N. M. Karamzin: a Study of His Literary Career, 1783-1803

By A. G. Cross | Go to book overview

SEVEN
The Messenger of Europe
1802-1803

IN FEBRUARY 1801, Karamzin wrote to his brother, Vasilii, that he desired the advent of spring and nothing more;1 spring came and brought much more. In March Paul was assassinated and Alexander came to the throne, and Karamzin in the ode on his accession wrote: "Hearts are ready to breathe in You: / Our spirit is revived by hope. / Thus does the appearance of sweet spring / Bring with it oblivion / Of all the dark horrors of winter."2 After the gloom of Paul's reign Karamzin not unexpectedly experienced the wave of optimism which swept through Russia. F. F. Vigel' described how "everyone felt a kind of moral expansion, looks became kinder, the walk bolder, the breathing freer";3 Grech sought to characterize the change by reference to Karamzin's own sentiments: "It is impossible to describe the astonishment, joy, enthusiasm, aroused by what was in fact an unfortunate, loathsome event [ Paul's murder]. Russia breathed freely. No one thought of pretending any more. Karamzin justly remarked in his memoir on the state of Russia: 'Who was more unfortunate than Paul! Tears at his death were shed only within his family.' Not only in words but in writing, in print, particularly in poems, people expressed their joyful feelings of release from his tyranny."4

Karamzin's optimism was further sustained by personal and literary events. In April he married Elisaveta Ivanovna Protasova, the sister of Anastasia Ivanovna Pleshcheeva, his "unique, incomparable friend," the object for so long of a typical sentimental cult of the married woman;5 "Emiliia" henceforth assumed the position in his work previously occupied by "Aglaia-Nanina." Also in April new or withheld editions of his works began to appear; there was a

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N. M. Karamzin: a Study of His Literary Career, 1783-1803
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • One The Formative Years 1766-1790 1
  • Two The Moscow Journal 1791-1792 35
  • Four Sentimental Fiction 1789-1803 96
  • Five From Aglaia To The Pantheon of Russian Authors 1793-1801 143
  • Six Karamzin's Verse And Aonides 1796-1799 172
  • Seven The Messenger of Europe 1802-1803 193
  • Eight Into the Temple of History 218
  • Checklist of Original and Translated Reviews in The - Moscow Journal 233
  • Notes 243
  • Selected Bibliography 275
  • Index 295
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