This article explores the image of the khalat, or dressing gown, in and around Petr Viazemskii's 1817 poem “Proshchanie s khalatom” (Farewell to My Dressing Gown). As the poem circulated during the period between its creation and printing, its central image—the khalat—became enshrined as a symbol for early nineteenth-century literary culture around and within the Arzamas circle, emphasizing a creative inner life and an informal approach to writing. The poem mediates between friendship, honor, authenticity, and authorship and the formalities, duties, and expectations of society life. The khalat image appears in later poems, correspondence, and occasional writings by Anton Del′vig, Aleksandr Pushkin, and Vasilii Zhukovskii, among others. Tracing the image through its intertextual influences, extratextual impact, and memetic evolution, I examine the way it contributed to the development of an intellectual network through information transfer during the early nineteenth century and beyond.
Slavic Review is an international interdisciplinary journal devoted to the study of eastern Europe, Russia, the Caucasus, and Central Asia, past and present.
The Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES), a nonprofit, non-political, scholarly society, is the leading private organization in the world dedicated to the advancement of knowledge about Central Asia, the Caucasus, Russia, and East-Central Europe in regional and global context.