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2023 №27

Author: Konstantin M. Azadovsky
About the author:

Konstantin M. Azadovsky — PhD in Philology, German Academy of Language and Literature, Alexandraweg 28, 64287 Darmstadt, Germany; St. Petersburg, Russia.

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The linguistic theory of the Soviet academician Nikolai Marr which in the 1930s captured Soviet humanities, including literary and folklore studies, had several stages: from an unrestrained glorification up to its complete defamation in 1950 (after Stalin’s article in “Pravda”). Heated discussions around the “paleontological method” resumed in Russia during the Perestroika and later, when most experts consider it as unfounded. The present publication is focused on the remembered evidence of Mark Azadovsky (1888–1954) who in the 1930s headed all folklore studies in Leningrad (in the Academy of Sciences as well as at the University) and who was at that time deeply involved in the principal events of folkloristic life and was well acquainted with its participants. His letter to the Moscow folklore scholar Vera Krupyanskaya (1897–1985), written in May 1952, represents a retrospective evaluation of Marr’s direction in Soviet folklore studies and gives, moreover, an answer to the question: who among the Soviet specialists in folklore could be regarded (and to what degree) as a real adherent of Marr’s school? After 1949, when Mark Azadovsky was subjected to public dishonor and dismissed from all of his academic positions, he had no possibility to express his views in public. However, he managed to indirectly influence the contents of one of the “anti-Marrist” articles typical of that time (“About the fallacious views of N.Ya. Marr and his followers in the field of the folklore studies” by Vladimir Chicherov). The story of this article, published in the magazine “Soviet Ethnography” (1952) presents an “intrigue” with some fascinating details.

Keywords: N.Ya. Marr, marrism, japhetic theory, folklore studies, Yu.M. Sokolov, V.Yu. Krupyanskaya, “Soviet Ethnography,” V.M. Zhirmunsky, V.I. Chicherov.
For citation:

Azadovsky, K.M. “Marrism and Soviet Folklore Studies: From the Archives of Mark Azadovsky.” Literaturnyi fakt, no. 1 (27), 2023, pp. 217–245. (In Russ.)


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