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2024. no. 2 (32) 

Author: Trakhtenberg, L.A.
About the author:

Lev A. Trakhtenberg, DSc in Philology, Professor, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leninskie Gory, 1, 119991 Moscow, Russia. 


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The paper views a literary debate of the early 19th century that has not yet received the due attention of specialists. The 1800s see emerging interest in original anecdotes that show the virtue and wit of Russians. The journal Drug Prosveshcheniia, which represents one of the influential literary factions of the time, the politically and stylistically conservative “Archaists” led by Alexander Shishkov, makes “Russian anecdote” a permanent section since its first issue. In 1805, the Russian anecdote becomes the object of a literary controversy. The discussion is initiated by a publication in the May issue of Drug Prosveshcheniia. It is followed by polemical replies of Severnyi Vestnik in June, Zhurnal dlia Pol’zy i Udovol’stviia in July, and Zhurnal Rossiiskoi Slovesnosti in September. The present paper traces the course of this discussion, deciphers the sub-texts, and analyses the participants’ positions. The research shows that the subject of the dispute is the nature of the anecdote as a genre. The discussion helps to outline the range of issues of its understanding: this includes the subject matter, volume, and style. During the polemics, the paradigm of genre variants is determined. In addition, this dispute acts as part of the polemic about language between the supporters of A.S. Shishkov and N.M. Karamzin, which intensifies in the summer of 1805. The article clarifies the positions of the parties on the material of this genre, demonstrating the diversity of opinions that cannot be reduced to two polar viewpoints. 

Keywords: early 19th-century Russian literature, short prose, journalism, debate “on the old and new style.”
For citation:

Trakhtenberg, L.A. “The Polemics on the Russian Anecdote in 1805.” Literaturnyi fakt, no. 2 (32), 2024, pp. 161–182. (In Russ.)

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