The dynamics of the conceptual space of beauty in the works of Russian writers of the mid-19th century — early 21st century as a reflection of social and historical changes

Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates


2015, Vol. 1. №3(3)

The dynamics of the conceptual space of beauty in the works of Russian writers of the mid-19th century — early 21st century as a reflection of social and historical changes

About the author:

Irina E. Beliakova,
Cand. Philol. Sci., Associate Professor, Department of English Philology, Institute for Humanities, Tyumen State University


The article deals with the comparative analysis of the representation of the cognitive concept of beauty in literary works of classical and contemporary Russian writers dating back to the middle 19th — early 21st century. The material for the study included novels by I. S. Turgenev, A. I. Kuprin, V. V. Nabokov, M. M. Zoshchenko, L. S. Petrushevskaya, P. V. Sanaev, E. V. Grishkovets, and V. O. Pelevin. The novels were divided into two historical periods: middle 19th century – early 20th century and middle 20 th century — early 21 st century. The analysis of the lexical fi eld of beauty, which is involved in the verbalization of the concept in question in the studied literary works, lets conclude that within the abovementioned historical period the concept of beauty underwent signifi cant changes in its denotative, figurative and axiological components. At present we can observe a negative pragmatic shift in the perception of beautiful objects, at that, the nuclear lexemes are regularly used in an indirect meaning. Apart from the traditional metaphor, epithet and simile, the mechanisms of imagery creation also include oxymoron, antiphrasis, antithesis, and sarcasm. The value of sexual attractiveness for the persons of the opposite sex is foregrounded.


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