Our Society 10 october — 14:34

'Big is seen at a distance...' (80th anniversary of Professor Aida Imanguliyeva)

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BY ACADEMICIAN ALEXANDER KUDELIN, SOVIET AND RUSSIAN ORIENTALIST

Celebrating the 80th anniversary of the birth of Aida Nasir gizi Imanguliyeva, one tries to grasp with one's mind's eye her eventful life path, her recognised achievements in the scientific field. An outstanding orientalist, doctor of philological sciences, professor, organiser of science, public figure, director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan, a thoughtful and strict mentor of young scientists - such is a far from complete list of important characteristics that come to mind these days when one recalls Aida Imangulyieva. The main pursuit of her life was the study of the literature of the East. The key problem in the scientific work of Aida Imanguliyeva, in which historical, and theoretical-literary approaches were closely intertwined, was the study of the relationship between the literature of the East and the West.

Over time, the significance of the decisions formulated by the scientist in her monographs 'Mikhail Naimy and the Association of the Pen', 'Gibran Khalil Gibran', 'Luminaries of the New Arabic Literature (On the Problem of the Interconnection of Literature in the East and the West of the Early Twentieth Century)' and numerous articles becomes more and more obvious. In modern conditions, the previously proposed solutions are often filled with new content, while the previously less noticeable, as if private, observations of an Azerbaijani researcher are of acute relevance and open up new promising areas of research. The important historical, theoretical and literary conclusions are deepened and become even more significant in the context of the historiosophical and cultural studies of Aida Imanguliyeva: '‹ ... › The basis of the historical movement of society is the improvement of the personality, which leads to an improvement in the morals of society itself and its management. First of all, the free development of an individual who is not oppressed by racial, national, or religious prejudices is necessary.'

The topic of literary relations between East and West is the core of the scientific research of Aida Imanguliyeva, in which she achieved the most significant results. Her approach to this topic was determined by the mainstream of world science, in the bosom of which the appearance of an Azerbaijani researcher was formed. In the theoretical constructions of Aida Imanguliyeva, a significant place was given to overcoming Eurocentrism, firmly rooted in European comparative literature (comparative studies) from its very inception. The concept of 'influence', impact' of one literature on another (as applied to the literary relations of the West and the East, this often meant the 'influence' of the more 'developed' European literature on the East) was replaced by the idea of 'interconnections', 'interaction' of literature from different regions. In this understanding of the interaction of East and West literature, Aida Imanguliyeva, in her own words, saw the main goal of her research: '...identifying and understanding the patterns that characterise the process of reception of experience of foreign literature by perceiving literature.'

The advanced theoretical constructs of world literary criticism were adopted during the formation of Aida Imanguliyeva as a scientist and then creatively translated and developed in her own works. By the very nature of the specific questions posed, the main attention in the works of A.N. Imanguliyeva was drawn to the relations of the East with the West, although the problems of possible studies in the opposite direction - from West to East - are also clearly defined in her work. Professor Aida Imanguliyeva is in solidarity with those scholars who are clearly aware that in East-West relations, only with equal and simultaneous attention to both members of this opposition, it is possible to get an adequate idea of the world literary process in a given era.

In her writings, the Azerbaijani scientist proceeds from the fact that the interaction of world literature has a long history and can be accomplished 'both within one region and between regions.' In this regard, Aida Imanguliyeva says, for example, that the literary relations of the Arab world with the West began in the Middle Ages. However, the East – West interaction in the 19th – early 20th centuries occupies the main place in her research. In Europe, 'oriental literary traditions played a role in the formation of a Western romantic worldview': 'The poets of the 'Lake School' were among the discoverers in English literature of the richest world of the eastern, in particular, Arab culture, in which they found a deep consonance with their aesthetic quests,' writes Aida Imanguliyeva. In the East, 'the cultural connection of the Arab countries, in particular Egypt, Syria and Lebanon with the West, has been particularly intensively developed since the beginning of the 20th century.' During this period, the important role belonged to such authors as Kahlil Gibran, Amir ar-Reyhani, and Mikhail Naimy, who 'in their multifaceted artistic creation perceived and transformed the achievements of European and American literature, organically synthesised their values with the best national artistic traditions.'

Tracing the career of prominent representatives of Arabic literature of the early twentieth century, Aida Imanguliyeva in her works pays great attention to the reception in their work of the experience of English and American romantics, Russian realist writers. The researcher accompanies her observations with the following important remark: 'The Syro-American school' - 'an example of an extraordinary situation - in its contact zone were three different traditions at the same time: the 'Lake School,' American transcendentalism and the critical realism of Russian literature.' And further, Aida Imanguliyeva clarifies the signs of 'eccentricity,' perhaps the most important of which is the 'nonsynchronism of the three signified phenomena,' in other words, their belonging to different stage-typological sections in the history of world literature. In this regard, Aida Imanguliyeva makes important remarks in her monograph on the interaction of Arabic and Western literature over a long time. One of the main conclusions of the researcher is based on the same foundation. Thanks to the activities of its distinguished representatives, 'Arabic literature in the early twentieth century was able to overcome the former isolation within the framework of a regional community and actively participate in the global literary process,' become an integral part of the global literary process, while moving 'to another, more stage-by-stage advanced level of development.'

Such a formulation of the question leads the researcher to a frontal analysis of such important and scientifically promising theoretical problems as the uneven literary development in different regions of the world in different historical epochs, the accelerated development of literature in a number of Oriental countries in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the synchronisation of the world literary process in the 20th century, etc. It remains only to make assumptions about how much more Professor Aida Imanguliyeva could have done in this promising area of literary studies... But what was done by the researcher, of course, is quite enough for the scientific community to gratefully note her invaluable contribution to the study of Oriental literature.

'Big is seen at a distance...' These words by Sergey Yesenin are recalled on these anniversary days.

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