In the field of Russian literary studies, there is surprisingly little discussion of independent genres and their effect on the creativity of an era. This important text on the quasi-public "friendly letter" of nineteenth-century Russia addresses this deficiency, examining the tradition of familiar letter writing that developed in the early 1800s among literary circles that included such luminaries as Pushkin, Karamzin, and Turgenev, and arguing that these letters constitute a distinct literary genre.
About the Author
William Mills Todd III is Curt Hugo Reisinger Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures and professor of comparative literature at Harvard University. His books include Literature and Society in Imperial Russia: 1800-1914 and Fiction and Society in the Age of Pushkin. His articles address the theory of narrative, the sociology of literature, and nineteenth-century Russian literary culture.
Table of Contents
Transliteration AcknowledgmentsIntroductionI. The Epistolary Tradition in Europe and RussiaII. Arzamas and Its Approach to Epistolary TraditionIII. Content: Principles of SelectionIV. Characterization and CaricatureV. Literary Criticism in the Letters of ArzamasVI. Style and the Illusion of Conversational SpeechVII. Organizational Principles of the Familiar LetterVIII. The Parts of a Letter: Openings and End GamesConclusionAfterword: Beyond the Familiar Letter
AppendixI. The ArzamasiansII. N. I. Grech's Essay on Letter Writing