• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site
Menu

Article

Достоинство стихотворца: формирование статуса автора во второй половине XVIII ВЕКА

Russian Literature. 2021. Т. 119. С. 103-130.

Similarly to many other important terms of our social vocabulary, the concept of
dignity is employed within different discourses, but in Russia a special role in its
development belongs to literature. This article discusses the use of the collocation
“dignity of a poet” in Russia in the 18th century, when cultural production started
to become autonomized and the status of “being a writer” became – or at least was
declared to be – capable of bringing fame and recognition. Historical semantics
can contribute to comprehending the processes that helped establish this particular
status of literary authors. The case of Aleksandr Sumarokov is particularly
indicative, for it is located at the intersection of two logics related to two different
realms. One is the realm of power, where dignity is determined by rank, and the
other is the new realm of literature, where “dignity” of the author is determined by
the literary merit of his texts and by public opinion. By making literature his main
occupation, Sumarokov lost his “dignity of a nobleman” and acquired the “dignity
of a poet”, which at the time lacked proper social significance. This shift accounted
for tragic conflicts in his life.