Studia Litterarum

Studia Litterarum

Basic info

  • Publisher: A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences
  • Country of publisher: russian federation
  • Date added to EuroPub: 2018/May/06

Subject and more

  • LCC Subject Category: Languages and Literature, Literature
  • Publisher's keywords: History of Philology, Comparative Studies, Folklore Studies, Literary History and Theory, Historical and Theoretical Poetics
  • Language of fulltext: russian, French, english
  • Full-text formats available: PDF

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  • Article Processing Charges (APCs): No
  • Submission charges: No
  • Waiver policy for charges? No

Editorial information

Open access & licensing

  • Type of License: CC BY
  • License terms
  • Open Access Statement: Yes
  • Year open access content began: 2016
  • Does the author retain unrestricted copyright? False
  • Does the author retain publishing rights? False

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  • Permanent article identifier: DOI
  • Content digitally archived in: , Other
  • Deposit policy registered in: None

This journal has '164' articles

Philology vs Philosophy? In Search of the Exit from the Interpretative Dead Еnd

Philology vs Philosophy? In Search of the Exit from the Interpretative Dead Еnd

Authors: Vadim V. Polonsky
( 4 downloads)
Abstract

The author claims that interpretation has become a key element among epistemological tools of the 20th Century humanities as the result of conflicting interference of philological and philosophical methods. Since the 1960s, there have been attempts in literary studies to resist the expansion of interpretative models that often bear on subjective and ideological speculations and borrow from the methodology of other disciplines. The essay gives a generalized historical insight into the dynamics of interrelation between philology and philosophy in the light of the interpretation problem, highlighting kin hostility and tense interdependence of these two disciplines deriving from Platonism. It demonstrates the swing of the pendulum between “philologization of philosophy” and “philosophication of philology” from Wolf, Friedrich Schlegel, and Schleiermacher to Nietzshe and Heidegger. Describing the current crisis in the theories of interpretation, the author argues that academic literary studies may overcome this crisis by following the principle of practical conservatism and methodological reduction. Working in fundamental philological genres (literary history, textology, preparing edited academic collections of classical works, biographical studies, the study of textual poetics, etc.), scholars would beneft from abandoning further search for new interpretative strategies and adhering to those methods that were already developed within the tenets of the classic 19th Century philology. This way, it would be possible to overcome the current overlapping between philology and philosophy that, in its turn, more and more conspicuously reorients itself from interpretation as a form of actual statement towards a genre of commentary on the heritage of the past.

Keywords: interpretation, philology and philosophy, hermeneutics, commentary
LITERARY TRENDS: FOR THE PROJECT DICTIONARY OF LITERARY TRENDS IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY EUROPE AND AMERICA

LITERARY TRENDS: FOR THE PROJECT DICTIONARY OF LITERARY TRENDS IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY EUROPE AND AMERICA

Authors: Andrey F. Kofman
( 3 downloads)
Abstract

The article is the outcome of the theoretical research prepared for the encyclopedia in progress entitled Dictionary of Literary Trends in the Twentieth Century Europe and America. This is the frst such encyclopedia known to exist, with no predecessors in Russia or abroad. The encyclopedia material is organized around the term “literary trend” that defnes its specifcity. The author examines the history of this concept in Russian and Soviet literary criticism introducing a number of contraversial interpretations. A different situation is observed in Western European and American literary studies where this theoretical problem does not seem to exist and such terms as “trend,” “movement,” and the like are seen as contingent on specifc contexts of their applicability. This pragmatic approach shall be used in the Dictionary as well. The author introduces the term “artistic community” that goes beyond the scope of individual poetics and should be used as a selective criterion for the encyclopedia material. As the work with the glossary has shown, this criterion is a verbal designation of a certain artistic community that is either coined by artists themselves or by critics. However, this criterion is not as primitive as it may seem. It implies — already in the given name or in the self-name — a number of critical operations: statement or declaration of aesthetic similarities and common aesthetic principles shared by a number of authors; their union on these grounds; a brief description of these aesthetic similarities coined in the name of the trend that is intended not only to identify a certain artistic community but also to differentiate it from others. In the case of self-naming, the recognition of the phenomenon’s value is added. However differently the names of communities are verbarly articulated, each name is informative, semantically rich, and reflects different types of artistic communities discussed in the article.

Keywords: literary criticism, dictionary, literary trend, literary movement, artistic community, name
THE CATEGORY OF THE INTER-LITERARY AND THE PROBLEM OF THE AUTHOR’S NATIONAL IDENTITY: On the Example of Switzerland and its Literary Ties with the Same-language Countries

THE CATEGORY OF THE INTER-LITERARY AND THE PROBLEM OF THE AUTHOR’S NATIONAL IDENTITY: On the Example of Switzerland and its Literary Ties with the Same-language Countries

Authors: Vladimir D. Sedelnik
( 3 downloads)
Abstract

The problem of the author’s national identity manifested itself as part of the nation-making process and aggravated at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, with the spread of theories about the superiority of nations. This especially concerned those states that became independent of their mother countries while sharing with them the same language, such as Switzerland, Austria, and Canada; it became difcult to determine the national identity of such major authors as Keller, Hesse, Rilke, and Ramuz. Also, there was tension between such terms as German and German-language, French and Francophone, English and Anglophone, etc. To solve this problem, a special classifcation different from the methods of traditional comparative studies was needed. Slovakian scholar D. Ďurišin suggested a classifcation based on the category of the inter-literary (inter-literary process, inter-literary historicism, and inter-literary community) that allows examine the specifcity of literary interaction both on the level of national and literary processes and in the global literary context. To fulfl this goal, he had to modernize the entire existing terminology of comparative studies. The author of the essay bears on this classifcation and applies it to the case of Swiss literature demonstrating how within the framework of “inter-literary communities” such as German-language Switzerland, Austria, and Germany we observe mutual enrichment based on cultural feedback. Inter-literary relations suggest not passive exchange of “influences” but competitiveness and struggle. Swiss authors writing in German, French, and Italian even when published in Germany, France, and Italy do not realize them selves as full participants of the literary processes in these countries; they are not altogether alien there but not native either being citizens of a different state. At the same time, they do not feel comfortable even within their own national community, they suffer from the “smallness” of their native land and long for the grandeur of the mother countries, for global historical events that feed the national literatures of the latter. This cluster of controversies is a consequence of the “double national identity” (Ďurišin). Double in this case may be also understood as “ambiguous,” characterized by inner fragmentation and conflict and sometimes, as this essay shows, by genuine dramatism.

Keywords: nation, national identity, double national identity, national consciousness, Ďurišin, inter-literary, inter-literary community, inter-literary process, inter-literary classifcation
THE PROBLEM OF MEMORY AND OBLIVION: BAKHTIN’S MECHANISMS OF SAVING / ERASING TRACES OF TRADITION IN CULTURAL HISTORY

THE PROBLEM OF MEMORY AND OBLIVION: BAKHTIN’S MECHANISMS OF SAVING / ERASING TRACES OF TRADITION IN CULTURAL HISTORY

Authors: Irina L. Popova
( 3 downloads)
Abstract

The question of genre traditionally occupies a central position in Russian literary theory. This article focuses on the problem of memory and oblivion, their role in the development of literary genres, construction of images, and preservation and transmission of tradition. The concepts of great memory and deliberate oblivion in the cultural history were advanced by Mikhail Bakhtin in the materials he prepared for the revision of his book on François Rabelais in the early 1940’s. The overarching context for its study was informed by the theory of menippea. Menippea retrospectively established as a genre in the late 17th–18th centuries by critics who defned its generic characteristics and (re)invented its history from antiquity to the seventeenth century, gave a new impetus to Bakhtin’s genre theory, provided him with a perspective on the problem of generic identity and on the ways genres were constructed. Within the framework of menippea, he developed the following theories and concepts: the theory of “memory of the genre,” the theory of the “immanent memory” of literature as independent from the author’s individual memory, the concept of contactless transmission of tradition, and the concept of “great objective human memory” transcending linguistic, national, and cultural boundaries.

Keywords: memory, oblivion, menippea, poetics, genre theory, great objective human memory, Mikhail Bakhtin
“THE LIFE OF MUḤAMMAD” BY IBN ISḤĀQ — IBN HISHĀM: BETWEEN HISTORIOGRAPHY AND LITERATURE

“THE LIFE OF MUḤAMMAD” BY IBN ISḤĀQ — IBN HISHĀM: BETWEEN HISTORIOGRAPHY AND LITERATURE

Authors: Alexander B. Kudelin
( 3 downloads)
Abstract

The article examines correlations of historiographical and literary aspects within the seminal text of Arabic classics “The Life of the Prophet” (Al-sīra al-Nabawiyya ) by Ibn Isḥāq – Ibn Hishām. We build our analysis around Al-sīra by placing it against two essential elements of pre-Islamic and early Islamic lore of the Arabs; namely, the accounts of tribal battle clashes knows as ayyām al-ʻarab (the days of the Arabs) and khabars (i.e. “tidings,” “news,” “reports”), which contain information of historical, biographical, or amusing nature. Our analysis shows that the content and some operative specifcs of the ayyām al-ʻarab and khabars were brought to bear upon the narrative of Al-sīra and helped to establish its intermediate position between a work of literature and a historiography. Thus, “The Life of the Prophet” employs different modes of viewing reality — from historiographical methods of chronicling events (which look back to khabars) to literary techniques of coloring these events and putting them into a coherent narrative form (which are genetically similar to ayyām al-ʻarab). By retrospectively observing the Ibn Isḥāq – Ibn Hishām writing against the ayyām al-ʻarab and khabars in the light of the achievements of modern historiography, we may venture certain conclusions. The work of Ibn Isḥāq — Ibn Hishām, as well as the works of Arabic historians written over a century later, extensively drew upon the days of the Arabs and khabars. It is to these mainstays of pre-Islamic and early Islamic Arabic lore that “The Life of the Prophet” is indebted in manner and form: it looms large between historiography and literature; it brings together two different tendencies — a search after documentary precision and after artistic and coherent depiction of the narrated events.

Keywords: Arabic studies, pre-Islamic and early Islamic narratives, Ibn Isḥāq, Ibn Hishām, Al-sīra al-Nabawiyya, ayyām al-ʻarab (the days of the Arabs), khabars (akhbār), Medieval studies
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH’S PASSIONS: BETWEEN DRAMA AND LYRICS

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH’S PASSIONS: BETWEEN DRAMA AND LYRICS

Authors: Alexander E. Makhov
( 3 downloads)
Abstract

Johann Sebastian Bach’s Passions are considered to be a synthesis of dramatic and lyric principles. Traditional comparison of Passions with musical drama or ancient tragedy does not exhaustively express the nature of the genre because in the Passions, dramatic action coexists with a lyrical dimension where the action is not shown or narrated but turns out to be the trigger for compassion. Voices expressing compassion are designated by Bach in vague terms, as a certain “I” or “We” unidentifable with any particular person. In the lyrical episodes of Bach’s Passions, a singing voice does not allow any identifcation in the terms of personality, in the same way as the speaker’s voice remains unidentifable in the lyric poem. The “I” singing arias in Passions is the “lyrical I” (Margarete Susman) in the strict sense of the term. The principle of non-identity of the voice with a person is deeply rooted in the history of liturgical Passions. In the medieval Passion, a single voice (a defnite intonation, or a manner of singing) could be associated with a group of characters (apostles, Jews etc.), or on the contrary, a single character could be endowed with different voices. Dramatic and lyrical dimensions of Passions form a unity which is supported by certain rhetorical devices. Antanaclasis (repetition of a word but each time with a different meaning) establishes thematic connections between adjacent dramatic and lyrical statements; apostrophe (address to the absent or fctional audience) serves as a “shifter” that switches between the dramatic and lyrical dimensions. However, there is also an undeniable emotional tension between these two dimensions. Tragic effects of dramatic action are opposed to the lyric meditation which, paradoxically, fnds joy in Jesus’ sufferings. This is why in the music of Passions, serene, idyllic, and even dancelike images sometimes emerge amidst the most tragic moments of the action. Bach’s music expresses the idea of joy found in Jesus’ Passion — the same idea that Martin Luther had expressed in his “Sermon on the Meditation of Christ’s Holy Passion” (1519).

Keywords: Passions; voice and character; lyrics and drama; lyrical I; antanaclasis; apostrophe
FROM THE CULT OF THE “SELF” TO THE ANCESTOR CULT: TRILOGY THE CULT OF THE SELF BY MAURICE BARRÈS

FROM THE CULT OF THE “SELF” TO THE ANCESTOR CULT: TRILOGY THE CULT OF THE SELF BY MAURICE BARRÈS

Authors: Vera V. Shervashidze
( 3 downloads)
Abstract

The debut of Maurice Barrès, his trilogy The Cult of the Self immediately won the reader’s attention. In the 1890s, his works evoked increasing interest. His contemporaries read them as a fascinating narrative about the drama of European consciousness and the attempts to overcome this drama. However, after the author’s death, the interest of readers and researchers to his works decreased that may be explained by his fascination with ideas of nationalism, or boulangisme, especially during the war. The writer was accused of nationalism, however his nationalism was but a “replica” of his early ideas about the “culture” of “the self.” According to Barrès, all major themes of his work were reflected in the frst trilogy of The Cult of the Self. Later in his career, revealing the typological similarity of the processes taking place in the inner “self” and within the nation, he wrote about degradation of the “self” and degradation of the nation in parallel. Portraying “the disease of the century” and seeking its recovery, Barrès introduced the theme of the ancestor cult as a means of moral redemption in his late work. The present study of linguistic, cultural, and historical properties of Barrès’s work intends to introduce one of the greatest turn-of-the-century writers into the Russian academic context.

Keywords: the cult of “self,” the drama of European consciousness, nationalism, boulangism, nation, the “disease of the age”
DIALOGUE AND DIALOGISM IN THE NOVELS OF CRÉBILLON-FILS

DIALOGUE AND DIALOGISM IN THE NOVELS OF CRÉBILLON-FILS

Authors: Veronika D. Altashina
( 3 downloads)
Abstract

Conversation was highly relevant for the 17th and 18th century French aristocratic culture; a simple talk quickly grew into a “real” social ritual with its inner structure and “poetics.” Likewise, it influenced French literature that used a dialogue as a mode of narration, a way of expressing historical and philosophical ideas. Under the influence of the parlor culture, there developed a widespread genre of a novel-dialogue which origin may be traced back to the ancient tradition including the works of Plato who maintained ontological priority of the dialogue; in the dialogue, many philosophers have seen conditions necessary for the appearance of the individual and subjective conceptualization (“I” needs “You” for the sense of self). Dialogue is the form of narration in the novels by Crébillon-fls (1707–1777) La Nuit et le moment ou les matines de Cythère: dialogue (1755) and Le Hasard du coin du feu. Dialogue moral (1763). Both novels represent high society and focus mainly on the life of “libertines” who practice the principles of freedom of body and spirit yet at the same time are constrained by dominant behavior rules including the rules of conversation. Crébillon is skillfully using a widespread conversational form for popularizing the ideas of sensualism and libertinage. Also, Crébillon is employing dialogue as a device to make his works diverse and psychologically deep (cf.: a dialogue of a character with himself as he hovers between opinions; ongoing dialogue of the author with the reader; dialogue with other authors by direct and hidden quotes from their work; references to the author’s own works).

Keywords: novel-dialogue, Crébillon-fls, dialogism, diegesis, libertinage, Enlightenment
THE IDEA OF MODERNITY IN ITALIAN LITERATURE AT THE TURN OF THE 19th AND 20th CENTURIES

THE IDEA OF MODERNITY IN ITALIAN LITERATURE AT THE TURN OF THE 19th AND 20th CENTURIES

Authors: Anastasia V. Golubtsova
( 3 downloads)
Abstract

The article analyzes various concepts of modernity in Italian literature at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Modernity is considered a key category of the literary process of the period: different views of modernity reveal philosophical, historical, and aesthetic ideas of the major authors and literary currents. The term modernity in its relation to Italy at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries may be understood in two different ways: as a specifc time period after the unifcation of Italy and as an aesthetic ideal, both reachable and unreachable. Modernity as a historical period is inseparable from the sense of disappointment and awareness of Italian backwardness and provincialism. The Scapigliati manifest their socio-critical position as a Romantic conflict between individual and society, Verism represents the same idea as a tragic clash of traditional peasant world and modernity that is destroying it. Luigi Pirandello belongs to the same socio-critical tradition. The sense of weariness and decadence is one of the aspects of modern worldview: Gabriele D’Annunzio expresses it in the form of decadent aestheticism; the Crepusculars reject modernity and replace it with the idea of everyday life; Luigi Pirandello puts a special emphasis on the state of perplexity and confusion experienced by a modern man. From the aesthetic point of view, modernity in Italy begins as a struggle against Romanticism; however, here we encounter the controversial nature of the concept again. Giosue Carducci and the Scapigliati reject Italian Romanticism but turn to European Romanticism trying to overcome Italian cultural backwardness. A Verist writer Luigi Capuana elaborates a positivist ideal of modern literature and yet abandons it later. D’Annunzio sees the ideal of modern art in restoring cultural continuity. Futurists, on the contrary, understand modernity as breaking with tradition. Thus, all aesthetic interpretations of modernity in Italy focus on one intention — to overcome Italian backwardness and isolation and make Italy part of European culture again.

Keywords: modernity, progress, Romanticism, Giosue Carducci, Scapigliatura, Verism, Gabriele D’Annunzio, the Crepusculars, Luigi Pirandello, Futurism
THE DEVELOPMENT OF NATIONAL SELF-IDENTIFICATION IN SCANDINAVIAN CULTURE AND LITERATURE

THE DEVELOPMENT OF NATIONAL SELF-IDENTIFICATION IN SCANDINAVIAN CULTURE AND LITERATURE

Authors: Alfred A. Matsevitch
( 3 downloads)
Abstract

The article examines the development of national self-identification in the three main countries of the Scandinavian region — Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. All the three countries have been interconnected for centuries, at least since the first millennium due to their geographical proximity and linguistic affinities, and this fact fostered their parallel historical, political, and cultural development in spite of their differences, contradictions, and conflicts, including military conflicts and territorial claims (as for example, Denmark’s failed attempt to dominate the Baltic region and to found a united Scandinavian state under Danish supremacy). The problem of self-identification in Scandinavian countries strongly manifested itself at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries characterized by intensive industrial growth, urbanization, and the increase of cosmopolitan, global tendencies threatening to destroy cultural traditions and welfare of these countries. As a result, there sprang a tendency to preserve and resurrect historical, cultural, and literary monuments, to turn to national history and especially to peasant traditions, customs, and national folklore as opposed to new urban values.

Keywords: Scandinavia, national self-identifcation, cultural monuments, literary monuments, peasant traditions
ICELANDIC LITERATURE IN THE U.S.: ON THE NATIONAL BORDERS IN LITERATURE

ICELANDIC LITERATURE IN THE U.S.: ON THE NATIONAL BORDERS IN LITERATURE

Authors: Andrey V. Korovin
( 3 downloads)
Abstract

Literature has been central to Icelandic culture in the history of the nation. Icelandic immigrants in the U.S. created an original literature in their native tongue that, on the one hand, continued a rich Icelandic literary tradition going back to sagas and Edda texts, on the other hand, adopted New World themes and images and was influenced by literary forms inherent in American culture. American-Icelandic Literature exists as an independent cultural phenomenon and belongs to both cultures: American and Icelandic. Icelandic-American authors did not lose their national identity when writing in English as they preserved national narrative and poetic forms yet at the same time were part of American literature. National borders in the world literature are mainly defned by geographic and linguistic factors. The concept of national literature very often draws on the concept of national identity, literature being one of the most important components of cultural self-identifcation. Usually, immigrant literature intended for a specifc immigrant community, is interesting only to this community and is not seen as part of national culture in the home country. But in the case of Icelandic-American literature, it is possible to say that this literary tradition did not break its connections with Iceland, and regardless of the fact that Icelandic-American authors were writing in English, their works became part of Icelandic cultural heritage.

Keywords: literature, immigration, authors, Icelandic culture, USA, Canada, Icelandic language, English Language, national traditions
BRITISH TRAVELERS’ IMPRESSIONS OF THE RUSSIANS DURING THE REIGN OF ALEXANDER II

BRITISH TRAVELERS’ IMPRESSIONS OF THE RUSSIANS DURING THE REIGN OF ALEXANDER II

Authors: Sakowicz I
( 3 downloads)
Abstract

This article examines the image of Russia and its people in the travelogues of British travelers during the rule of Alexander II (1855–1881). In reality, hardly anybody from Britain visited the country of the tsars, and very few could speak its language. The upper classes, mostly nobility, surprised English visitors with their Western European looks, good manners, and elegance. However, generalizations about Russians as a nation were based on the observations of lower classes, mostly coachmen. Russians in the opinion of the travelers were faithless, servile, and lazy. Slavonic passivity made them perfectly ft for the absolutist rule. Russia was perceived as a semi-barbaric and despotic country. Over the period of 25 years, there were no substantial changes in the travelers’ descriptions of the country.

Keywords: Russia, travelers, travelogues, public opinion
ON THE FRONTIER OF REALITIES The Case of Yaroslav Melnik

ON THE FRONTIER OF REALITIES The Case of Yaroslav Melnik

Authors: Yuri Y. Barabash
( 3 downloads)
Abstract

The essay analyzes a specifc case of Ukrainian writer Yaroslav Melnik whose literary career is often related to the so called new literary immigration. Melnik has lived for the last twenty fve years outside of Ukraine, has published (and sometimes written) his books in different European languages and in different European countries and has yet preserved his mother tongue as the main language of his work. The essay discusses a novel, novellas, short stories, and parables written in Ukrainian with the help of which Melnik has reentered in Ukrainian literary space after a long lapse. These works characterized by existential problems, poetics of myth, parabola, and absurd, akin to European modernism (Kafka, Kamu, Hesse, and Shultz) and 20th Century Ukrainian literary modernism, determine a specifc place of the author in modern Ukrainian literature. The essay scrutinizes such seminal themes for Melnik as anti-totalitarian and anti-global thrust, alienated person dispersed in the “multitude” and blindly submissive to external power and such constant metaphorical images-concepts of his fction as “forest man,” “selfhood,” “other reality,” “close space — distant space.” Rejecting narrow interpretations of national tradition, Melnik insists, not without polemical bias, on the priority of universal human values. As the essay demonstrates, there is no contradiction between the national and the universal in Melnik’s work; instead, he seeks their synthesis. The organic inclusion of universal human values in the national literary element and vice versa the inclusion of national Ukrainian properties in the global, universal, all-human context, are seen as two sides of the same process.

Keywords: еmigration, Ukrainian language, identity, national, universal, polylog
INTERACTION OF VARIOUS GENERIC FORMS IN THE 12TH–17TH CENTURY TEXTS AND THE MINDSETS OF OLD RUSSIAN AUTHORS

INTERACTION OF VARIOUS GENERIC FORMS IN THE 12TH–17TH CENTURY TEXTS AND THE MINDSETS OF OLD RUSSIAN AUTHORS

Authors: Anatoly S. Demin
( 3 downloads)
Abstract

The essay focuses on the understudied question of the poetics of Old Russian literature: it is the frst study of the kind that analyzes semantic interaction of different generic forms in the works of the period. The essay is comprised of fve section each devoted to a specifc work. The frst section examines historical narrative in its relation to sermons, eulogies, and biblical excerpts in The Tale of Bygone Years (the beginning of the twelfth century) and comes to the conclusion that the chronicler was not content with the negligence of his listeners and readers. The second section examines the interrelation of factual material and sermon in Novgorodskaa First Chronicle (the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries) and reveals the chronicler’s severe attitude towards his contemporaries. The third section examines a series of two works by Moscow Dyak Rodion Kozhuh as part of Sofyskaya Second Chronicle and shows the author’s personal inclination to the expressiveness of style. The fourth section examines a combination of prosaic and rhymed fragments from the Saying of Avraamy Palitsyn written in the 1620s and comes to the conclusion that the author was inclined to philosophically reflect on the Time of Troubles. Finally, the ffth section examines a combination of the rhymed narrative with poetical sermons in The Story of Unfortunate Misfortune (1660s) and shows the author’s pessimistic mindset. The essay ends with a very tentative conclusion: the interaction of different generic forms of narration was typical for the whole оf Оld Russian literature. The variety of purposes and mindsets prompted authors to employ various generic types of narration.

Keywords: Оld Russian literature, poetics, generic types of narration, phraseology
“JOURNEYS OF THE MIND” IN THE RUSSIAN CULTURAL SOCIETY OF THE 1760-S. EDUCATIONAL AND PUBLISHING ACTIVITY OF KHERASKOV LITERARY CIRCLE

“JOURNEYS OF THE MIND” IN THE RUSSIAN CULTURAL SOCIETY OF THE 1760-S. EDUCATIONAL AND PUBLISHING ACTIVITY OF KHERASKOV LITERARY CIRCLE

Authors: Natalia D. Bludilina
( 3 downloads)
Abstract

This article examines one of the pages of the history of Russian Freemasonry as a philosophical and ideological trend within the circles of reflective minds of the Russian society and its influence on the literary process; in particular, it explores a connection of Freemasonry rationalist philosophy with the “journeys of the mind” in the works of M. M. Kheraskov and his Moscow literary circle (A. P. Sumarokov, A. A. Nartov, A. A. Rzhevsky, Alex and Simon Naryshkin, D. Anichkov, J. I. Bulgakov, V. I. Maikov, and I. F. Bogdanovich) that to a certain extent reflected complex processes of the development of spiritual culture in the eighteenth century Russia. For the members of Moscow literary circle, a journal was not only the most efcient way to establish and maintain contacts with the readers but also the means of enlightening contemporaries introducing them to literature. These literati, for the frst time in history, developed a group with its own philosophical, political, and literary position: they claimed that enlightened mind creates and perfects a soul that is open to kindness and love and that moral life is based on the awareness of the moral imperative. The essay analyzes didactic essays by the above mentioned authors and their translations (from Montaigne, Fontenelle, Voltaire, Dodsli, and Gellert — a circle of spiritual reading they promoted) in chronological order of their publication in the magazines issued in the 1760 ‘s: “Useful Jollifcation,” “Free Hours,” “Monthly Essays Serving to Instruct and Entertain,” “Idle Time,” and “Hardworking Bee.” As the analysis reveals, they understood enlightenment mainly as self-knowledge and self-improvement of a single individual; intellectual connection was reduced to the narrow circle of single-minded and educated persons. To understand the “laws of the mind” and to build a life of body and soul on their basis was the goal that Russian Freemason authors pursued as they attempted to develop and promote a new moral that would rely not on religious authority but on the supremacy of reason.

Keywords: Russian literature; The 18th century; M. M. Kheraskov; Freemasonry; rationalism; literary magazines; poetry; didactic essays

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