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For Humanity's Sake

For Humanity's Sake: The Bildungsroman in Russian Culture

Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 280
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  • Book Info
    For Humanity's Sake
    Book Description:

    Positing the classic Russian novel as an inheritor of the Enlightenment's key values — including humanity, self-perfection, and cross-cultural communication —For Humanity's Sakeoffers a unique view of Russian intellectual history and literature.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-9608-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-14)

    Russian literature emerged as a distinct voice and presence on the international cultural scene only in the second half of the nineteenth century. Up until then, most Europeans knew little about Russia, besides the fact – widely publicized by Voltaire, Diderot, and Rousseau – that since the early eighteenth century the Russian upper class had borrowed Europe’s scientific and technological achievements and imitated its customs and manners. While Russia’s ambitious rulers, beginning with Peter I and Catherine II, made Russia a political force to be taken seriously by European governments, most cultivated Europeans continued to regard the Russian Empire as a massive...

  5. Part I: Culture (Obrazovanie, Bildung) and the Bildungsroman on Russian Soil

    • 1 Russian Literature from the National Awakening of the 1800s to the Rise of Pochvennichestvo in the 1850s
      (pp. 15-28)

      To get a better sense of Apollon Grigor’ev’s originality as a thinker, we need to approach his ideas against the broader horizon of Russian intellectual history, which received a powerful impetus from Russia’s encounter with Europe during the Napoleonic Wars. As is generally assumed by historians, the rise of national self-consciousness in Russia corresponded with the military campaigns of 1805, 1812, and 1813–14. The first decade of the nineteenth century was also marked by the development of the liberal public sphere, an event in which Nikolai Karamzin played a key role. His journal,Messenger of Europe(Vestnik Evropy), which...

    • 2 Apollon Grigor’ev’s Theory of Russian Culture
      (pp. 29-37)

      Many of his contemporaries, including F.M. Dostoevsky, saw Grigor’ev (1822–64) as one of the geniuses of the age. The son of Alexander Ivanovich Grigor’ev, a Moscow gentleman (dvorianin), and Tat’iana Andreevna, a daughter of one of the serfs belonging to the Grigor’evs, Apollon Grigor’ev was conceived before his parents were married. Therefore throughout his life Grigor’ev was officially registered not as a gentleman but as a member of the third estate – a biographical element that had profound and lasting significance for his self-consciousness and his intellectual position as a poet and critic. Griogr’ev spent his childhood in Zamoskvorech’e, an...

    • 3 Yurii Lotman’s Idea of the ‘Semiosphere’
      (pp. 38-48)

      Yurii Lotman spent most of his career as a professor of Russian literature at the University of Tartu, formerly the University of Dorpat, in Estonia. By coincidence, it was here that the German critic Karl Morgenstern presented his lecture on the Bildungsroman in 1819, which introduced into Russian cultural space the idea of the novel of apprenticeship as a symbolic form of modernity. In keeping with Humboldt’s pedagogical theory, Morgenstern conceptualizedBildungas the cultivation of the enlightened individual personality within the favourable conditions of the peaceful post-Napoleonic age.¹ The supposed ‘eternal peace’ of the age of ‘Holy Alliance’ coincided...

    • 4 The Semiospheric Novel and the Broadening of Cultural Self-Consciousness
      (pp. 49-54)

      I want to argue that Lotman’s so-called formula of the Russian novel represents an updated version of Grigor’ev’s conception of what Pushkin’s prose meant to the subsequent Russian literary tradition, that is, that Russian culture would henceforth be self-consciously dependent on the presence of other cultures for its continual vitality and growth.¹ Sympathy (sochuvstvie, Herder’sEinfuehlung) with otherness is, for Grigor’ev, the precondition for genuineBildung. In this way, Grigor’ev abolishes the determination ofBildungby some set end or purpose (for example, Schaftesbury’s ‘virtuosity,’ which influenced Wilhelm von Humboldt’s idea of ‘individuality’) and takes it, instead, as a process...

  6. Part II: Nineteenth-Century Russian Novels of Emergence

    • 5 Pushkin’s Quest for National Culture: The Captain’s Daughter as a Russian Bildungsroman
      (pp. 55-90)

      Pushkin’s attitude towardprosvechshenie, the Russian term for enlightenment as education (when the word begins with a small ‘p’) and for the Age of Enlightenment (when it starts with a capital ‘P’), has always appeared as one of the more puzzling aspects of the writer’s legacy.² Pushkin was undoubtedly one of the most cultivated persons of his age, and his writings display a firm grasp of contemporary European intellectual life as well as a very good command of the classics. As the writer grew more mature, he became interested in popular education, contributing fairy tales and books that could be...

    • 6 Educating Russia, Building Humanity: Tolstoy’s War and Peace
      (pp. 91-134)

      When Lev Tolstoy entered the public sphere, Russian literature was undergoing a major change. The deaths of Gogol (in 1845) and Belinskii (in 1848), as well as Herzen’s emigration in 1847, brought to a close a major chapter in Russian literary history. The memory of this epoch, which P.V. Annenkov famously dubbed ‘the remarkable decade,’ was still fresh.¹ The influential journalThe Contemporary(Sovremennik), once led by V.G. Belinskii (1811-48), was now in the hands of N.A. Nekrasov, I.F. Panaev, V.P. Botkin, P.V. Annenkov, and I.S. Turgenev. The journal’s political orientation in the early 1850s could be described as progressive/liberal....

    • 7 Dostoevsky on Individual Reform and National Reconciliation: The Adolescent
      (pp. 135-173)

      When Fyodor Dostoevsky returned to Russia in 1859 after the amnesty announced by the new emperor on the eve of the Great Reforms, he found himself in a rather different ideological climate from the one he had left a decade earlier. The critic to whom the young Dostoevsky owed his fame, Vissarion Belinskii, was gone. The dispute over his legacy and over the future of the journalThe Contemporarypolarized the St Petersburg literati. Entering this debate would mean siding with one of the camps. Dostoevsky, however, dreamed of a certain degree of independence in this turbulent public sphere that...

  7. Conclusion
    (pp. 174-180)

    InDostoevsky’s Unfinished JourneyRobin Feuer Miller suggests that Dostoevsky hesitated in his fiction to say his last word or to state, directly, any final conviction.¹ Miller is thinking of the contrast with Dostoevsky’s journalistic prose, where he never hesitated to speakin propria persona. As Miller points out, the only novel where Dostoevsky tries to create similar closure isThe Brothers Karamazov. Dostoevsky’s last novel concludes with a moving and memorable speech given by Alyosha Karamazov to the group of schoolboys for whom he has served as teacher throughout most of the novel.² Gathered together at the funeral of...

  8. Appendix: The Russian Texts
    (pp. 181-188)
  9. Notes
    (pp. 189-238)
  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 239-264)
  11. Index
    (pp. 265-284)