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New Materials on the Early Period of Reception of Schiller in Russian Literature

Yuri Lotman

The translation of this article by Y. M. Lotman (“Neue Materialien uber die Anfänge der Beschäftigung mit Schiller in der russischen Literatur") has already been published. Now, M. Y. Lotman submitted the original of the article to the editorial board of this collection. The main point of the paper is to show the importance of Schiller’s works for Russian literature and culture of the late 1790s and the early 1800s. Such different figures as Sandunov, Gnedich, Vostokov, Merzlyakov, Narezhny, on the one hand, and Andrei Turgenev, Andrei Kaisarov, Galinkovsky, Benitsky, on the other hand, shared the interest in Schiller. According to Y. Lotman, the late 1790s and the early 1800s were the years of balance between these two different trends in Russian culture.

In the World of Grotesque and Philosophy

Yuri Lotman

“Eesti Raamat" publishers ordered this article, written by Y. M. Lotman in the summer of 1978, as a foreword to the collection of short novels by Voltaire, translated into Estonian. The article was also published in Estonian. Now it is published in Russian for the first time. The main idea of the article is that the philosophy of Voltaire’s novels is not “given" in the text. According to Y. Lotman, Voltaire uses the paradoxes and grotesque in order to involve the reader into the process of thinking, and that is why Voltaire’s stories are called “philosophical".

“And Impossible Becomes Possible": the Jesters’ Wedding
in the Ice Palace as a Fact of Russian Official Culture

Jelena Pogosjan

The court jesters’ wedding in the Ice Palace took place in St. — Petersburg on the 6th of February 1740. This wedding was accompanied by the unique ethnographical parade of exotic people brought from Siberia. Both the wedding and the parade were prepared and hold according to direct orders of Anna Ioannovna. Some eyewitnesses described this wedding as a rude and tasteless joke of the Empress.

The jesters’ wedding was a part of the official celebrations devoted to the Peace Treaty between Russians and Turks. Petrine victory feast served as a model for this celebration.

The Poltava triumph, which included the parade of the Samoyeds’ (Samoas’) King, was an important pattern for Anna. This jester—King satirically represented Charles XII in the Poltava triumph. The jester—groom in Anna’s wedding was presented as a “khan": this joke was aimed at the Khan of Crimea.

The celebration the Nishtadt Peace Treaty in 1721 was an important source as well. This celebration included the jester wedding of “Knyaz-Papa". Peter I characterized Russia’s victory in the Northern War as impossible, which miraculously became possible. The same idea was presented in the “Knyaz-Papa’s" wedding but as a joke: “Pope" married an old and ugly widow. Anna used the same idea of impossible victory and the same form of jester wedding in her celebration.

Pushkin and European Mentality
(Charles Alekxis de Tocqueville “De la Démocratie en Amérique")

Larisa Volpert

The complexity of Pushkin’s attitude to the book is defined by disintegrated Tocqueville’s position, including both admiration and criticism of American democracy. Pushkin in his essay “John Terner" stresses the second aspect. Striving for objectivism, adopting Tocqueville’s book as a whole, Pushkin, however, focuses on the negative sides of American democracy. The ideas of Tocqueville’s book seem to effect the poem “Iz Pindemonti" in an ambiguous way: Pushkin echoes Tocqueville’s understanding of real (“inner") freedom, but refuses to recognize numerous democratic values that Tocqueville respects.

Who Is Melmoth?

Pavel Reyfman

The main idea of the article is to demonstrate that the echo of “Melmoth the Wanderer" by Ch. R. Maturin becomes an entire subject in “Eugeni Onegin". This subject goes through the novel from the beginning to the end, except the fourth chapter. Melmoth and Emmaly, the characters of Meturin’s novel, are present as models not only in the mind of Pushkin, but also in the “minds" of his characters, Tatiana and Onegin. This helps Tatiana and Onegin step by step to give up romantic illusions and achieve a more realistic, but gloomy view of life.

V. Zhukovsky’s “Sketches on Sweden"
and the Karamzin’s Tradition

Lyubov Kiseleva

The article is based on the comparison of two descriptions of Sweden in writen in 1838 — “Sketches on Sweden" by Zhukovsky and “Summer trip in Finland and Sweden in 1838" by Faddei Bulgarin. The texts are analyzed in their relation with the Karamzin’s tradition. The author concludes that Bulgarin — an antagonist in the Karamzin literary camp — tries to make use of its traditions. As a talented journalist, he tells a story which is not without an interesting plot and ideas. But the tradition is necessary for him as an authoritative niche and he writes his “Summer trip" exploiting the canon of “The Letters of a Russian Traveler" almost mechanically. Because of that Bulgarin is unable to conceal his genuine pragmatic character of his text.

On the contrary, the follower of Karamzin, Zhukovsky plays with Karamzin’s traditions and acts in the spirit of it. He gives clear references to the “Island of Bornholm" thus following a road from “gothic" short stories to the romantic stories of the 1830s. Zhukovsky creates a wonderful trifle (‘bezdelka’, in Karamzin’s terms) concealing the inner ideas of his story telling in the subtext and demanding creative tension and orientation in the literary and political context from his readers.

On Some Creative Patterns in the Poetry by Zhukovsky

Tatyana Fraiman

In the article the author considers comic and parody poems by Zhukovsky, analyses the part of these texts in the so-called “home poetry" in the creative and personal biography of the poet.

Zhukovsky writes comic poems for “the nearest circle", i. e. for his relatives and friends. Especially “Pavlovskie poslania" (1818–1820), comic poems by Zhukovsky, written for the ladies of the court are famous. They were written in order to preserve common recollections. They are filled with domestic details and hints. But the complexity of understanding these comic poems is connected with their contradicting nature. Zhukovsky expresses in them the so called “idyllic utopia" and at the same time the ideas of friendship, virtuous life and of the emotional intimacy become the object of parody.

The Function of Bulgarin’s Subtext in Gogol’s Works in 1842

Tatyana Kuzovkina

The Bulgarin’s subtext in Gogol’s works in 1842 became much more significant than earlier. Bulgarin was the leading critic of Gogol’s “cynicism" in the language usage for years. In “Mertvye dushi" and “Teatral’nyj raz’ezd" Gogol decided to confront this criticism including the parody on Bulgarin’s style in the monologues of some characters (Manilov’s, Chichikov’s and “provincial town’s ladies’"). From the Gogol’s point of view, Bulgarin was a representative of the “old" Karamzin’s school in his language preferences. “Vstrecha s Karamzinym" by Bulgarin became a target for Gogol’s parody.

On the Anti-Historicism of Lermontov

Andrei Nemzer

The late works by Lermontov (1836–1841) constitute the main object of analysis in the article. The central idea is that in Lermotov’s concept, the present and the past are in the state of outrageous contradiction. The past is often idealized by poetic imagination. At last this idealized past also becomes the aim of the author’s irony. That leads Lermontov to the idea of the evilness of the poetry and of the necessity to stop writing.

Pushkin’s Jubilee of 1899 in the Estonian Press

Lea Pild

The cultural life in the Baltic provinces of the Russian Empire in the 1890s was under the severe pressure of the rusification. Naturally, historians regarded some materials dedicated to Pushkin in the Estonian press as a product of this pressure. However, Pushkin’s biographies published in Estonia were aimed at identifying the position of Estonian intellectuals in comparison with Pushkin’s position. According to these biographies, the leaders of the national movement in Estonia made all the efforts to educate the nation and to bring it up as a moral and political body, exactly as Pushkin did in the 1830s.

On the Problem of Tsvetaeva and Heraklitos

Roman Voitekhovich

Heraklitos seems to be an important source of Marina Tsvetaeva’s “theology" (the term of M. L. Gasparov). The author examines “quotations" of Heracklitos in Tsvetaeva’s prose and proposes a “tsvetaevian" hierarchy of Heraklitos’ ideology. The second part of the paper shows how this ideology is working in the structure of “Phedra", a drama by Tsvetaeva. The analysis of Phedra’s monologue in the third part of the play shows that Tsvetaeva synthesizes Heraklitian and Christian ideas.

Two Notes on V. Nabokov

Marina Grishakova

╖ 1. Once more on the problem “Nabokov and Shklovsky". V. Nabokov’s mastery of form and his attention to the “device" have been repeatedly discussed as a realization of the formalist theory in literature. The aim of the present paper is not to exclude but somewhat restrict Nabokov’s hypothetical debt to V. Shklovsky. It is shown that Nabokov’s “Glory" might have been polemically opposed to the programme of the left Avant-Garde of the 1920s whose speaker Shklovsky was at the time.

╖ 2. Nabokov and cinema. The visual revolution of the late 19th – early 20th century involved not only a change in “the regime of vision" (in P. Virilio’s terms) but both re-description of visual and spatial experience and extension of the sphere of aesthetic perception. The paper examines reverberations of these events in V. Nabokov’s work: the cinematographic revival of literary cliches of Romanticism and Neo-romanticism, the visual “shift" as metaphore for certain literary devices, thematization of cinematographic techniques in literature.

Letters of Igor Severyanin of 1932—1935 to Irina Borman
(from the Archive of Rein Kruus)

Galina Ponomaryova, Sergei Isakov

This is the first publication of the letters of Igor Severyanin to Irina Borman, a Russian poetess living in Estonia. The letters were collected by the late Rein Kruus, an outstanding Estonian slavist, and now they are being stored in his archive in the Estonian Literary Museum. The biography of I. Borman and the story of her acquaintance with Igor Severyanin are given in the foreword.

The Letters of Boris Vilde to His Mother

Boris Pliukhanov, Lyubov Kiseleva

This is the first publication of the letters of the famous Tartu habitant and a leader of the French Resistance, Boris Vilde to his mother. This correspondence covers the period of 1930–1941. The letters give an overview of the life of Russian emigrants in Europe and depict the personality of B. Vilde.

* Труды по русской и славянской филологии. Литературоведение. IV (Новая серия). Тарту, 2001. C. 339-345. Назад

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