Multicultural Writers from Antiquity to 1945: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook

By Alba Amoia; Bettina L.Knapp | Go to book overview
Save to active project



Robert Bird


At the crossroads of his creative life Nikolai Karamzin described himself in 1803 as a man “who has aided the development of [Russian] language and taste, earned the flattering attention of the Russian public, and whose trifles, published in the various languages of Europe, have received positive reviews from renowned foreign authors” (Cross, 1971, 218). He viewed literature as a major conduit for Russia's legitimate entry into Europe and became the first Russian writer to achieve renown in Europe as a symbol of the new Russia. His profound understanding of cultural mechanisms later led him to concentrate on Russian literary language and Russian historiography, fields in which he laid the groundwork for the flowering of Russian culture.

Born into the family of a retired officer, he studied at a school run by a Frenchman in the provincial capital Simbirsk and at a Moscow boarding school run by a German. In 1781-84 he served in the Guards, and before his retirement he translated several minor pieces from the German. His literary career began in earnest during his five years in the Masonic Friendly Learned Society in Moscow, led by Nikolai Novikov and aimed at disseminating “wisdom, largely through ambitious publishing projects. Here Karamzin met numerous prominent cultural figures, including the poet Vasily Petrov and A.M. Kutuzov, to whom he addressed his Pis'ma russkogo puteshestvennika. He also entered into correspondence with Johann Kaspar Lavater, a Swiss sentimentalist. In 1787 he published a prose translation of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, which “marks an epoch as the first faithful translation into Russian” of Shakespeare (Cross, 1964, 93); in a preface Karamzin defended Shakespeare's nonclassical drama along the lines of contemporary German views. He also published a translation of Lessing's Emilia Galotti, several translations for the society's journal Detskoe chtenie dlia serdtsa i razuma (which he edited in 1787-1789), and several sen-


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Multicultural Writers from Antiquity to 1945: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 497

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?