The Impact and Presence of the Writings of Laurence Sterne in Eighteenth-Century Russia

Lobytsyna, Maria (2001) The Impact and Presence of the Writings of Laurence Sterne in Eighteenth-Century Russia. MLitt(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

The works of Laurence Sterne have made a significant and long-lasting contribution to the literary and cultural life of Russia. The early translations of the Letters from Yorick and Eliza and A Sentimental Journey as well as the critical discussions in the Russian media of the 1770s-1790s brought Russia into the mainstream of eighteenth century politics of Sensibility. The eighteenth-century Russian translations of Sterne's Letters from Yorick to Eliza by Apukhtin (1789), Kolmakov (1793) and Karin (1795) and the first translation of A Sentimental Journey by Kolmakov (1793) reinforced the contemporary approach to questions of selfdevelopment and morality, having anticipated the interpretation of literature as the enlightenment of the heart. The impact of Stemean models was so strong, that it even had a profound effect on Catherine the Great, who responded to the idiosyncratic narrative method of Tristram Shandy and A Sentimental Journey in her Memoirs. I have devoted Chapter One to analysing Sterne in England and on the Continent. In this chapter, I highlighted the difference between English and Continental conceptions of Sterne and Stemean Sensibility and explored the general Continental reception of his works. Throughout this study I have endeavoured to explore the contemporary reaction to Sterne's work in Russia. In the second phase of my research I concentrated on the early reception to Sterne in Russia and the question of how Russian writers Karamzin and Radishchev gradually became acquainted with Sterne's works, and eventually came to accept and appreciate them, a milestone reached by ca. 1780s-1790s. In Chapter Two, Sentimental Metaphysics: Russia in the Age of Sensibility I have examined the relationship between Catherine the Great's socio-cultural strategies of the 1760s-1780s and the rise of Russian Sentimentalism. An exposition of these strategies, as reconstructed according to the Empress's private correspondence, is followed by a sketch of Sterne's audience of the age of Sensibility. The second part of my study begins with a chapter on Catherine the Great's rethinking about Sterne's ambiguous philosophy of life as a carnival in her Memoirs. The main object of Chapter Three, however, is a discussion of the camivalesque elements in Sterne's and Catherine the Great's works, emphasising the concept of Folly in relation to Bakhtin's concept of the carnival. The final Chapter Four, Sterne m the Eighteenth-Century Russian Translations, explores the relationship between the translated texts of Sterne and their originals in order to give an accurate examination of the Russian treatment of Sterne's themes. From the general themes of benevolence and compassion to specific devices and approaches, the works of Sterne provided models for many aspects of Russian intellectual and cultural development. When viewed from this perspective, it becomes evident that Sterne's fondness of the polyphonic narrative, his emphasis on an enigmatic concept of the carnival nature of human life, strikes a sympathetic chord in Russian fiction and memoir writing. In a variety of ways, the eighteenth century rethinking of Sterne's writings holds the key to fully comprehending some of the greatest achievements in Russian literature.

Item Type: Thesis (MLitt(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Additional Information: Adviser: Stephen Prickett
Keywords: British & Irish literature, Translation studies, Slavic literature
Date of Award: 2001
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2001-76181
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2019 09:15
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2019 09:15
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/76181

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