Transformation of the French Pattern of a Naturalistic Character in Ivan Franko’s Literary Works

Kyiv-Mohyla Humanities Journal 5:183-200 (2018)
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Abstract

The article deals with the means of constructing a naturalistic character, the model for which was proposed by French writers: the Goncourt brothers and Émile Zola. Naturalists draw their personage concept from the interpretation of its biological nature. The focus of its depiction is shifted to the study of fundamental features of human nature rather than “variables” of the historical forms of its manifestation. A naturalistic character, being “a biological being” rather than “a set of social relations,” is completely absorbed by the environment. The “social” core of a realistic personage is based on the principles of typification, but the “biological” core of a naturalistic character cannot be a generalized type because in it the individual prevails over the typified. Images of Germinie Lacerteux and Thérèse Raquin from the Goncourts’ and Zola’s same-name novels respectively are considered to be prototypes of naturalistic characters. In Ukrainian literature, Ivan Franko interpreted and synthesized Western European experience using realistic and naturalistic art to create his own concept of “scientific realism.” The difference in Franko’s personage construction lies in the fact that he does not confine himself to the observation and description of his heroes’ behavior but offers a plan for correcting their deficiencies.

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