Спор об этическом учении Л. Н. Толстого в рассказе А. П. Чехова «Печенег»
KeywordsА.П. ЧЕХОВ, "ПЕЧЕНЕГ", Л.Н. ТОЛСТОЙ, ТОЛСТОВСТВО, РЕЛИГИОЗНАЯ ФИЛОСОФИЯ, КОНЦЕПЦИЯ ЛИЧНОСТИ, A.P. CHEKHOV, "THE PECHENEG", L.N. TOLSTOY
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AbstractРассказ А.П. Чехова «Печенег» редко становится предметом специального анализа. Впервые это произведение рассматривается в аспекте чеховской критики отдельных положений религиозно-философской этики Л.Н. Толстого. Впервые в указанном аспекте предпринят сопоставительный анализ главных героев рассказа, на основании чего предложены выводы об общем достаточно критическом отношении Чехова к толстовской этике.
Anton Chekhov''s story "The Pecheneg" (1897) is not often analyzed in particular. In our essay it is for the first time considered from the point of view that in it Chekhov criticizes some elements of the religious and philosophical ethics of Leo Tolstoy. The essay aims at demonstrating that the story is organized by Chekhov''s polemic with some ideas of the Tolstoyan movement, such as non-violence and, in particular, vegetarianism. For the first time the two main figures of this story are analyzed in this aspect, on behalf of which conclusions are drawn concerning Chekhov''s general attitude towards the Tolstoyan ethics, which is rather critical. We pay attention to the relations between the two writers. Chekhov profoundly esteems Leo Tolstoy''s work and his personality. But he criticizes Tolstoy''s weltanschauung in many points, because he is convinced that working for the good of human beings is more important than abstinence from meat or other forms of asceticism. M. Freise observes that there is an intertextual connection between Chekhov''s story "The Pecheneg" and Tolstoy''s tale "The Cossacks". This leads us to the opinion that, in order to understand Chekhov''s attitude towards Tolstoy''s doctrines, it is "The Pecheneg" that assumes a key role, and most of all, the relations between the two main figures in it. Chekhov presents Zhmukhin and his guest as antagonists. Zhmukhin is an old, meagre, nervous, stupid, ridiculous and unkind man; his guest is a blond and well-fed man in his midlife. He is a very quiet man, who can clearly say why he is a vegetarian, and consistently respects this moral principle. But we can state meaningful parallels between both heroes: Zhmukhin treats his wife badly, the guest, in a crucial moment, does not help her; Zhmukhin is symbolically condemned during the Judgment Day, the guest is included into this condemnation; Zhmukhin is keen on his own spiritual tranquility, the guest is obviously also predominantly interested in the same; Zhmukhin reflects on the good aspects of life without violence, and most of all on vegetarianism, the guest is a clearly convinced vegetarian and a peaceful and meek person; Zhmukhin is nervous from the very beginning, the guest loses his appearance of superiority and pure spirituality at the last moment. Describing Zhmukhin as a morally depraved person who in vain pretends to have (or longs for having) wise thoughts and does not lead a wise life, Chekhov at the same time points out that, from his point of view, Tolstoyans like the guest sometimes do not live any better than people like the "pecheneg". Thus we come to a conclusion that Chekhov in this story expresses his opinion that representatives of the Tolstoyan weltanschauung often spend their time philosophizing in vain, instead of helping those who need practical support.