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“All of Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature in 230 Pictures”

August 8, 2017

Here’s a great timeline of Russian literature in the nineteenth century from It’s in Russian, and the organizing principle seems to be at least one event per year, but more when needed. For example, 1829 gets five:

  • Griboedov killed in Tehran
  • First Russian historical novel published
  • Main bestselling novel of the 1820s and ’30s released
  • Gogol prints and burns a narrative poem from his juvenilia
  • Children’s literature appears in Russia.

The bestseller turns out to be Bulgarin’s Ivan Vyzhigin, while the historical novel is Zagoskin’s Iurii Miloslavskii, or The Russians in 1612.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that one of this blog’s favorites made the cut as a literary event:

1869 — Pisemskii creates a portrait of the “fathers” generation.

You can click on an item for more details. For example, “1861 — Tolstoi and Turgenev nearly fight a duel” gives you

Tolstoi and Turgenev get into a fight while staying at Fet’s house: they argue about whether a young lady of society (Turgenev’s daughter) who mends poor people’s clothes for philanthropic reasons is acting sincerely. The dispute almost leads to a duel, but Turgenev apologizes. Relations between the writers are strained for many years.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 9, 2017 10:52 am

    That’s delightful, thanks for posting it! I just have a couple of quibbles: “1829
    Опубликован первый русский исторический роман” is misleading; they should have added the next bit from the fuller entry, «на манер Вальтер Скотта» — «Юрий Милославский» was definitely not the first Russian historical novel, which may have been Ivan Guryanov’s Битва Задонская (1825). And I don’t like the taking of sides here:

    “1859 Тургенев снова не удерживается от заимствования чужого сюжета (теперь у Гончарова) и публикует «Дворянское гнездо», еще не зная, какой будет скандал с плагиатом.”

    I haven’t read extensively on the subject, but it’s not at all clear to me that Turgenev was at fault here; my impression is that Goncharov (like many authors) was insecure and a bit paranoid.

    • August 9, 2017 12:31 pm

      Good points. I think the makers of the timeline were definitely aiming to hold our interest with bold formulations instead of cautiously checking every claim they made or being scrupulously fair to everyone. I haven’t read that much about the Turgenev/Goncharov plagiarism controversy either, but the impression I got from an article by Melissa Frazier matches your view of the situation.

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