Soviet Theories of Biography and the Aesthetics of Personality
This article considers the history of Russian thinking on the genre of biography, focusing on Romantic and post-Romantic intellectual tradition that grants to the biographical subject the power to craft one`s own self. This tradition can still be found to be operative in the work of Yuri Lotman and Lydia Ginzburg.
The review examines a new edition of the book “Sawinkow” by a Polish researcher A.S. Kowalczyk which is devoted to a famous politician and terrorist B.V. Savinkov. It coincides with the anniversary of the Russian Revolution and the fact that one of the streets in Warsaw was named after Boris Savinkov. The book is structured chronologically and covers the entire life of Boris Savinkov. Despite the fact that the information in it is mostly correct, there is a number of inappropriate simplifications and factual errors. The review features the text composition, its strengths and weaknesses.
Like many genres, biography came belatedly to Russia. As with other such late arrivals, it underwent intensive growth in quantity, sophistication, cultural significance and popularity from the era of Nicholas I onwards, and stands today as a dominant force in post-Soviet publishing. Yet studies of Russian biography’s poetics and its role as a literary and cultural institution in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries remain thin on the ground, a fact often lamented, yet not fully addressed, in the scattered writings on the subject.
Writing Russian Lives examines modern Russian biography as a literary form, a publishing phenomenon and a cultural force. From Imperial to pre- Revolutionary and early Soviet biography and memoir writing, the volume also explores the history of the long-running ‘Lives of Remarkable People’ series, whilst consideration of survivors’ testimonies from Nazi-occupied Russia and the problems of presenting personality in the late Soviet era offer innovative research and insight into less traditional forms of the genre.
Analyzing biographical narratives shows that, in addition to commemorative functions related to individual achievements, biography is involved in the continuous production of values - contributing not only to the preservation of the existing order but to its ongoing modification. This article explores the concept of the “great man” through two main components: as a heroic person (with a history of military and other exploits, demonstrations of courage) and as a genius (a person endowed with exceptional abilities). At the turn from the eighteenth to the nineteenth century, the concept of genius in particular reflected new ideas about the scale and significance of the historical person. On the one hand, genius could be understood as a soaring creative spirit (the genius-creator), an individualistic concept; and on the other, as a manifestation of a collective identity, the people (national genius). Lomonosov’s biographies demonstrate such changes in the concept of genius: a transition from French to German cultural influences, from creative individualism to the unity of the nation. Secularization and returns to religion contribute to the ongoing story: in the Soviet era, Lomonosov embodied the creative potential of the people and the nation, but as the status of Orthodoxy changes in the search for a new ideology in twenty-first-century Russia, the great Russian scientist and poet regains a religious aura, reinforced by national and even nationalistic pathos.
The article introduces a previously unknown text by Boris Pasternak, written by the latter in the album of his gymnasium schoolmate at the beginning of the last school year. The structure of the autograph reveals the preferences of the future poet with regard to philosophy and music. In particular, a connection between Pasternak’s aphorism and Schopenhauer’s ideas can be traced. The place of Pasternak’s writing within the context of the album sheds light on the author’s relationship with the circle of Kurlov. Finally, some hypotheses are advanced concerning the role of early impressions in the development of Doktor Zhivago, and a possible explanation of the origin of Zhivago’s brothers’ names is proposed.
The paper is focused on the study of reaction of italian literature critics on the publication of the Boris Pasternak's novel "Doctor Jivago". The analysys of the book ""Doctor Jivago", Pasternak, 1958, Italy" (published in Russian language in "Reka vremen", 2012, in Moscow) is given. The papers of italian writers, critics and historians of literature, who reacted immediately upon the publication of the novel (A. Moravia, I. Calvino, F.Fortini, C. Cassola, C. Salinari ecc.) are studied and analised.
In the article the patterns of the realization of emotional utterances in dialogic and monologic speech are described. The author pays special attention to the characteristic features of the speech of a speaker feeling psychic tension and to the compositional-pragmatic peculiarities of dialogic and monologic text.