Vasilii Trediakovsky

Vasilii Trediakovsky  (English, Hardcover, Reyfman Irina)

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  • Language: English
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Genre: Literary Criticism
  • ISBN: 9780804718240, 0804718245
  • Pages: 332
Vasilii Trediakovsky (1703-69) was one of the eighteenth century poets instrumental in creating a Russian literature based on West European models, yet a striking discrepancy exists between his obvious importance and his notoriously bad reputation among his contemporaries and later generations of Russian writers and critics. In exploring the mechanisms of the creation and transmission of literary reputation, the author uses material that is frequently dismissed as irrelevant and unreliable: rumors, anecdotes, and opinions. This material is used to detect mythological patterns in accounts of the historical past - in this case eighteenth-century Russian literature - and to investigate the role of mythmaking in modern cultural consciousness. This book argues that the Russian literary figures of the eighteenth century regarded their age as making a complete break with the past and entering into a totally new stage of historical development.This idea led to the construction of a myth of the beginning of the 'new' Russian literature, with Mikhail Lomonosov (1711-65) cast in the role of culture hero and Trediakovsky cast as the fool, a pedantic buffoon who was responsible for all that was 'wrong' in Russian literature. His image includes comic traits of a clearly mythological nature, such as misplaced zeal, chronic failure, and association with death and the underworld. This mythological image accounts for the peculiar ways in which his works and personality were interpreted even in the face of his obvious important achievements. The author shows how the comic power of Trediakovsky's image as a fool was a convenient weapon in literary controversies: polemicists had only to compare the positions of their opponents with those of Trediakovsky. Any writer who attempted to develop Trediakovsky's artistic ideas risked being associated with the notorious 'fool'. In consequence, certain literary innovations first proposed by him (such as hexameters, blank verse, and poetical Slavonicisms) could not readily be assimilated.Ironically, the image of Trediakovsky as fool insured the survival of his literary ideas: b y mocking and parodying them, Russian writers preserved them for the time when the Russian literary consciousness needed alternative literary forms.<
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  • Stanford University Press
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