The main achievements of English writers at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries were the transformations, the “explosion” of the “great styles” of Victorian realism, and the romanticism of early 19th-century English literature. Deep psychologism and philosophical generalization of images – one of the main characteristics of creativity – overcame the framework of Victorian realism and romanticism of one of its representatives RL Stevenson.
Walter Scott, Dickens, and Thackeray, who are inferior to the great writers of the first half of the XIX century in the breadth of the image of public life and social contradictions or simply abandon the image of such, RL Stevenson shifts the emphasis to the psychology of human characters, philosophy of human destiny.
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Of course, RL Stevenson is one of the greatest exponents of the romantic and aesthetic reaction against the realism of the first half of the 19th century. (Dickens, Thackeray, etc.), which appeared in the second half of the Victorian period . Beginning with the “great realists” of the nineteenth century, Stevenson abandoned the structural technique of their novel.
Stevenson deliberately turned to the techniques of the novels of W. Scott, Smollett and even D. Defoe, skillfully using their methods of storytelling and trying to hide behind their protagonists.
However, Stevenson overcame the romanticism of English literature in the early nineteenth century and turned it into a more complex and diverse artistic method of neo-romanticism. Since romanticism at the beginning of the century, no matter how he broke with the canons of classicism, according to the individual and his relationship to society, he often could not overcome the scheme.
In 1880, Memoirs of Himself, Stevenson recalls how troubled he was by the hero’s problem. “Is it worth describing a non-heroic life at all?” he asked himself. During the writer’s reflections on his youth, doubts dissipated. “There are no such things as absolutely bad people: everyone has their strengths and weaknesses,” – in this judgment of one of Stevenson’s characters, David Belfur, he expressed the faith of the writer himself . And a work of art that can be said to live and will live, according to Stevenson, combines the truth of life and the ideal in it, is “both realistic and ideal,” as he describes his chosen principle of artistic creativity in a short article. formulated.
Signs of neo-romanticism in his work
The sharpness of psychological analysis, recognition, and representation of life in all its diversity and depth confirms, thus, the relevance of RL Stevenson’s work today, in the 21st century, as the predominant technocratic thinking through the humanitarian-development of mankind with a true understanding of higher spirituality and harmony. “New Romanticism” RL Stevenson, J. Conrad, A. Conan Doyle, R. Kipling, D. Hunt, W. Kingston, R. Ballantyne, and others embodied the moral religion of duty and self-sacrifice, discipline and faith, the harmonious unity of strength of spirit and physical strength.
The heroes of the “new romantics” are determined, ready for risk and battle, thirsty for travel and adventure. They are separated from the world of monotonous and virtuous bourgeois prosperity for the moral obligations of the imperial mission and for art and glory.
Isolation of realistic features in art
The writer’s talent as a realist is bright and diverse. He has worked in various genres – novels, short stories, travel essays, novels, poems, essays, plays. To trace the main stages of Stevenson’s “romance” (this concept should still be put in quotation marks to distinguish it from the real novel, the literary trend of the early nineteenth century), we must first consider the first two books of Stevenson, which mentions: Reise ins the country “An Inner Journey (1878) and a Donkey Journey to Sevenny (1879) .
In these works, Stevenson proved to be an experienced draftsman and a brilliant stylist. created a magical story that feels the freshness of perception, the “living soul” of the author.
Synthesis of romantic and realistic signs
In literary-critical works “Familiar Studies of People and Books” (1882), “Memories and Portraits” (1887) and others. Stevenson created a gallery of literary portraits. In one of the best articles in the first collection, devoted to W. Whitman, Xi wrote that he wanted to “teach people joy,” that these lessons should “sound joyful and sublime,” “build courage in men.” Hence R. Aldington rightly called Stevenson’s literary sketches of the works of E. Poe, F. Villon, Charles von Orleans, and R. Burns “small masterpieces.”
Stevenson’s brilliant irony was revealed in a two-volume collection of short stories, The New Arabian Nights (1882), written by the author based on the well-known Arabic stories of the Arabian Nights. This is a funny and meaningful parody of adventure fiction and the templates it contains. The basis of the second volume of this issue is the short stories “François Villons Nacht” and the short story “Pavilion by References”, which have nothing to do with the idea of fairy tales, but fall into the second volume, apparently for purely journalistic reasons. This is a kind of continuation of the literary study of the life of F. Villon, a French poet of the XV century, an attempt to look at his nature against the background of living conditions. These two works make it possible to clearly feel the originality of Stevenson’s neo-romanticism.
Moral and ethical issues have interested the writer throughout his life. In making their decisions, he relied on the traditions of the Romantics and, to some extent, on the work of F. Dostoevsky. The problem of good and evil in human nature Stevenson reveals in the novel “The Interesting Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” (“The Interesting Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, 1886) on the theme of the dual existence of the protagonist. Doctor. Jekyll, indulging in wealth and luxury and resorting to careful introspection, was miraculously able to use a magic potion to determine the embodiment of his wildest impulses in an independent being.
Thus was born the terrible Mr. Hyde, whose crimes led to terrible consequences: Evil has supplanted good by the nature of Dr. Jekyll, and the hero dies. His suicide shows that the drops of humanity that remained in him rebelled against evil and cruelty. This book became a huge hit among readers, on which Stevenson worked all his life .
Stevenson also wrote the romantic-realistic novels The Stolen (1886), Catriona (1893), The Black Arrow (1888), and The Master of Ballantry. »(1889). In these adventure books, the author often uses historical material, but for him, history is only a background against which he depicts the sharp dramatic situations and characters of courageous people.
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