Rewien on Aleshin D. Aziatskaja odisseja. Izdatel'stvo knizhnogo magazina Ciolkovskij, 2017
The article discusses research perspectives in the study of Russian pre-modern first-person writings that are commonly called autobiographies. Its first part starts with definitions of what is “early Russian” and “autobiographical,” briefly introduces six texts, gives a condensed review of the approaches to the study of these texts by literary and cultural historians from 1950s to present, and concludes with suggestion of some new perspectives to their analysis. The article argues that re-questioning of early Russian autobiographical writings is prompted by some recent important changes in the humanities and social sciences and by some insights from historians and literary scholars that study first-person texts of the Western tradition. The second part of the article is a case-study that examines one autobiographical text, The Life (Zhitie) of monk Epifanii (? – 1682) and focuses on one topic: representation of the hero/author’s pain and healing. The analysis of this representation is conducted in relation to concrete social and political contexts of the text. The study concludes that contextualizing pre-modern first-person narratives as social activities embedded in historically specific reality helps in better understanding of their meanings.
This article analyzes grass-root politics in the Russian Civil War, challenging the traditional assumption that the Bolsheviks with their program of radical revolutionary change enjoyed greater popularity than their White adversaries. On the example of the Northern region, it demonstrates that the local «counter-revolutionary» government commanded considerable sympathies of the provincial population. This popularity was based on the government's ability to supply the population of this non-agricultural province with imported grain, to provide military protection and arms for self-defense. Ultimately, the article strives to explain the outcome of the Civil War not by conflicting ideologies and policies, but by practical circumstances and local factors that on a grass-root level conditioned changing political loyalties.
The article focuses on the most famous Russian pre-modern autobiography The Life by protopope Avvakum (1621/22–1682) to discuss his wife Natas’ja Markovna as one of its essential characters. Being the leader of the movement against religious reform in the seventeenth century Russia, Avvakum composed his life story in accordance with hagiographical canon of the martyr to send a propaganda message to his followers. The figure of Natas’ja Markovna in his text also works for this aim. In accordance with women’s hagiographic canon she is portrayed as wife and mother completely subjected to her husband’s will and doomed to share all hardships of his life. Though Avvakum’s autobiography was widely read, this religious/social context was often understood as insignificant for understanding its meanings. The same is true for the figure of the protopopica, which was used by Russian scholars and writers of the twentieth century to establish a canon of the model wife.
This article discusses the legend of Saint Alexius from the perspective of the “discovery of the individual,” an issue that for many decades has been intensively debated by historians of European culture.
The article describes the structures of autobiographical narration in the novels and essays of the austrian writer E. Canetti.