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Working paper

Мировая безвестность: Ольга Фрейденберг об античном романе

The presence or absence of Russian scholarship in the European and world culture is discussed by an example of Olga Freidenberg (1890–1955), a Soviet classicist and cultural philosopher. Her scale as thinker is that of the first stars and she would become a person of dominant influence if there were any regular channels of communication of the Russian and other European scholars. In the center of discussion there is the case of her pioneer theses on the Greek novel. Olga Freidenberg was the first one (in early 1920s in Russia) to draw the comparison between pagan erotic novels and both Apocryphal Acts and Canonical Acts and Gospels. Only recently many aspects of her “paleontological analysis” of the Greek novel emerged on the surface of the Western Classical scholarship as “new approaches”. The paper proposes a thesis that in the humanities of the Soviet period (and probably at present time also) there were many great scholars while no institutionalized scholarship. Being the outsiders the Russian scholars have a valuable asset of the improvised solutions and new approaches. At the same time Russians are mostly regarded as the representatives of their own culture, “informant” and not as colleagues. An intruding of the new results, thoughts and approaches of the Russian scholars into the European environment is best achieved with the help of appropriation of the results of Russian scholars by the authoritative members of the Western scholarly community.