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Aleksandr Ostrovskii, the best known and very prolific Russian playwright of the nineteenth century, interacted constantly with the officials responsible for dramatic censorship, considered by most of Ostrovskii’s contemporaries the most brutal branch of the censorship apparatus. The censor and, independently, Nicholas I personally, did not allow Ostrovskii to stage his first major play. A similar fate awaited some of his later plays. By the mid-1850’s, Ostrovskii had accumulated significant symbolic capital and officials from the Censorship Department started avoiding conflicts with him. Instead, they tried to draw him to their side by interpreting his works in a light that would render them suitable to the requirements for dramatic works. Ostrovskii, from the beginning of his career, tried not so much to avoid conflicts with the censorship and cuts to his plays as to provide the censor with a way to interpret his works that would not require them to be banned. The present article analyzes both the history of such attempts by Ostrovskii and his censors to find common ground, and the reasons why these attempts turned out to be not entirely effective. Using material from the censorship archives, I attempt to demonstrate that such attempts changed the playwright’s status.
Conference proceedings of the V. annual German conference at the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow, April 17, 2019.
An article on the perception of the work of Hans Christian Andersen by Russian acmeists
Michael Glycas wrote in different genres; his most significant work is the Universal Chronicle. It has no value as a historical source, since it is a gigantic compilation, and the great majority o its sources has survived. Yet, it excels among other chronicles by both its structure and its content. Whereas the second, historical part is extremely superficial and piecemeal, the first part is a huge and independent Hexaemeron containing answers to hundreds of questions about the configuration of the Universe. The number of sources used by Glycas is strikingly high, he easily combines theological treatises with ancient paradoxographic and scientific texts, Aristotle is quoted side by side with Physiologus. In both parts of his Chronicle, the author manages to extract from his sources what he needs most: entertaining stories, curious data and moral admonition. We know from Glycas’ theological letters that he was highly educated but his Chronicle was aimed at the “broad audience”.
The article brings under scrutiny an understudied dialogical account about the deposition of the patriarch of Constantinople Nicholas IV Mouzalon (1147–51). A close reading shows that this is not an official record of the proceedings but a piece of fiction that deliberately inverts the generic conventions of the two types of texts indicative of the 12th-century literary landscape, namely 1) minutes of church councils and 2) syllogistic theological dialogues. The anonymous author invites the reader to recognize the all-familiar scheme of the Socratic interrogation but eventually departs from it investing the protagonists (Manuel I Komnenos and Mouzalon) with features that distance them from their Platonic models. The text seems to be inextricably linked to Mouzalon’s canonical dilemma: can an archbishop who previously voluntarily fled from his office be appointed archbishop once again? In fact, the author’s primary concern is not the patriarch but the emperor, a judge-logician who is at one and the same time Socrates and more than Socrates, and the new language able to reflect the changing balance between the imperial and ecclesiastical powers in mid-12th-century Byzantium.
Through a close reading of Constantine Akropolites' letter collection (mostly cover-letters accompanying his encomia sent to his commissioners, friends, and acquaintaces) we attempt to get insight into his authorial self-consciousness as hagiographer and metaphrastes and, more broadly, shed light on the intellectual atmosphere of the earlt Palaiologan period with its interplay of social networking, ostentatious piety, and rhetorical rivalry.
About three Soviet readers-intellectuals of the 1920-s
The introduction to the special issue cluster explores the complexity and ambiguity inherent in the position of a censor in the Imperial Russia. On the one hand, the censor was a law enforcement agent whose job was to constrain and constrict. At the same time, the act of censoring works of literature or music demanded multiplex interactions between the censor and different participants in the creation and dissemination of these works and thus could never be ‘neutral’ or ‘objective’ towards the aesthetical and cultural dimensions of art. Instead of representing censorship exclusively as an extension of governmental oppressive politics, recent approaches to studying censorship have focused on cultural practices of censors and the censors’ reciprocal interactions with writers, artists and philosophers. By and large, this trend has been absent from the historiography of Russian censorship. The interdisciplinary cluster of articles in this issue illuminates anew the multifarious relationship between the Censorship Department’s officials in Russia of Nicholas I and Alexander II and the authors of the works they reviewed.
Comprehensive analysis of the poem by Timur Kibirov "Through farewell tears"
The aim of this paper is to analyze a peculiar case of interaction between nonfiction and fiction. The analysis’ starting point is a famous introduction by an American writer Tom Wolfe to The New Journalism anthology (1973) where he praises realism, which he finds capable of uniquely — physiologically — affecting the reader, and claims that New Journalism brought realism back to American letters, repeating an important episode of the history of literature: the coming of the realistic novel to the 18th century England. These statements have not yet received the critical attention they obviously deserve.
As was shown by researchers (M. Dickstein, J. Hartsock, B. Shapiro), this novel emerged from imitation of antecedent nonfiction and was meant to affect the reader by its borrowed “truthfulness.” In this “truthfulness” one recognizes the paradoxical idea of “fictional truth,” inherent to the novel, which engaged the literary critic M. Riffaterre and philosopher G. Currie (among others). It becomes possible to assume that British “literature of fact” of the late XVII century provided patterns of truthful and verisimilar narrative while the realistic novel formed “the poetics of truth” that conveyed to the reader communicative aesthetic experience of encountering a narrative’s “reality.”
Studies in evolutionary biology, neurophysiology, and cognitivism corroborate this assumption and, accordingly, prove Tom Wolfe’s first statement to be correct. His second statement is half-right: what happened in the 1960s was not so much the return of realism to American literature as another emergence of a literary form from the tension between fiction and nonfiction. New Journalism imitated the novel as in the 18th century the novel imitated “literature of fact.”
The article deals with the problem of the relationship between various reading strategies by the
censor and ideas about his social role during the pre-reform era of the late 1850s. The authors
explore on the one hand the curious history of the journal publication of essays by P.M. Kovalevskij,
a nephew of the minister of public education, in 1858, which is reconstructed on the basis of
censorship documents, and on the other hand the colourful review by P.A. Efremov. Thus they
demonstrate the difficulties I.A. Gončarov as a censor was faced with, who, being forced to
remain in the confines of the persistent censorship practices of “petty”, “hypercritical” reading,
tried to reform them in accordance with the new circumstances and his literary persuasions.
This article presents a diachronic study of third-person pronouns' expansion in the Soikkola dialect
of the Ingrian language (Uralic family, Finnic group). A preliminary analysis of the data revealed that all
personal subject pronouns are by default explicitly expressed. This pattern is unusual for other Uralic
languages, where pronouns are mostly omitted either in all three grammatical persons, or in first- and
second person, in contrast to the third one. To clarify the genesis and reconstruct the potential expansion
of subject pronouns, modern Indrian transcripts were compared with the earliest Ingrian text (19th century
tale), on the one hand, and with the mid-twentieth century narratives (the data of P. Ariste), on the other
hand. The analysis showed that in Ingrian of the 19th century in praeterite clauses third-person pronouns
were mostly omitted, while first- and second person pronouns were usually explicitly expressed. The
records of the mid-XX century reflected a similar asymmetry of the 1st / 2nd vs. of the 3rd person not
only in praeterite, but also in present clauses. Thus, it was reaffirmed that during the 2nd half of the XX
century, a massive expansion of third-person subject pronouns took place in Ingrian . The reasons for this
phenomenon, apparently, are due to Russian infuence in the course of intensively increased contacts after
the 1930s, and can be interpreted as a borrowing a of a subject syntactic pattern.
The article investigates the first review by N. Gumilev on the Vyach. Ivanov’s poetry (first chapter of the book of poems “Cor Ardens”) in context of another modernists reviews (by V. Bryusov, A. Bely, A. Blok and I. Annensky). The article identifies thematic dominants, which are common to all critics (including Gumilev), according to which was forming the representation of Vyach. Ivanov the literary sphere of the late 1900s and early 1910s.