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Article

Писатель на службе. Случай Н.И. Страхова

Russian Literature. 2014. Т. 75. № 1-4. С. 333-361.

This article examines late-eighteenth – early-nineteenth-century Russian writers' consciousness of authorship as an activity of state importance. In particular, it demonstrates how this consciousness could enable a writer to substitute the creation of fanciful proposals for his actual administrative work. Such was the case of Nikolai Ivanovich Strakhov, author of popular satirical journals of the last decades of the eighteenth century, including Satiricheskii vestnik (Satirical Messenger) and Perepiska mody (Fashion Correspondence). The article traces Strakhov's service career as chief of the Akhtubinskii silk factories, the main pristav of the Kalmyk people, and head of the archive for the Department of Foreign Trade. An examination of extensive archival material reveals that while Strakhov consistently promoted collectively useful activities and knowledge, these plans were more rhetorical strategy than practical proposal, although they did produce extensive literary compilations. The article examines the last thirty years of the writer's life, a period when, given new literary and social circumstances, earlier eighteenth-century writing practices ceased to be relevant.