‘Сенатор’ vs. ‘Поэт’: (авто)биографическая мифология и литературная репутация И.И. Дмитриева


Autobiographic ‘double identity’
Classic poet
State official


This paper is aimed at exploring the origins and mechanisms which have contributed to the creation of Ivan Dmitriev’s autobiographic ‘double identity’ – as a Russian ‘classic’ poet and as a high ranking state official. His biography is reconstructed in light of his literary and bureaucratic achievements (Dmitriev was one of the most famous and acknowledged poets at the beginning of the 19th century and also built a successful career as a civil servant, becoming the Russian minister of justice in 1810). A crucial point in his biography occurred when his two identities came into clash, in the course of a controversy with Mikhail Kachenovskii, critic and editor of an influential literary review, the «Vestnik Evropy». This paper analyses also Dmitriev’s defensive strategies against the attacks of literary critics who combined his two different identities, which seemed to him to be mutually exclusive. An explanation of his attitude can be found in the social conventions that regulated the Russian noblemen’s norms of behavior of the time.
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