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׳הטיפוס העממי׳ (Volkstyp) כדובר במונולוגים הדראמאטיים וב׳שירי העם' של ביאליק

עודכן: 28 באפר׳ 2023

פורסם: תעודה ה'-מחקרים בספרות עברית, אוניב. ת"א תשמ"ז (1987)

...חלק מן הגורמים, שהביאו להטמעת יסודות עממיים בספרות העברית הקאנונית באותן השנים, נעוצים בוודאי בהשפעות מבחוץ; במיוחד בהשפעת הספרות הרומאנטית - הגרמנית והרוסית - שהעלתה על נס את ׳האדם הפשוט׳ והירבתה לשלב יסודות מן הפולקלור בתוך היצירה הלירית התיקנית. היינה, למשל, ששירתו היתה מודל חיקוי מובהק למשוררים עבריים רבים מכל מרכזי ההשכלה, הגדיל לעשות בתחומים אלה. כניסתם של יסודות עממיים לספרות הקאנונית נעוצה אף בוודאי בהתעוררות הלאומית, שסחפה את יהדות מזרח־אירופה בעשורים האחרונים של המאה התשע-עשרה, התעוררות זו הולידה את הצורך...


(English abstract)

The “ Volkstyp” as Speaker in Bialik’s Dramatic Monologues and “ Folksongs”

by Ziva Shamir

Towards the turn of the century, right after a collection of Yiddish folksongs was published,1 Chaim Nachman Bialik became increasingly interested in folklore, and even made some preliminary attempts at imitating the tone and atmosphere of authentic folksongs.

One of the cardinal differences between “naive” folksongs and their “sentimental” imitation is in the character of the speaker. Whereas the speaker in the “naive'' folksong is commonly identified with the anonymous author. In the cases of a speaker who is a literary persona, the speaker in the literary imitation does not represent the moral code, the values and standards of the author. Therefore, the speaker in the literary imitation is very often an Eiron or an alazon who reveals naivete or arrogance, and is by no means to be mistaken for the author and his personal set of values.

During the first decade of his literary career Bialik wrote a large number of dramatic monologues, and in some of them he characterized a speaker who is a “Volkstyp” (= Folkstype): a tailor, a poor country teacher, a milkman, etc. Some of these monologues include motifs from authentic folksongs, and dramatic irony plays an extremely important role in them, since their simple-minded heroes tend to engage in optimistic dreams which prove illusionary. The common milkman from the unpublished monologue “Advise Within Prayers,” for instance, is sure of his talent and ability to be the poet laureate of his generation. However, when he criticizes in detail the flaws of contemporary poets, it is evident that his poetic lines too are afflicted with the very same flaws that he finds in those of other poets. Since the simple milkman is also a pretentious poet, his monologue sounds as though it is permeated with a great deal of self irony. The versifier in this poem is not merely an alazon, boasting about his qualifications, but also an eiron whose words sound stupid and are, in fact, unwittingly wise. This multifaceted characterization of course adds to the intricate nature of the poem.

In the first version of To a Bird, Bialik also characterized a simple-minded Volkstyp, similar in his style to the provincial speaker of “Advise Within Prayer” , who owns a cow-shed. When this poem was later revised and rewritten in the form of a sentimental address by a devout Zionist, the original characteristics of this speaker were justifiably obliterated.

The sophisticated characterization of the speaker is one of the main devices in Bialik’s “Folksongs” written during the first decade of the twentieth century as a playful attempt to create folklore in an unspoken language. The single girl in “Betwixt Tigris and the Euphrates” is urging the bird to fetch the bridegroom, but her personal tragedy is viewed with irony by a sober author who is an outsider in this drama, a spectator with his tongue in his cheek. Multifaceted irony is also achieved in the “folksong” “Someone Is in Possession of...”, where the speaker is an arrogant alazon who advises his fellow men to follow him in his “nightly” experiences, in order to rid himself from their suspicions. By characterizing simple minded, provincial persona, Bialik succeeded in creating rich connotative irony and in transplanting the achievements of Mendele Moicher Sforim and Scholem Aleichem into the poetic field.

1. Ginzburg and Marek, (1901). Yiddish Folksongs, St. Petersburg.


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