Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences
Institute of Literature named after Nizami Ganjavi


The age of technology, oral culture and our prose - Maral Yagubova

03-11-2023 [ 12:32 ] [ read:44 ]
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When talking about the annual landscape of prose, the first thing that stands out is its agenda, first it is necessary to see the trending topics, determine the changing trends, if any, and detect the various narratives that represent the marginalized voices. Narratives are usually analyzed from three aspects: formal-structural, semantic and hermeneutic. In the first case, language and discourses, in the second case, the content, and in the third case, the context become the main tools. The famous "linguistic revolution" of the 20th century emphasized the horizontal function of language in the text, the meaning of the text was hidden in the textual readings of literature, the death of the subject and the autonomy of the language gave the text a ruthless freedom. But the subject returned, began to condemn the autonomy of language in the prisons of writing, tearing down the fourth wall and presenting its reality in an autofictive model. Both the literary text itself and the understanding are now considered as an act of cognitive process. The literary text is a virtual reality, and the mechanisms that create this reality are regulated by different conditions, what about the texts? why? and how? You need to think cognitively to answer the questions. Those who want to interpret prose texts within a year first turn 2022 itself into a question target. What can a year add to prose? A lot actually. For this, it is enough to remember what "Ulysses" (1922) added to prose exactly one hundred years ago. If we recall, 1922 is known as the "annus mirabilis" ("miracle year") of Anglo-American literary modernism due to the well-known works of James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Thomas Stearns Eliot published in that year. (Though it is not recognized at the proper level at the world level, due to objective and subjective reasons, a number of examples of Azerbaijani prose of the first decades of the 20th century can be evaluated as literary events: the most important are the stories of Mirza Jalil, Y.V.Chamanzaminli and A.Hagverdiyev.) Of course, A lot of time is still needed to determine the place and role of 2022 in the prose of the world and Azerbaijan.

In general, historians of the future see 2022 as a turning point, the threshold of a historical door that closes one era and opens another. In addition to global geopolitical fluctuations, war and threats, the end of the pandemic era after two consecutive intense years, on the other hand, the great victory won in the 44-day Patriotic War are the sources of this forecast. It is no coincidence that social inequality, climate change, future care, health and welfare issues, vaccine hesitancy and people tired of misinformation and studying their new nuanced behavior have made psychology a trend in various fields. In the past year, the science of psychology has begun to play an increasingly important role in the debate about how to solve the world's most difficult problems. This also affects literature. The pandemic and the resulting sense of instability are also shaping readers' demand and choice of books. Most readers prefer works that are directly related to the issues they are interested in. Books such as speculative science fiction novels, stories with dystopian elements, political texts, and non-fiction (non-fiction) about the world agenda help them understand the current problems of the world. Some readers, on the other hand, gravitate towards books that are lighter or allow them to forget the problems of the world while reading. The fact that romances as a genre lead the bestseller lists in the world book market and maintain their popularity is also due to the choice of an audience that replaces the act of reading with the escape from the world they know is terrifying. Romcoms (romantic comedies) can attract readers by adding comic situations to the constant appeal of romantic incitement. Other trends in fiction are dominated by war novels, post-apocalyptic fiction, dystopias, horror stories, and works about heroes defeating mystical evil forces, which encode the longing for the time when the whole world will unite against evil forces and win. These indicators stem from humanity's need for psychological catharsis. Searching for, finding and solving intrigue in the depths of history is also a way to escape from the present and take refuge in the past. It is understood that most of the works of art in the pandemic and post-pandemic period are not about the situation itself, but about the emotional, social and cultural response to it, derived from concepts such as love, well-being, care, and hope.

At the same time, the pandemic has pushed regular readers, who spend more time at home than usual, to read more than before, and non-readers to read for fun and learning. Also, changes in technology have affected both the popularity of some books and the way people read, e-books and audiobooks have gained popularity. Today, social networks (Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, TikTok, etc.) help authors in PR work, find their audience, influencer recommendations become a predictive power in which books become popular. All these factors mainly characterize mass literature. According to Walter Ong's prediction at the beginning of the 1980s, electronic technology, telephone, radio, television, etc. devices open the doors to a second oral culture. Although it differs from the first oral culture before writing, this second situation is also interested in privileging the mass over the individual. In the electronic world, words tend to become anonymous. The information collected from different databases is merged and new information is created. So, in 2022, a very different author entered our midst: ChatGBT wrote a novel. An invention of human intelligence, artificial intelligence became a rival to humans and wrote a children's novel called "Alice and Sparkle" on a Sunday in 2022. "Has the end of writing?", "Can artificial intelligence win the Nobel Prize?" on the agenda of world prose, which offers opportunities to see the differences between human intelligence and artificial intelligence in prose narratives. such questions began to appear. For example, the Amazon Kindle store has a large number of e-books that list ChatGBT as an author or co-author. There is enough information floating around the internet about ways to use and benefit from ChatGBT in creative writing. In a word, today, talking too much, transmitting information, describing and presenting can no longer ensure that prose narratives remain on the agenda. Artificial intelligence can already do these things. When approaching the concept of virtual reality as a semiotic phenomenon, there is a need to rethink the text, mimesis itself, narrative, theory, and the cognitive processes that create the text, while following the constructions of the artistic world in the light and shadow of electronic culture leads to different conclusions. Virtual reality is an invention of the 21st century; Who invented cinema in the 20th century? We must understand this reality and act accordingly. At present, virtual reality has the function of the most vivid metaphor in naming author-text-reader relations. Entering the text is like entering a digital wonderland in three-dimensional computer-generated spaces with devices such as HMDs (head-mounted displays) and DGs (data gloves). And a lot depends on the reality effect. Prose is based on tahki, and tahki is a virtual reality. This reality has two aspects: immersiveness and interactivity. In the first case, it immerses the reader in its waters, and in the second case, it involves interactive activity. For the second to happen, language must be used as an interface. The appearance of language in the text prevents readers from losing themselves in the world of the story. Semiotic alertness sees the interface that emerges from the vertical and horizontal functions of language in texts. When the instigator and the act of instigation cannot be seen in the text, the text absorbs the reader, physically and mentally immersed in the vortex of events in the flow of real life events. They fall into the semiotic blindness caused by immersion in the temporal, spatial and emotional layers of the text.

Social-psychological meaning constructions of narrative thinking find their expression in narrative language through language transformations. Because, behind the scenes that appear in literary texts, there are scenes of consciousness (beliefs, wishes, intentions, emotions, etc.) corresponding to social and psychological foundations. Observations show that post-war and post-colonial narratives are more relevant among the current problems in the presentation of local literature. Self-affirmation of national identity in the postcolonial environment has cognitive (cognitive), affective (emotional) and behavioral (behavioral) aspects. Today, in the Azerbaijani literature, the experience of cultural resistance (allegorical narratological discourses dominated by national/ethnic identification) that lasted for decades (especially 1970-80s) against the Soviet totalitarianism and domination of the novel genre has been transformed into different forms in the post-Soviet period. In such an environment, the hybrid narratological status caused by the psychological dependence on the Soviet type of thought (colonial traces) and the tendency to integrate into the new world, inevitable local (within ethnocultural, ethnopoetic, ethnographic values) resistance to the assimilation of global intellectual and aesthetic values, etc. there is a need to study the issues. When determining the ideological borders of the postcolonial Azerbaijani novel, the movement of narratives of thought from the socialist/colonial block to the capitalist/postcolonial block is followed, and the notions/concepts such as "transition", "uncertainty", "old and new borders", "change" created by the postcolonial environment the componentization of the text in the aesthetic (narratological) layer attracts attention. At this time, the question of how national and global identification is shaped in development is of interest. Synthesis of socio-psychological and narratological methods of analysis is a more correct way to name this process. Thus, psychonarratological approaches in the investigation of issues such as the degree and development of national identification, the role of context in development and the dimension of ethnic identity in the modern Azerbaijani novel conclude with interesting conclusions. One of the most memorable novels of 2022, Mahir N. Garayev's "The Last Colossus" presented itself as a psychological-associative novel. The novel was remembered as an interactive text based on postcolonial narratives. The psychological-associative novel attracted attention with its openness to formal-structural, semantic and hermeneutic interpretations.

Hopefully, prose is a collection of cognitive tools. Through these tools, he weaves loops between life and literature. There are two types of weavers: those who use life as material, and those who turn language itself into a ball of yarn. In the first case, the text becomes either a mirror, or a window, or any official document justifying life, or a surgical instrument that performs operations on life. In the second case, the text aspired to be an artifact, its weaver tries to show the written language itself with the exploratory attitude, strives to create the prose of meanings, and achieves this by creating related contexts. In the first case, prose tries to prove life, in the second case, change itself. Of course, both are literature. There is also an average situation where they agree with each other, which we can call the third situation. In the first case, the pictures of life that we all know can be seen from the window, the intention to show life as it is dominates such texts so much that it inevitably affects the style of the text, and increases the volume of the description of details, trifles, and intricacies. The paths taken to justify life also extend the narratological distances. The development of the novel "The last luminary" is characterized by a double framing. The borders of the real world and the artificial world can be melted into each other. The novel also presents the writing process itself as an interactive act.

Narrative thinking finds its expression in narratological language. Linguistic transmissions produce narratological meaning. Agshin Yenisey's novel "Panic of Letters" was also remembered as an interactive text that seeks to create narratological meaning within the text. In the novel, which claims that freedom begins where meaning is lost, the desire of the poet, tired of the eternity of meanings, to change his faith by taking refuge in the mortality of words is expressed. "A poet should not be a slave of meaning. One day, either due to an earthquake or a flood - the words fly away from their meaning, and the meanings remain petrified and aggravated, the poet becomes a ruin of meaning; you see that there is meaning in him, but there are no words in his language. Words are hardworking servants, or I don't know what. , they save us from the weight of meanings inside us, like ants lifting heavy burdens from themselves, they throw them out carrying their burden that crushes us, and over time they themselves perish one by one on this path, replaced by new ones, and it will be like this forever; meanings will always live, words will always die ". In these sentences, the epistemological possibilities of prose, along with the conflict between Word and Writing, are also displayed. Indeed, the extent to which a written culture still depends on the oral tradition today can be determined by the memory load in its mind, in other words, by the extent of memorization in its mind. The novel "The Panic of Letters" says that our artistic thinking suffers from hearing the verbal and eternal voice and needs to get rid of it.

The presence of a young writer named Yazmak in Sanan Ismayilov's novel "The Game of Letters", the novel technique in the novel, the importance of accepting his work as a novel rather than accepting himself as a writer for Yazmak makes interactive reading more relevant. Those in the "creative workshop" course organized by Saltan Yusup for young writers, with the novel within the novel - Saltan Yusup's (Sultan Yusuf's) "Printing Errors" novel - textual and meaningful communication is more based on the interactive act of reading. In Rashad Safar's novel "Songs of the Goats", the writer who tries to write his memories in a hurry under the influence of false fears, who is not interested in literature, does not want to create pearls of words, but just wants to get rid of it, wants to write an article called "Tired and Shadows". This novel was also remembered as an interactive text. Javid Ramazanov's novel "Amanabend" was also able to show the reader the mechanism of creating a text from the memories of the post-Soviet "Sovetsky". It is gratifying to have such texts that see and distinguish the boundaries of writing in our prose.

Ambitious text techniques and artistic solution in Aydın Talibzade's novel "Ramana", Rahim Aliyev's "Tag ev" is a 100-year chronology of the events narrated in the novel and the successful use of epic maximalism, Nariman Abdurrahmanli's novel "Shams" has a structure that is fed by Eastern traditions, Mubariz Jafarli's "Eggs for the Dead" " in the novel, the textualization of dream and reality in the same place of development are facts to be discussed from the theoretical aspect of prose. Kenan Haji's "Butterfly Valley", "Fana's Break", Vusal Nuru's "Horses Bathing in the Illusion", Azad Garadareli's "Morgue Quarantine", Vagif Alikhanli's "Crow Pier", Aykhan Ayvaz's "Windowless", Parviz Seyidli's "Behind the Letters", Amin's "Azel". ", Gani Jamalzade's "Stones Thrown at the Devil", Aflatun Amashov's "Kanık, Hasan, Bir De Karagöz" (with its magical elements) presented neat and orderly models of immersive narration. Yunis Orujov's historical novels "Nargin. Yellowed Sadness" and "Boraltan. The Trap of Freedom" and Yunis Oguz's "Trail" discussed the events that are important for the national and ideological position of today.

Last year, separate books (Ilham Aziz "After the lightning", Rasim Garajan "Everything you touch", Samira Ashraf "A rose for me", Seymur Bayjan "Meaningless stories", Sevinj Elsevar "The creak of the bed", Mammad Oruj "From the garden house" writings", Bahaddin Hazi "Deadly truths", etc.), as well as newspapers such as "Azerbaijan", "Ulduz", "Yazi", "Khazan", "Ustad", "Literary newspaper", "525-ci newspaper" a large number of stories were published in organs, websites, and literature-related portals. 2022 was noted for its focus on story as a genre. In particular, there were texts that stood out in the story discussions of the site. What should the story be in these discussions? asking the question in indirect ways and trying to find answers from different directions stimulated the creation of different texts.

In short, we can say that there is such a division in the cognitive psychological interpretation of human memory, our episodic memory, where our experiences are stored (manifested by narratives that begin with "I remember"), and our semantic memory, where we preserve what we have learned throughout life (narratives that begin with "I know"). These two memories are closely related, our semantic memory is a tool for explaining what is in our episodic memory, we turn to semantic memory to express what we remember in the world of language. The ability to transform our episodic memory into an artistic text event requires semantic experience and aesthetic competence. Often, storytellers are content to tell what they remember and know. In such cases, the story ends, the reader "covers the window", questions arise. Will he remember what he saw from that window? Will he want to remember? What shelves of his memory did he place this experience? There are texts that remain outside the gates of literature in all cases. At this time, virtual reality does not have the immersive credibility, both the author and the reader are condemned to remain in life. True, there are some points that make both sides survive. For example, most of the works written in the post-war period and dealing with the war are content to stay in the real world, at which time artistry is more important than artistry, and pathos is more important than emotionality. The memoir-memoir style gives a picture and image to the text, while the prosaic narrative remains trapped in the language of everyday communication. R. Beylerli "For the Motherland", E. Elatli "Alternative operation" (military theme mixed with detective), Atilla Seymur "My war path", G. Mammadova's "Stolen Zangezur", "Victory of the Conquerors: Special Forces (historical documentary novel), Alisafa Azayev's "General Determination", Ch. Gurbanov's "Counter-attack Sugovushan", Gulnar Ahmed's "Turkey Speaks Baku", V. Mammadova's "POW Camp: Stories Stinging Like Bullets in Memories", S. Adalatgizi's "From Bloody January to Glorious Victory", etc. . is the content expressed by the name of the very last work that unites his works in one paradigm (didactic-artistic). Civic sensitivity, national pride and joy put artistry in the background in these texts. "Our 30-year Karabakh pain was ended by the brave, brave, patriotic sons of our people in 44 days." (Abdullah Safi. "Memories from a Bullet") expresses the post-war narratives in a concise form. In general, the flexible but descriptive response to the 44-day war precedes the psychological transfer of mixed feelings typical of post-war poetry. The sense of obligation to the martyrs, empathy for the veterans is narrativized at the public level. It seems that this state of affect will affect the content of the prose for a long time. It is clear that the psychological "contusion" of the war penetrates the human will, thinking remains in the background, the weak and powerless sides of the human character are suddenly revealed, mass psychosis begins. Keeping the heroes alive becomes the only solace in this violent psychosis.

Much can be said about the prose of 2022. (There are dozens of works that we cannot name, which will be reflected in the main text of the report). It is possible to exchange a lot of ideas about psychological, narratological, sociological, aesthetic, semantic, cognitive aspects and shortcomings.

As we know, contemporary works of art are usually based on one of four epistemes (tradition, modernism, postmodernism, metamodernism). Each episteme is a set of qualities or signs that fulfill a human or ontological purpose, each with its own limitations that, when exposed, lay the groundwork for the next episteme. arises. Tradition goes back to the depths of the origins of humanity, where the irreplaceable wisdom of the past is dictated, the dominance of tradition keeps individuality under constant pressure, and literature is governed by canons. Modern espstema, on the other hand, is based on discovery, seeking to escape the limitations of tradition by elevating individual intent and analyzing existing values. Modern epistemes can also be limited, sometimes insisting on not recognizing the interrelationships, context, and external perspectives between separate elements of the cultural sphere. Postmodern irony draws attention to subcultures outside the dominant, re-elevating traditional patterns rejected by modernism, etc. through which the modernist tries to regulate arrogance. The main limitation of postmodernism is related to its indifference to the affective dimension and internal subjectivity. Metamodernism, on the other hand, reacts to different aspects of all three epistemes and strives to encompass them together. After the modern man, who built hard walls between mass and elite literature, and then the postmodern man, who dismantled the walls and rebuilt them for his own benefit, the metamodern man stands on the demolished wall stones in the world, postmodern irony with modern enthusiasm, sadness with hope, knowledge with naivety, empathy and indifference, single and many, general and special. , swings between the definite and the indeterminate.

The prose facts of 2022 show that tradition continues to be the main resource for us. Sometimes this goes to extremes, and speech becomes too much of a hindrance to Voice Writing. I realized this again recently when one of my linguist colleagues asked me whether there are neologisms in our most modern prose, and I had a hard time finding a suitable work.

In general, the elitism of prose is determined by the position it occupies within the borders of Word and Writing. Texts that imprison the voice of dark chaos into aesthetics (Writing!) become unique heroes of written literature. Sound is natural, writing is artificial (an artifact!), sound is more related to the subconscious, and writing is a technological invention of consciousness. If we believe K.G. Jung, we see that "artists who think they are swimming are actually being dragged in an invisible stream." This invisible flow often does not allow authors to enter the world of writing, to make literature their own, to personalize it.