The article discusses the portrayal of the author’s wife in Zhitie (Life Story), the most well-known pre-modern Russian autobiography written by the archpriest Avvakum (1621/2 – 1682). The main question addressed in the article is the credibility of this portrayal. Its main conclusion suggests that while searching for historical truth in autobiographical stories we should take into consideration that they were written not for us but for some other readers, and that this difference of addressees complicates our search.
Iakov Golosovker developed the theme of the mythologization of autobiography in a manner that was close to the Russian Symbolists (see his My Life Myth). The proof of this is in his unpublished letter to Andrei Bely, which can be dated to 1921, the time when they were both members of the Moscow ‘Vol'fila’. It is possible that their meetings and creative ties in the late 1920s resulted in the image of Christ visiting a modern town in Bely’s Petersburg and Golosovker’s Burned novel.
This paper is aimed at exploring the origins and mechanisms which have contributed to the creation of Ivan Dmitriev’s autobiographic “double identity” – as a Russian “classic” poet and as a high ranking state official. His biography is reconstructed in light of his literary and bureaucratic achievements (Dmitriev was one of the famous and acknowledged poets at the beginning of 19th century and also built a successful career as a civil servant becoming the Russian Minister of justice in 1810). A crucial point in his biography occured when his two identities came into clash, in the course of his controversy with Mikhail Kachenovskii, critic and editor of an influential literary review, the “Vestnik Evropy”. This paper analyses also Dmitriev’s defensive strategies against the attacks of literary critics who combined his two different identities, which seemed to him to be mutually exclusive. An explanation of his attitude can be found in the social conventions that regulated the Russian noblemen’s norms of behavior of the time.