns the leading problem of folkloristics – the definition of the main subject of the research, i. e. the determination of the limits of the folklore as a phenomenon, what is folklore, which terms are used to nominate it.
Rylskyi has analysed the use of the term slovesnist’ (literature) to define folklore. The author, referring to the authority of Ushakov’s dictionary, has considered that slovesnist’ includes all the creativity found out in the word, not only the artistic word. The term Folk Poetical Art did not satisfy Maksym Tadeyovych just because it did not cover the ‘memories of the participants of the significant events’, that scholars today call memorials (oral memoirs) and memoirs (written reminiscences). Although these texts are not too artistic, that is their language is not as poetically completed as in classical folklore genres, such as ritual and lyric songs. Folklorists, according to Rylskyi opinion, should attract them to the field of their research. Maksym Rylskyi has refered to folk narrations for the second time in the definition of the verbal folklore term, when he defends the idea that folklore is still used actively.
Today we are convinced every time that the folk word responds actively to different events, and the results of this verbal activity are difficult to fit into the usual classification of folklore genres. Rylskyi has noticed this tendency at that time, and in the list of new records he again does not forget to mention folk stories. The researcher has used the following nominations for the definition of the texts, which today are often called the oral history: stories, oral stories, short stories, stories of experienced people, memories of the participants of the significant events. This list indicates that the author of the analyzed work has considered that oral stories are very important. Three terms: narratives, oral narratives, the reminiscences of the participants of significant events affirm that Rylskyi has comprehended the fundamental difference between literary and folklore text.
Maksym Rylskyi, oral history, literary text, folklore text, oral memoirs.
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