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Working paper

Ivan Krylov as a Reader and Krylov's Readers

The topics explored in this essay include Ivan Andreevich Krylov’s reading practices in his young and mature years, reconstructed on the basis of various sources. The paper recontextualizes Krylov’s unique reading trajectory not always comprehensible for his contemporaries. It also highlights numerous links, not accentuated earlier, between Krylov’s strategies — in life, writing and publishing — and his service as a librarian in the Imperial Public Library of St. Petersburg. The analysis of several situations showing Krylov as a brilliant reciter of his own texts who smartly deals with expectations and obsessions of his audience, allows to affirm the existence of a special connection - between his personality, considerably mythologized due to his own efforts, the fable as a literary genre and the status of classical writer obtained by Krylov by 1830. Sub specie of this connection the transformations of the circle of Krylov’s readers are represented, as well as different ways of perception of his fables by children.