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Article

«Русский автор» в 1739 году: Г. З. Байер, И. И.Тауберт и формирование русского школьного канона

Slovĕne. 2019. Т. 8. № 2. С. 163-197.
Костин А. А., Костина Т. В.

In the 1730s, the administration of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences redesigned the program of study at the Academy’s gymnasium. Their goal was to create an institution capable of preparing specialists not only for the Academy itself, but also for the civil service, which required people educated in both Russian and German. The regulation (reglament) developed by Georg Krafft in 1739, besides preserving the previous division of the gymnasium into Latin and German departments, redesigned the instruction offered by the German department to form a full curriculum, in which Russian-style instruction was as important as mastering the German language. This visionary project put together classes in which pupils whose native language was Russian would study in the same classroom as students whose native language was German, which led the Academy to develop a corpus of bilingual (German/Russian) textbooks. A key element of the syllabus was the study of “a Russian author” (analogous to the well-developed system of “reading authors” in European Latin schools), the first time this method had been introduced in a Russian school. Gottlieb Siegfried Bayer’s “Azov History” (Begebenheiten von Azow, 1736-37), translated into Russian by Ivan Taubert (1737), was chosen as the set text. The whole syllabus provided by Krafft’s 1739 gymnasium regulation, as well as the book-selling practice of the Academy in the early 1740s, makes it clear that the selection of Bayer's book was not coincidental - it corresponded well to the Russian reading public's ideas about proper verbal composition. The marginal status of verse (poetry) in this structure, combined with the actors’ attention to questions of style, provide the basis for a new narrative for Russian literary history of the 1730s, centered around the collective work of the translators of the under-studied Russian Society (Rossijskoe sobranije), established in 1735. Such a narrative would consider the whole catalogue of books published by the Academy, whether in Russian or in other languages.