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

By A. G. Cross | Go to book overview

EIGHT
INTO THE TEMPLE OF HISTORY

THE YEAR 1803 was the watershed in Karamzin's career. For twenty years and particularly since 1791 he had published a steady stream of works which allowed the reading public to follow developments in his style, interests, and thought; before him lay a similar period in time, when removed from public view, he quietly devoted himself to historical research and scholarship. This was a period to be marked by one publishing event: the first eight volumes of his history in 1818. His retirement from active literary work was astutely timed; it came when his reputation was at its height and his position in the Russian literary hierarchy unchallenged. Karamzin, who had lived happily most of his life under the influence of western literature and thought, was distinctly proud of his growing reputation abroad; when he asked Murav'ev, at that time Curator of Moscow University, to petition the tsar for the position of historiographer, he characterized himself as "a man, who has aided the development of language and taste, earned the flattering attention of the Russian public, and whose trifles, published in the different languages of Europe, have brought good reviews from famous foreign authors."1 In a subsequent letter he acknowledged his debt to Richter whose "translations have made me known in Germany, England, and France,"2 translations which he had reviewed in a series of notices in the Messenger.3 A curious aspect of his English reputation is that he became known solely by his early works--his Letters and sentimental stories, despite Richter's numerous translations from the Messenger. He gained prominence later for his history, but again this was never translated into English. Translations of two essays from the Messenger did appear in English, but without acknowledgment of Karamzin's authorship.4

In 1803 the first edition of Karamzin's collected work began to appear (completed in 1804) and for the next two decades his

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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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