2019, Volume 16, Issue 4

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Anatoly A. Fomin
Ural Federal University
Ekaterinburg, Russia

The Mysterious Arventur: Poetonym as a Key Word of a Literary Work

Voprosy onomastiki, 2019, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp. 180–201 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2019.16.4.052

Received 19 October 2019

Abstract: The paper examines the occasional proper name Arventur from the same-name work by Alexander Grin. The literary text has a number of markers indicating to the name’s importance in the story: the title position of the name; its high frequency (which is clearly visible given the small size of the text); the even distribution of the name forms in the text; the link between the pragmatics of the name and its aesthetic functions. The poetonym’s specificity is already evident at the stage of its introduction. The onomastic reference is primary and singular to the named object whereas other appellative units typically co-occurring within the text are absent. Consequently, the name Arventur lacks a valid referent, leaving the reader unaware of the class and properties of the named object. This lack of semantic ties leads to the overall opacity of the name. Analyzing the spatio-temporal aspects of the work, the author concludes that the poetonym is associated with one of the chronotopic “zones,” of which it becomes a symbol. Due to this peculiarity, the name Arventur acquires completely different functions: essential linguistic qualities of the name as a proprial unit are reduced and the aesthetic functions linked to the onym’s perception as part of a literary work come to the fore. Among them, the symbolic and axiological functions are of primary importance. Due to the semantic intransparency of the name, the main source of its aesthetic significance is the exponent, i.e. the name’s sound form conveying a “phonetic meaning”. In this regard, the article considers, firstly, the phonosemantic qualities of the exponent and, secondly, the elements of its associative field. The author considers the implications of onym’s phonetic form, which could affect its perception. Possible metaphorical references include some geographical names of South-Western Europe resembling the original Aventur poetonym in their exponential characteristics. The conclusion suggests that the described factors are key to determining the axiology of the image behind the poetonym.

Keywords: literary onomastics, poetical onomastics, literary onym, poetonym, proper name in a literary text, Russian literature, Alexander Grin, Arventur, phonosemantics, associative background of a name.


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