Hexametric Images in Literature (“Behind the Eyes” by Inga Bakhtadze)

Hexametric Images in Literature (“Behind the Eyes” by Inga Bakhtadze)


  • Guranda Gobiani Kutaisi University




ჰექსამეტრული ელემენტები, იმაგო, რიტმული პროზა, პოეტურ-მუსიკალური მედიტაციები, დინამიური ნარატივი, ანტითეზი და ოქსიმორონი


Spiritual aristocracy, excess of lyrical flow, musicality of narration, ‘fine’ writing, ultimately perfect harmony of form and idea – this is the creative world of Inga Bakhtadze, a writer and art critic of the European orientation, which the present study is a modest attempt to penetrate into. In her texts, especially in the essays and novels, words and music are harmoniously combined, intonation, rhythm, tempo, rhythm, dynamics, and pauses - make her profound narrative extremely polyphonic and melodious, in which the macro and micro world, the eternity and transience, the human and divine, the ego and alter ego are equally included, which have a profound effect on both the mind and the senses of the reader.  From the point of view of rhythmic prose, the essay “Behind the Eyes (Playing of Ego and Alter Ego)” particularly attracts our attention, which is included in the author's latest collection of novels and essays, “A Dark Shirt” (Tbilisi, 2023). It is a literary essay, etude, “visible philosophy passed into poetry “, which is built with a structure similar to hexameter verse. Georgian is a syllabic language, so the use of hexameter in the classical sense as a metrical and rhythmic form of verse is foreign to Georgian. In general, by its very nature, this poetic form is suitable for languages such as Latin and Ancient Greek, where vowel length has phonological significance. Indo-European languages are stress-timed languages, each alphabetic language is distinguished by a stress. In such languages, unstressed syllables are variable, which is not typical of Georgian, since Georgian verse is measured not by long and short stressed syllables, but by an equal number of syllables, which means that every sound in the language is fully pronounced, there are no transitions. The stress exists in the language, but it is not dynamic, but relatively weak, it is replaced by the accent, i.e. the tone of the voice (ascending, descending, melodic) is used to mark and outline something significant in terms of content and meaning.

Naturally, this measure in its classical form is not found in Bakhtadze's work, either. She has only taken elements of the Indo-European hexameter and combined them with the Georgian one, thus achieving a truly enviable effect, both in terms of form and content. The author uses a hexameter as a tool to create an image. The work is divided into fragments, scenes (there are three scenes in total) and ends with an epilogue-epitaph. The meaning, the content passes from one line to another, which is generally characteristic of hexameter verse and creates a kind of dynamic narrative:            

In I. Bakhtadze's essay outlined with a rhyming structure, certain tones, intonations are used instead of stress, which are close to the load of hexametric caesura in classical Indo-European languages, which implies a break between words. The writer uses verses with different syllables to convey the rhythm of the dactylic hexameter. The debate between the Ego and the Alter ego takes place with a “playing” of 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20-syllable lines, which makes the narrative impressive and dynamic.

In order to preserve the aristocratic style, in addition to the elements of dactylic hexameter, Inga Bakhtadze also uses such rhetorical techniques characteristic of classical Greek stylistics and literary figures as oxymoron and antithesis. The whole text is built on the principle of contradiction. The eternal confrontation between the ego and the alter ego, which exists “behind the eyes” of a person, as a thesis and an antithesis, creates a kind of synthesis, which expresses the author's philosophical belief about the existence of a transcendental world, where there is a constant struggle between the conscious and the unconscious, the ideal and the material, between love and hate, beauty and ugliness. It is the dynamics of this struggle and the search for the path of truth that is given in the artistic-philosophical essay– “Behind the Eyes (Playing of Ego and Alter Ego)” outlined with a rhyming system.

The hexametric verse meter is artificially created and imitated by the author and represents a kind of image, an imago, skilfully used by the writer to create artistic effect and expression. Inga Bakhtadze, as a writer and art critic of the European orientation, can perfectly adapt and combine the aesthetic principles and methods of the classical European literary school with the ancient vocabulary and linguistic structure of the Georgian language. That is why in her work one can vividly feel the individuality and uniqueness of the Georgian language, which will definitely determine the future role and place of Inga Bakhtadze in Georgian culture, art and literature, and not only here. We will be happy if we can make at least a small contribution to this great deed.


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How to Cite

Gobiani, G. (2023). Hexametric Images in Literature (“Behind the Eyes” by Inga Bakhtadze). Language and Culture, (30), 42–48. https://doi.org/10.52340/lac.2023.30.08