Вина и гордость: эпистолярный дискурс русского дворянства и следы Декабрьского восстания


Epistolary heritage
the nineteenth century


The defeat of the Decembrist Revolt of 1825 was a critical turning point in the life and worldview of an entire generation of Russian aristocrats. The whole system of values that ruled the friendly and social relations among young intel lectuals cracked abruptly, thus leaving them with an emotional and intellectu al void. This situation concerned not only the Decembrists, who were in vari ous ways prosecuted because of their active participation in the Revolt, but even those ones who did not take part directly in it, such as the poet Aleksandr Pushkin. At that time, epistolary exchange was the main form of intimate communication in the educated class, therefore it is possible to trace deep emotional and stylistic changes in it. Mostly, these changes concern intellectu al freedom. Certain ideas became unspeakable. Intellectuals’ feelings fluctuat ed between a pride in their civic heroism and a sense of guilt or frustration that generated the concept of ‘superfluous man’. This paper will examine the stylistic and thematic strategies aiming at conveying the feelings of guilt and pride, in particular we will focus on those strategies exploited in the episto laries of Pushkin, Vil’gelm Kiukhel’beker and other men of letters connected with the Decembrist Revolt.

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