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The essays in this collection are based on papers that were presented at the international conference (Tartu, September 26–28, 2003) dedicated to writings of Pushkin’s famous contemporaries: Vasilii Zhukovsky and Fedor Tiutchev.


Derzhavin and Zhukovsky:
On the Problem of Inheritance in Creative Works

Tatyana Fraiman

Comparative analysis of works of the two poets (specifically the poems on the victory of Russian army in the French-Russian War of 1812 and the ballads) shows that Derzhavin was attempting to incorporate new elements into his poetic system. The author demonstrates that Derzhavin borrowed these new elements from Zhukovsky’s lyric poems. Alongside with borrowing there is a polemic component in Derzhavin’s works as the poet emphasized his particular position, the gap dividing him from the younger generation of poets, “Young Karamzinists” and “The school of harmonic precision”.

“Le soir d’un beau jour”: From the Commentaries
to V. A. Zhukovsky’s Critical Essays in “Vestnik Evropy”

Mikhail Velizhev

The essay discusses editorial policies of Zhukovsky as the editor of “Vestnik Evropy,” in view of his programmatic article “A Letter to the Editor from an Uezd” published in January (1808). The analysis is focused on Zhukovsky’s acknowledgment of the possible participation of F. B. Rostopchin in “Vestnik Evropy.” Zhukovsky agrees to publish works of Sila Bogatyryev (the penname of Rostopchin) but at the same time implies that it would be better if Rostopchin, a leader of the “patriotic party” in Russian literature, stayed aside. This viewpoint correlated with Rostopchin’s disgrace after the Tilsit peace treaty of 1807. Arguing against the “nationalistic” trends in literature and journalism, Zhukovsky had in mind the rivaling magazine “Russkii vestnik”, published by S. N. Glinka since January 1808. Using Rostopchin’s authority, Glinka appealed to nationalistic instincts of his readers instead of their literary taste. In this way Glinka hoped to achieve success among Russian public. Zhukovsky’s answer to his potential rival was based on one of N. M. Karamzin’s most popular texts, “Pis’ma russkogo puteshestvennika”. Referring to the old age of Bogatyryev/Rostopchin, Zhukovsky used an expression: the “serene evening of life.” The metaphor that goes back to J. de La Fontaine (fr. “le soir d’un beau jour”) had been used by Karamzin. Through this oblique allusion, Zhukovsky declared himself loyal to the “westernized” model of the development of Russian literature and, in opposition to Glinka’s isolationism, suggested the notion of cultural openness as the main principle for Russian journalism.

On the Plot of Pan Tvardovskii
(a Context of Zhukovsky’s „Kiev” ballad)

Inna Bulkina

The article continues the discussion of the so-called “Kiev text of Russian literature” undertaken by the author in some of her previous works. The legend of pan Tvardovskii, a local version of doctor Faust, its genesis, history and literary reflections are carefully studied. In particular, Tvardovskii’s plot is examined as a possible source of Zhukovsky’s ballad “Dvenadzat’ spiaschih dev.”

A “Heavenly Aachen”: Vasilii Zhukovsky’s
Political Imagination at the End of the 1810s

Ilya Vinitsky

Vasilii Zhukovsky’s “medieval” ballad “Graf Gapsburgskii” (a 1818 translation of Schiller’s “Graf von Gabsburg” of 1803) is considered within a political context of the late 1810s, as well as within a context of the Romantic philosophy of history: the “Romantic chiliasm,” to quote M. H. Abrams. The author argues that this ballad, published in a court almanac “Fuer Wenige,” presents an allegorical vision of Alexander I and his political triumph at the 1818 Aachen Congress of the Holy Alliance: the revolutionary and Napoleonic wars are over, an “eternal peace” is established through the Russian emperor’s holy will and moral power, and thankful Europeans celebrate the Russian triumph at an assembly of Europe’s Christian monarchs.

In his ballad, Zhukovsky interprets Schiller’s pious knight and a generous patron of God-inspired poets, Rudolph von Habsburg, as an allegorical “type” for the Russian Emperor and Schiller’s “poet the priest” who praises his patron’s great deeds and foresees his and his dynasty’s glorious future, as a “type” for Zhukovsky himself. An aesthetic effect of the ballad is the reader’s immediate recognition of the Russian tsar in the image of the righteous German knight as well as an apocalyptic vision of a divine kingdom in the medieval setting of the ballad. An implicit theme of the ballad is, therefore, the role of poetry in deciphering a providential mission of the Russian tsar at the moment when history witnesses its glorious end.

The Religious in the Period of Poetical Manifestoes:
Zhukovsky’s “Tesniatsia vse k tebe vo khram...”

Ekaterina Liamina, Natalia Samover

The paper, focusing on the poem written in 1821 but remained unpublished in Zhukovsky’s life, examines the religious and psychological basis of the concept of “inexpressible” in poet’s creative work in the beginning of the 1820s. The authors suppose this text to be an early example of religious lyrics that was not yet common in the Russian poetry of the period. The structure of the poem is influenced by the orthodox liturgy and the parable of a Pharisee and a publican. At the same time the study points at some connections between the poem and Zhukovsky’s relationship with the grand duchess Alexandra Fedorovna.

“Za chto nam drug ot druga otdaliat’sia”:
Literary Relations of A. Merzliakov and V. Zhukovsky: Merzliakov’s Version

Philippe Dziadko

The article describes literary relations of Vasilii Zhukovsky and his friend / rival Alexei Merzliakov, a poet and a literary critic. Once closest friends within the circle of the Friendly Literary Society (early 1800s), Zhukovsky and Merzliakov gradually developed opposed views on the future of Russian literature. Their rivalry was complicated by the fact that both poets were eager to follow the line of Andrei Turgenev, once the “leading light” of the circle. Both Zhukovsky and Merzliakov had their own visions of how to follow the late Turgenev’s example.

The argument in the article is based on close reading of Merzliakov’s article “An Epistle from Siberia” (1818) that, as the author shows, referred to a speech of Turgenev and thereby to the context and literary situation of the early 1800s. This context had always been very important for Merzliakov who treated the Friendly Literary Society as the cornerstone of the “real” literature. By deciphering the hidden message of Merzliakov’s article, the author reconstructs the mythology of the Society, and raises the question of the typological aspect, i.e. of the study of Merzliakov’s “lost” trend in Russian literature. For Merzliakov who considered himself responsible for putting into practice the literary traditions of the Friendly Literary Society, the return to the “real literature” signified the return to the “real friendship,” and vice versa.

Zhukovsky’s Role in Developing Shakhovskoi’s Polemical Image

Dmitry Ivanov

In the course of the polemic between ‘arzamasians’ and ‘shishkovists,’ Zhukovsky’s epistle “To the Prince Viazemsky and V. L. Pushkin” (1814) not only triggered off Shakhovskoi’s comedy Lesson to coquettes but also played a key role in accusations against the latter of being responsible for the death of Ozerov. The insinuations of Zhukovsky were developed by other ‘arzamasians’ and the negative image of Shakhovskoi (‘the newest Aristophanes’ as the murderer of Ozerov) was finalized.

In the beginning of the 1820s, trying to clear his name, Shakhovskoi wrote a polemical comedy in verse Aristophanes, in which the ancient dramatist triumphs over his rivals, as Shakhovskoi would have liked to triumph over the ‘arzamasians.’ In the comedy the playwright brands the enemies of his alter ego with the formulas ‘arzamasians’ once used to describe Shakhovskoi. Nevertheless the powerful poetical purport of Zhukovsky’s epistle didn’t allow Shakhovskoi to achieve his goal.

Baratynsky in the Literary Disputes of the Late 1820s

Daria Khitrova

The article dwells on Evgenii Baratynsky’s lyrics of the second half of the 1820s when the younger literary generation united by the “Moskovskii Vestnik” had gained more power. Baratynsky’s latent polemic against the new philosophy-oriented circle and, partially, against Pushkin (who, in his view, has “betrayed” the poetic tenets of their common literary youth) can be found in his well-known poems of the period. The author argues that Baratynsky himself was trying to earn a strong reputation in the new literary situation without seriously changing his own early aesthetics.

Zhukovsky and Seidliz. On the History of Mutual Contacts

Malle Salupere

The article based on archival materials discusses new aspects of the Zhukovsky’s friendship with his future biographer Karl Seidliz, a Tartu University student and later a famous physician. As it is shown by the author, the whole life of Seidliz was devoted to the memory of Maria Moier, his teacher’s wife, with whom both he and his friend Zhukovsky were deeply in love. This romantic situation influenced the structure and poetics of Zhukovsky’s biography written by Seidliz.

Zhukovsky as a Teacher of Russian
(The Beginnings of the “Tsar’s Pedagogy”)

Lyubov Kiseleva

Vasilii Zhukovsky taught Russian to the Grand Duchess Alexandra Fedorovna from 1817 till 1825 and then served as a mentor of her son, Grand Duke Alexander Nikolayevich. According to his royal pupils, Zhukovsky was not a very good teacher because there was no system in his pedagogy. The documents from his archives first published in this article clearly contradict this point of view. They show that Zhukovsky worked out a detailed curriculum, was very careful and systematic in preparing for his classes, translated a lot of texts and compiled special props for Alexandra Fedorovna. A previously unknown document published in the article — a speech written by Zhukovsky for the new Empress in 1826 — demonstrates that his teaching methods had a certain ideological edge discussed by the author.

Reading French Memoirs at the Court of Nicholas I (1828–1837)

Damiano Rebekkini

The article is a comparative study of books borrowed from the Winter Palace library by the poet V. A. Zhukovsky, a mentor of the heir to the Russian throne, and other attendants of the court of Nicholas I from 1828 to 1837. In particular, the article focuses on a series of French memoirs on the Revolution and Napoleon that were most popular at the court. The main source of the study is the lending register of the library belonging to Alexander Nikolaevich — a day-to-day record of the books taken out by the court readers. This source allows to reconstruct Zhukovsky’s cultural interests and to compare them with those of other court readers. Zhukovsky seems to have preferred memoirs that dealt with the political aspects of the recent history (memoirs by Bourrienne, Las Cases, L. Ph. de Ségur, Thiébault, Brown, Cléry, Mémoires sur les journées de septembre 1792, etc.) as well as philosophy of history (Herder, Müller, Heeren, De Staël, Mignet, Guizot, Cousin, etc.) On the other hand, most of the readers preferred less sophisticated memoirs centred upon private life of key figures of the period (for example, Madame de Campan, Napoleon’s valet Constant, Saint’ Hilaire, etc.).

A Russian abroad (V. Zhukovsky: 1841–1849)

Timur Guzairov

The article describes a little-known episode of Zhukovsky’s life abroad during 1841–1849. The reconstruction is based on the poet’s letters to the Grand Duke Alexander Nikolaevich and to his friend and executor R. Rodionov. This correspondence shows that Zhukovsky’s stay abroad provoked accusations of non-patriotism, distrust and oblivion at the court. Neither the emperor’s personal permission, nor Zhukovsky’s literary achievements and his status as a mentor of the heir to the Russian throne could counterbalance the negative effect of his postponing the return to Russia, in spite of the poet’s efforts to explain his personal situation. To avert misunderstanding and to ask for the tsar’s permission to stay abroad for an indefinite period, Zhukovsky had to meet Nicholas I in 1849.

Bulgarin’s Obituary of Zhukovsky

Tatyana Kuzovkina

Bulgarin, one of the creators of the official system of values during Nicholas I’s reign, was the author of several obituaries published in his daily “Severnaya Pchela.” He commemorated only those “heroes of their time” who had made successful careers. In his obituary of Zhukovsky he portrayed the poet first of all as a prominent functionary and loyal man of letters. Doing that, Bulgarin expressed the point of view of the government dissatisfied with the earlier obituaries of Pushkin and Gogol whose deaths had been interpreted as a national tragedy.

Bulgarin’s tempestuous articles against the obituaries of Gogol, which continued old quarrel with Gogol’s literary school, were suppressed by the government.

However, in his obituary of Zhukovsky, Bulgarin makes a new attempt to undermine Gogol’s literary fame, deliberately refusing him the status of a great Russian author.

The Poetic World of V. Zhukovsky in the Mirror of K. Sluchevsky

Lea Pild

K. Sluchevsky regarded Zhukovsky as a high authority, and one of a major creators of Russian “national myth.” In his poems of the 1880–1890-s, Sluchevsky gave a poetic interpretation of ballad motives from Zhukovsky’s works. On the one hand, Sluchevsky, known as a “poet of contradictions,” entered into a controversy with Zhukovsky. On the other hand, Sluchevsky undertook his experiments in the field of a poetic form “under the badge” of Zhukovsky.

Zhukovsky the Unnamed in Tsvetaeva’s Creative World

Roman Voitekhovich

The attitude of Marina Tsvetaeva towards V. A. Zhukovsky was rather complex. For her, he was a most important poet but she very seldom mentions him by name, even when she alludes to his works or quotes them. There are several reasons for this: 1. Zhukovsky is a textbook author, known by everyone; 2. Zhukovsky is a poet for children and because of that his name should not be mentioned in a serious discussion; 3. Zhukovsky is just a translator of the texts alluded to; 4. The name of Zhukovsky is omitted on political grounds. Even more important, though, is the very nature of Zhukovsky’s authorial strategy: his hiding behind the mask of a “translator” who has no distinct poetic persona of his own and addresses everybody. In this case the name itself tells nothing but the writings tell everything.

Lermontov, Pushkin, and the French Literary Tradition

Larissa Volpert

The article dwells on Lermontov’s perception and appropriation of the French literature tradition as compared to those of Pushkin. The difference is explained as a result of biographical and socio-cultural factors. In contrast to Pushkin, Lermontov was brought up after the defeat of Napoleon, at the epoch of hostility to everything French. Yet, he often perceived French literature through the prism of Pushkin’s works that were very important for Lermontov.


Tiutchev’s Art of Citation (I)

Roman Leibov, Aleksandr Ospovat

The present study is the first in a series of articles that explore the reception of Pushkin in Fedor Tiutchev’s lyric. Here the authors examine all instances in which Pushkin’s texts are explicitly evoked in the form of direct quotation or immediately recognized allusions. An analysis of the material reveals two types of citation. There are instances where the Pushkin references direct the reader to the context of the cited text, in which case it is employed to enhance the authority of Tiutchev’s own utterance (“Dva demona emu sluzhili…” “On, umiria, somnevalsia…”). In other instances the citation is wholly divorced from the context that engendered it, in which case what seems to be a tribute to Pushkin conceals a polemic with the poet (“Chernoe more”).

The “Death of the Poet” Cycle and Tiutchev’s “January 29th, 1837”

Alexander Dolinin

According to G. Levinton, obituary poems written in remembrance of a major poet form a special cycle in the Russian literary tradition of the 19th and 20th centuries that goes back to Lermontov’s famous “Death of the Poet.” The two distinctive characteristics of the cycle are the poem’s bipartite structure and allusions to writings of the dead poet as well as to some preceding texts of the genre. The main point of the article is that Tiutchev’s poetic obituary of Pushkin, “January 29th, 1837,” written half a year after the event, belongs to the cycle and contains the rudiments of the above features. The author argues that in the poem Tiutchev polemically responded to Lermontov’s “Death of the Poet” and Edward Guber’s “On Pushkin’s Death,” contrasting his classical concept of the great poet as a “vessel” or “organ” of gods shared by Pushkin, to the younger poets’ Romantic interpretations of Pushkin’s duel and death.

A Madrigal or a Discourse on Aesthetics of Music?
Towards an Interpretation of Tiutchev’s Poem “Yu. F. Abaze”

Boris Katz

The poem is usually considered as a madrigal addressed to a female amateur singer and writer well known in St. Petersburg high society of the 1850–1880s. The article suggests a new reading that redefines the poem as a kind of poetical treatise rather than a stock compliment to a lady. The central theme of the poem is actually not the addressee and her beautiful voice but the important problem much discussed in aesthetics of the time – that of interrelations between purely instrumental music and musical pieces using lyrics. In Tiutchev’s view, a sung word is the ultimate expression of human soul because it emancipates itself from the “dark bondage” of instrumental sounds like the light was separated from the darkness during the Creation. This position is strikingly close to Wagner’s treatment originally presented in his novel “The Pilgrimage to Beethoven” and later repeated many times in numerous treatises and essays. Wagner’s theory of lyrical drama might have been known to Tiutchev.

The City of Revel in Tiutchev’s Poem
“Kak Nasazhdeniia Petrova…”

Galina Ponomaryova

The author suggests that the poem was inspired by Tiutchev’s stay in Falle and Revel in 1843. In the very first line the poet refers to the trees planted by the Emperor’s family in Catherine’s Vale and Falle. The theme of the Russian word in the poem is associated with a Russian settlement near Vale that was founded in the beginning of the 18th century.

* Пушкинские чтения в Тарту 3: Материалы международной научной конференции, посвященной 220-летию В. А. Жуковского и 200-летию Ф. И. Тютчева / Ред. Л. Киселева. Тарту: Tartu Ülikooli Kirjastus, 2004. С. 417–426.
Дата публикации на Ruthenia 21/01/05.
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