The article is dedicated to the folk elements in Jan Barshchevski's 'Shliakthsits Zavalnia aboi Belarus u fantastychnykh apaviadanniakh' (Nobleman Zavalnia or Belarus in fantastic tales). In the beginning of the 19th century, Belarussian literature was strongly influenced by the western literature. Polish romantic ideas penetrated the Belarussian territories, which expressed itself in viewing the motherland as sacred; fascination with the past, folklore, ethnography and customs; borrowing from the local legends as well as Slavic mythology. Folk creations proved to be an extremely rich repository of wisdom, in which the most universal truths about the human nature were preserved. The title character, Nobleman Zavalnia is fascinated with folklore; the narrators of the stories, stylised into oral, also come from the country folk. The folk system of values is based on what is inaccessible to the brain: intuition, hunches, as well as beliefs in witchcraft, magic, ghosts, and evil forces. Evil takes on various forms: it hides in animals, reptiles, spirits hostile to man, evil people, diseases. The Christian values are held especially dear against the hostility and unpredictability of the world. The cross, a roadside chapel, a church are all constant elements of the country landscape. The folk protagonist is typical, often possessing a single distinctive feature. He is doomed to fight not only demons but himself as well. His perplexity originates in the eternal conflict between good and evil, beauty and ugliness, purity and depravity. Metamorphosis is an important element in the romantic world of horror: supernatural creatures transmute into inanimate objects, human beings, animals, reptiles, and domestic birds. A man unified with supernatural forces is able to take on a form of a wolf, magpie or fish. In this work, time has two dimensions: realistic and supernatural. The existence of the supernatural time indicates that the world presented is governed by evil. The beginning of its activity is marked by the sunset: the end - by the sunrise. The location creates an atmosphere of mystery and fear. A dominating feature of the landscape described is the omnipresent nature: an entity which is imperishable, primeval, eternally alive, horrifying and never-ending. The syncretism in reality and fantasy is accompanied by a blend of motifs both Christian and pagan, tragic and pastoral, lyrical and epic.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.