GUIDELINES FOR PROPER STUDY OF FOREIGN LITERATURE
BASHKIMI in Albanian
15 December 77 p 3
[Article by Nexhip Garni:
"Some Criteria of the Methodology of the Study of Foreign Literature"]
[Text] Literature with its special means reflects the economic and social background in which it is born and develops. This makes it one of the forms of human knowledge. Stating the essence of the Marxist theory of knowledge, Lenin wrote:
"...there are historically determined limits to approaching our knowledge through objective truth, but it is an unconditional fact that we do approach them. The contours of the picture are historically determined, but it is an unconditional fact that this picture reflects a model which exists objectively."
This thesis is equally important for studying literature and for literature itself. Marxist-Leninist esthetics finds in this special characteristic of literature one of its most important values. At the same time it serves us as a methodological criterion for the study of foreign literature and uncovering and pointing out its values.
However the thousands of years of world literature is not a single process.
The division of individual societies into antagonistic classes also led to the differentiation of their ideologies. In bourgeois societies this antagonism has pronounced characteristics. In one form or other, this class antagonism is expressed even in the development of literature through the centuries. From this we have a methodological criterion that has special political importance under the conditions of the bitter ideological struggle against remnants of the past and against the pressure of bourgeois-revisionist ideology. Comrade Enver stressed at the seventh party congress:
"We have our art, music, literature, traditions and culture, which we love and wish that others will also become acquainted with. But we also respect progressive world culture, and we take from it and disseminate in our country that which we need and which serves us."
Writers who express the aspirations of the oppressed classes and who are interested in eliminating oppression and exploitation try to present reality truthfully; they uncover the vices of contemporary society and express the protest of the working masses, although in the literature before socialist realism and in the creations of contemporary realist writers this protest is vague, faulty, or indirect. In any case, realistic writers, consciously or not, keep to this materialist principle of reflecting social life truthfully.
Literary spokesmen for the exploiting classes' interest, by trying to perpetuate the existing social relations or by considering them to be eternal (which ultimately leads to the same result) go against historic truth, distort reality, avoid reflecting the class contradictions or concentrate on social phenomena of secondary importance, and therefore they do not reflect basic reality.
Therefore the programs, texts, and instruction in the various kinds of schools mainly analyze the positive literary manifestations, while regressive trends are treated as a whole so that it is necessary to reflect the class struggle which has taken place through the centuries in all countries. It is necessary for these criteria to be always kept in mind by the authors of foreign literature programs and texts when they continuously process them.
The problems of foreign literature are also treated in some studies and articles in our literary press and in some scientific discussions and lectures held by chairs of literature in universities and elsewhere. These activities have made their own contribution in further expanding our studies in this field, by stressing the true values of progressive literature and by unmasking the reactionary essence of decadent bourgeois and revisionist literature.
In the future, without stopping the unmasking of reactionary literature and art, it is necessary to expand the work for an even deeper ideological and scientific study of progressive and revolutionary foreign literature.
However, the creations of progressive foreign authors must not be idealized, they must be handled in all their basic aspects, in all their contradictions.
Comrade Enver teaches us:
"...We should never forget that we will not find immediately what we are looking for and as we want it, because we will find intertwined in these revolutionary or progressive authors, if not completely then in one way or another, the reflection of the bourgeois ideas of life and of the dominant ideas of the age in which they lived."
By separating the various idealist, regressive overlayers from the healthy literary inheritance, the teacher and student will succeed in making a comprehensive scientific analysis of foreign literature and of the works of each author; the classics of Marxism-Leninism and the documents of our party give us perfect examples of this.
The combined forces of our pedagogues and teachers will advance our scientific opinion on foreign literature of the past or present by delving deeply into them, by relying on successes achieved so far, by reinforcing greatly our ideological-professional preparation, by rejecting any a priori, hesitant concept in connection with the possibility of expanding our studies in this field. These concepts are based on the categoric argument that the best known representatives of foreign literature have already been put in their
Therefore it is necessary for our well-known writers, students and literary critics to become more active in this area. Some of them have spoken out on authors or problems of foreign literature and this has been received with interest by the broad masses of the art-loving public. The study of foreign literature is a proper activity for study or criticism which has its role not only to deepen our literary-esthetic concepts but also to orient readers, pupils, students and young artists correctly. This is all the more true when one considers that the positive parts of foreign literature become the cultural-artistic ingredients and possessions of our people through translations, teaching in school, stagings, and so on.
By handling foreign literature in the light of Marxist-Leninist philosophy and the teachings of the party, we esteem those creations which enter into the great progressive cultural fund of humanity and we can easily understand the true essence of reactionary literature and we can shut out its negative influence on the masses of readers and on our literary-artistic creations.