Online Encyclopedia

RUSSIAN

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V23, Page 922 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!
RUSSIAN LITERATURE Ivan to Kurbskiy, there is his letter to Cosmas and the brother-hood of the Cyrillian monastery on the White Lake (Bielo Ozero), in which he reproaches them for the self-indulgent lives they are leading. Other works of the 16th century are the Stepennaya Kniga, or " Book of Degrees " (or " Pedigrees "), in which historical events are grouped under the reigns of the grand-dukes, whose pedigrees are also given; and the Life of the Tsar Feodor Ivanovich (1584–98), written by the patriarch Job. To the beginning of the 17th century belongs the Chronograph of Sergius Kubasov of Tobolsk. His work extends from the creation of the world to the accession of Michael Uth Romanov, and contains interesting accounts of such centary. of the members of the Russian royal family as Kubasov had himself seen. Something of the same kind must have been the journal of Prince Mstislayskiy, which he showed the English ambassador Jerome Horsey, but which is now lost.' To the time of the first Romanovs belongs the story of the siege of Azov, a prose poem, which tells us, in an inflated style, how in 1637 a body of Cossacks triumphantly repelled the attacks of the Turks. There is also an account of the siege of the Troitza monastery by the Poles during the " Smutnoe Vremya,", or Period of Troubles, as it is called-that which deals with the adventures of the false Demetrius and the Polish invasion which followed. But all these are surpassed by the work on Russia of Gregory Karpov Kotoshikhin. He to. served in the ambassador's' office (posolskiy prikaz), s ikhin. and when called upon to give information against his colleagues fled to Poland about 1664. Thence he passed into Sweden and wrote his account of Russia under Alexis Mikhailovich at the request of Count Delagardie, the chancellor. He was executed in 1667 for slaying in a quarrel the master of the house in which he lived. The manuscript was found by Professor Soloviev of Helsingfors at Upsala and printed in 184o. The picture which Kotoshikhin draws of his native country is a sad one, and from his description, and the facts we gather from the Domostroy, we can reconstruct the Old Russia of the time before Peter the Great. Perhaps, as an .exile, Kotoshikhin allowed himself to write too bitterly. A curious work is the Uriadnik Sokolnichia Puti (" Directions for Falconry "), which was written for the use of the emperor Alexis, who, like many Russians of old time, was much addicted to' this pastime. The Serb, Yuri Krzhanich, who wrote in Russian, was the Krzha- first pan-Slavist, anticipating Kollar by one hundred attn. and fifty years or more. He wrote a critical Servian grammar (with comparison of the Russian, Polish, Croatian and White Russian), which was edited from the' manuscripts by Bodianski in 1848. For his time he had a very good insight into Slavonic philology. His pan-Slavism, however, sometimes took a form by no means practical. He went so far as to maintain that a common Slavonic language might be made for all the peoples of that race—an impossible project which has been the dream of many enthusiasts. He was banished to Siberia, and finished his grammar at Tobolsk. He also wrote a work on the Russian empire in the middle of the 17th century, completed in 1676, which was edited by Beszonov in 186o. The picture drawn, as in the corresponding production of Koto.-shikhin, is a very gloomy one. To this period belongs the life of the patriarch Nikon by Shusherin. The struggles of Nikon with the tsar, and his emendations of the sacred books, which led to a great schism in Russia, are well known. They have been made familiar to Englishmen by the eloquent pages of the late Dean Stanley.2 From this revision may be dated the rise of the Raskolniks (Dissenters) or Staro-obriadtsi pofotzkL (those who adhere to the old ritual). With Simeon Polotzki (Polotskiy) (1628–168o) the old period of Russian ' Horsey says: " I read in their cronickells written and kept in secreat by a great priem prince of that country named Knee Ivan Fedorowich Mistisloskoie, who, owt of his love and favour, imparted unto me many sect-eats observed in the memory and prods of his tyme, which was fowerscore years, of the state, natur, and government of that comonweelth. years, Russia at the Close of the Sixteenth Century (H'akluytSociety, 1856). 2 Lectures on the Eastern Church. anachronisms. The third is altogether poetical. The Poviest o Drakule (" Story of Drakula ") is a collection of anecdotes relating to a cruel prince of Walachia who lived in the 15th century. (See RUMANIA, History.) Several of the barbarities described in it have also been assigned to Ivan the Terrible. The early Russian laws present many features of interest, such as the Russkaya Pravda of Yaroslav, which is preserved in the chronicle of Novgorod; the date is between 1018 and codes of 1054• The laws show Russia at that time to have taws. been in civilization quite on a level with the rest of Europe. But the evil influence of the Mongols was soon to make itself felt. The next important code is the Sudebnik of Ivan III., the date of which is 1497; this was followed by that of Ivan IV. of the year 1550, in which we have a republication by the tsar of his grand-father's laws, with additions. In the time of this emperor also was issued the Stoglav (1551), a body of ecclesiastical regulations. Mention must also be made of the Ulozhenie or " Ordinance " of the tsar Alexis. This abounds with enactments of sanguinary punishment: women are buried alive for murdering their husbands; torture is recognized as a means of procuring evidence; and the knout and mutilation are mentioned on almost every page. Some of the penalties are whimsical: for instance, the man who uses tobacco is to have his nose cut off; this was altered by Peter the Great, who himself practised the habit and encouraged it in others. In 1553 a printing press was established at Moscow, and in 1564 the first book was printed, an " Apostol," as it introdac- is called, i.e. a book containing the Acts of the Apostles Lion of and the Epistles. The printers were Ivan Feodorov printing' and Peter Timofieiev; a monument has been erected to the memory of the former. As early as 1548 Ivan had invited printers to Russia, but they were detained on their journey. Feodorov and his companions were soon, however, compelled to leave Russia, and found a protector in Sigismund III. The cause appears to have been the enmity of the copyists of books, who succeeded in drawing over to their side the more fanatical priests. The first Slavonic Bible was printed at Ostrog in Volhynia in r581. Another press, however, was soon established at Moscow; up to 1600 sixteen books had been issued there. A curious work of the time of Ivan the Terrible is the Domostroy, or " Book of Household Management," which is Time of said to have been written by the monk Sylvester. Ivan the This priest was at one time very influential with Terrible. Ivan, but ultimately was banished to the Solovetskoy monastery on the White Sea. The work was originally intended by Sylvester for his son Anthemius and his daughter-in-law Pelagia, but it soon became very popular. We have a faithful picture of the Russia of the time, with all its barbarisms and ignorance. We see the unbounded authority of the husband in his own household: he may inflict personal chastisement upon his wife; and her chief duty lies in ministering to his wants. To the reign of Ivan the Terrible must also be assigned the Chetii-Minei or " Book of Monthly Readings," containing extracts from the Greek fathers, arranged for every day of the week. The work was compiled by the metropolitan Macarius, and was the labour of twelve years. An important writer of the same period was Prince Andrew Kurbskiy, descended from the sovereigns of Yaroslavl, who was born about 1528. In his early days Kurbskiy saw a great deal of service, having fought at Kazan and in Livonia. But he quarrelled with Ivan, who had begun to persecute the followers of Sylvester and Adashev, and fled to Lithuania in 1563, where he was well received by Sigismund Augustus. From his retreat he commenced a correspondence with Ivan, in which he reproached him for his many cruelties. Ivan in his answer declared that he was quite justified in taking the lives of his slaves if he thought it right to do so. Kurbskiy died in exile in 1583. He also wrote a life of Ivan, but Bestuzhev Riumin thinks that his hatred of Ivan led him to exaggerate, and he regrets that Karamzin should have followed him so closely. Besides the answers of literature may be closed. He • was tutor to the tsar Feodor, son of Alexis, and may be said to have helped to intro-duce the culture of the West into Russia, as he was educated at Kiev, then a portion of Polish territory. Polotzki came to Moscow about 1664. He wrote religious works (Vienets Vicry, " The Garland of Faith "), and composed poems and religious dramas (The Prodigal Son, Nebuchadnezzar, &c.). He has left us some droll verses on the tsar's new palace of Kolomenskoe, which are very curious doggerel. The artificial lions that roared, moved their eyes, and walked especially delighted him. There does not seem to be any ground for the assertion (often met with even in Russian writers) that Sophia, the sister of Peter the Great, was acquainted with French, and translated some of the plays of Moliere. And now all things were to be changed. Russia was to adopt the forms of literature in use in the West. One of the The chief helpers of Peter the Great in the education of modern the people was Feofane (Theophanes) Procopovich period. (1681-1736), author of the Ecclesiastical Regulations and some plays, who advocated the cause of science; the old school was defended by Stephen Yavorskiy (1658-1722), whose Rock of Faith was written to refute the Lutherans and Calvinists. Another remarkable writer of the times of Peter the Great was Pososhkov (b. 1673), a peasant by birth, who produced a valuable work on Poverty and' Riches. Antiokh Kantemir (1708-1744), son of a former hospodar of Moldavia, wrote some clever satires still read; they are imitated from Boileau. He also translated parts of Horace. Besides his satires, he published versions of Fontenelle's Pluralite des Mondes and the histories of Justin and Cornelius Nepos. He was for some time Russian ambassador at the courts of London and Paris. But more celebrated than these men was writer of verse and prose, and has left odes, tragedies, didactic poetry, essays and fragments of epics. Vassilii Tatistchev (1686-1750) was the author of a Russian history which is interesting as the first attempt in that field. He was disgraced for peculation, and died at Astrakhan, as governor, in 1750. His work was not given to the world till after his death. There had been a slight sketch published before by Khilkov, entitled the Marrow Tredia- of Russian History. Basil Trediakovski (1703-1769) was kovskl born at Astrakhan, and we are told that Peter, passing through that city at the time of his Persian expedition, had Trediakovski pointed out to him as one of the most promising boys of the school there. Whereupon, having questioned him, the tsar said, with truly prophetic insight, " A busy worker, but master of nothing." His Telemakhida, a poem in which he versified the Tilemaque of Fenelon, drew upon him the derision of the wits of the time. He had frequently to endure the rough horse-play of the courtiers, for the position of a literary man at that time in Russia was not altogether a cheerful one. His services, however, to the Russian language were great. From the commencement of the reign of Elizabeth Russian literature made great progress, the French furnishing models. Sumaro- kov. Alexander Sumarokov (1718-1777) wrote prose and verse in abundance—comedies, tragedies, idyls, satires and epigrams. He is, perhaps, best entitled to remembrance for his plays, which are rhymed, and in the French style. His Dmitri Samozvanets (" Demetrius the Pretender ") is certainly not Knlazh- without merit. Some of the pieces of Kniazhnin had nln. great success in their time, such as The Chatterbox, The Originals and especially The Fatal Carriage. He is now almost forgotten. In 1756 the first theatre was opened at St Petersburg, the director being Sumarokov. Up to this time the Russians had acted only religious plays, such as those written by Simeon Polotzki. The reign of Catherine II. (1762-96), herself a voluminous writer, saw the rise of a whole generation of court poets. Everything in Russia was to be forced like plants in a hot-house; she was to have Homers, Pindars, Horaces and Virgils. Michael Kheraskov (1733-1807) wrote besides other poems two enormous epics—the Rossiada in twelve books, and Vladimir in eighteen; they are now but little read. Hippolitus Bogdanovich (1743-1803) wrote a pretty lyric piece, Dushenka, based upon La Fontaine, and telling the old story of the loves of Cupid and Psyche. With Ivan Khemnitzer begins the long list of fabulists; this half-oriental form of literature, so common in countries ruled absolutely, has been very popular in Russia. Khemnitzer (1744-1784), whose name seems to imply a German origin, began by translating the fables of Gellert, but afterwards produced original at Moscow (1744-1792). His best production is Nedorosl Visin. (" The Minor "), in which he satirizes the coarse features of Russian society, the ill-treatment of the serfs, and other matters. He saw France on the eve of the great Revolution, and has well described what he did see. Russian as he was, and accustomed to serfdom, he was yet astonished at the wretched condition of the French peasants. The great poet of the age of Catherine, the laureate of her glories, was Gabriel Derzhavin (1743-1816). He Der- essayed many styles of composition, and was a great zhavin. master of his native language. There is something grandiose and organ-like in his high-sounding verses; unfortunately he occasionally degenerates into bombast. His versification is perfect; and he had the courage to write satirically of many persons of high rank. His Ode to God is the best known of his poems in Western countries. He was a student of Ossian, and of Edward Young, the author of the Night Thoughts. Other celebrated poems of Derzhavin are Felitza, Odes on the Death of Prince Mestcherskiy, The Nobleman, The Taking of Ismail, and The Taking of Warsaw. His Memoirs were published in 1857. An unfortunate author of the days of Catherine was Alexander Radistchev (1749-1802), who, having, in a small work, A Journey to St Petersburg and Moscow, spoken too severely of the twist. miserable condition of the serfs, was punished by banish- ment to Siberia, from which he was afterwards allowed to return, but not till his health had been permanently injured by his sufferings. An equally sad fate befell the spirited writer Nicholas Novikov (1744-1818), who, after having worked hard as a Novikov. journalist, and done much for education in Russia, fell under the suspicion of the government, and was imprisoned by Catherine. On her death he was released by her successor. The short reign of Paul was not favourable to literary production; the censorship of the press was extremely severe, and many foreign books were excluded from Russia. But a better state of things came with the reign of Alexander, one of the glories of whose day was Nicholai Karamzin (q.v.). His chief work is his History of the Russian Empire, but he Karam-appeared in the fourfold aspect of historian, novelist, essayist and poet. Nor need we do more than mention the celebrated Archbishop Platon (q.v.). Ivan Dmitriev Platon. (176o-1837) wrote some pleasing lyrics and epistles, Dmitrlev. but without much force. He appears from his trans- lations to have been well acquainted with the English poets. Ozerov (1769-1816) wrote a great many tragedies, which Ozerov. are but little read now. They are in rhyming alex- andrines. He occasionally handled native subjects with success, as in his Dmitri Donskoy (1807) and Yaropolk and Oleg (1798). In Ivan Kriloff (q.v.) the Russians found their most Krlloff. genial fabulist. As Derzhavin was the poet of the age of Catherine, so Vasilii Zhukovskiy (1783-1852) may be Zhuk- said to have been that of the age of Alexander. He is ovskiy. more remarkable, however, as a translator than as an original poet. With him Romanticism began in Russia. He became reader to the empress and afterwards tutor to her children. In 1802 he published his version of Gray's Elegy, which at once became a highly popular poem in Russia. Zhukovskiy translated many pieces from the German (Goethe, Schiller, Uhland) and English (Byron, Moore, Southey). One of his original productions, "The Poet in the Camp of the Russian Warriors," was on the lips of every one at the time of the War of the Fatnerland (Otechestvennaia Voina) in 1812. He produced versions of the episode of Nala and Damayanti from the Mahabharata, of Rustum and Zohrab from the Shah-Namah, and of a part of the Odyssey. In the case of these three masterpieces, however, he was obliged to work from literal translations (mostly German), as he was unacquainted with the original languages. The Iliad was translated during this period by Gnedich, who was familiar Qnedch with Greek. He has produced a faithful and spirited version, and has naturalized the hexameter in the Russian language with much skill. Constantine Batiushkov (1787-1855) Bail-was the author of many elegant poems, and at the outset ushkov. of his career promised much, but sank into imbecility, and lived in this condition to an advanced age. Merzliakov and Tziganov deserve a passing notice as the writers of songs some of which still keep their popularity. During his short life (1799-1837) Alexander Pushkin produced many celebrated poems, Pushkin. which will be found enumerated in the article devoted Oriboyeto him (see Pusxxus). In Alexander Griboyedov (1795- dov. 1829) (q.v.) the Russians saw the writer of one of their most clever comedies (Gore of Uma), which may perhaps be translated " The Misfortune of being Too Clever " (lit. " Grief out of Wit "). Ivan Kozlov (1774-1838) was author of some Kozkw. pretty original lyrics, and some translations from the English, among others Burns's Cottar's Saturday Night. He became a cripple and blind, and his misfortunes elicited some cheering and sympathetic lines from Pushkin, which will always be read with pleasure. Pushkin found a successor in Michael Lermontov (q.v.), who Lomono- Michael Lomonosov (q.v.). He was an indefatigable sot, Kheraskov. Bogdanovich. Khemnitzer. specimens. A writer of real national comedy appeared in Denis von Visin, probably of German extraction, but born has left us many exquisite lyrics. A genuine bard of the people, Lennon. And one of their most truly national authors, was Alexis toy. Koltsov (1809-1842), the son of a tallow merchant of Voronezh. He has left us a few exquisite lyrics, which Koltsov• are to be found in all the collections of Russian poetry. He died of consumption after a protracted illness. Another poet who much resembled Koltsov was Ivan Nikitin (1826-Nikttin. 1861), born in the same town, Voronezh. His best poem was Kulak. Nikitin, to support his relations, was obliged to keep an inn; this he was afterwards enabled to change for the more congenial occupation of a bookseller. The novel in Russia has had its cultivators in Zagoskin and Lazhechnikov, who imitated Zagoskin. Sir Walter Scott. The most celebrated of the romances Zag of Zagoskin was Yuri Miloslayskiy, a tale of the expulsion of the Poles from Russia in 1612. The book may even yet be read with interest: it gives a very spirited picture of the times; unfortunately, a gloss is put upon the barbarity of the manners of the period. Among the better known productions of Lazhechnikov are The Heretic and The Palace of Ice. A flashy but now forgotten writer of novels was Thaddeus Bulgarin (1789-1859) author of Ivan Vyshigin, a work which once enjoyed considerable popularity. The first Russian novelist of great and original talent was Nicholai Gogol (1809-1852) (q.v.). In his Dead Souls he satirized all classes of society, some of the portraits being wonder- fully vivid. Being a native of Little Russia, he describes its scenery and the habits of the people, especially in such stories as the Old-Fashioned Household, or in the more powerful Taras Bulba. This last is a highly wrought story, giving us a picture of the savage warfare carried on between the Cossacks and Poles. Gogol was also the author of a good comedy, The Reviser, wherein the petty pilferings of Russian municipal authorities are satirized. In his Memoirs of a Madman and Portrait, he shows a weird and fantastic power which proves him to have been a man of strong imagination. The same may be said of The Cloak, and the curious tale Vii (" The Demon "), where he gives us a picture of Kiev in the old days. In the field of fiction Gogol had various famous successors, concerning whom details will be found in separate articles. It must suffice here to enumerate Alexander Herzen (d. 1869) ; Later Ivan Goncharov (1812-1891); Dmitri Grigorovich (i 822-novelists. 1899), author of The Fisherman and The Emigrants; Alexis Pisemskiy (1822-1900) ; Michael Saltikov (1826-1889) ; Feodor Dostoievskiy (1821-1881); Alexander Ostrovskiy (1823-1886); Feodor Rieshetnikov (1841-1871); Count A. Tolstoy (1817-1875), also famous as a dramatist; and greater than all these Ivan Turgeniev (1819-1883), and Count L. Tolstoy (1828-191o), the last of whom ranks as much more than a man of letters. In Vissarion Belinski the Russians produced their best critic. For thirteen years (1834-47) he was the Aristarchus of Russian literature and exercised a healthy influence. In his later days he addressed a withering epistle to Gogol on the newly adopted reactionary views of the latter. Since the time of Karamzin the study of Russian history has made great strides. He was followed by Nicholas Polevoy (1775- Hls- 1842), who wrote what he called the History of the Russian torians. People (6 vols., 1829-33), but. his work was not received with much favour. Polevoy was a self-educated man, the son of a Siberian merchant ; besides editing a well-known Russian journal, The Telegraph (suppressed in 1834), he was also the author of many plays, among others a translation of Hamlet. Since his time, however, the English dramatist has been produced in a more perfect dress by Kroneberg, Druzhinin and others. Sergius Soloviev (1820-1879) was the author of a History of Russia which may be described rather as a quarry of materials-for future historians of Russia than an actual history. In 1885 died N. Kostomarov, the writer of many valuable monographs, of which those on Bogdan Khmelnitskiy and the False Demetrius deserve special mention. From 1847 to 1854 Kostomarov, whose interest in the history of Little Russia and its literature made him suspected of separatist views, wrote nothing, having been banished to Saratov, and forbidden to teach or publish. But after this time his literary activity began again, and, besides separate works, the leading Russian reviews, such as Old and New Russia, The Historical Messenger, and The Messenger of Europe, contained many contributions from his pen of the highest value. Constantine Kavelin (1818-1855) was the author of many valuable works on Russian law, and Kalatchev published a classical edition of the old Russian codes. Ilovaiskiy and Gedeonov attempted to upset the general belief that the founders of the Russian empire were Scandinavians. A good history of Russia (1855) was published by N. Ustrialov, but his most celebrated work was his Tzarstvovanie Petra Velikago (" Reign of Peter the Great ") ; in this many important documents first saw the light, and the circumstances of the death of the unfortunate Alexis were made clear. Russian writers of history have not generally occupied themselves with any other subject than that of their own country, but an exception may be found in the writings of Timofei Granovskiy (1813-1855), such as Abbe Suger (1849) and Four Historical Portraits (1850). So also Kudriav-tsov, who died in 185o, wrote on " The Fortunes of Italy, from the Fall of the Roman Empire of the West till its Reconstruction by Charlemagne." He also wrote on " The Roman Women as described by Tacitus." We may add Kareyev, professor at Warsaw, who wrote on the condition of the French peasantry before the Revolution. Other writers on Russian history have been H. Pogodine (d. 1873), who compiled a History of Russia till the Invasion of the Mongols (1871), and especially I. Zabielin, who has written a History of Russian Life from the most Remote Times (1876), and the Private Lives of i he Czarinas and Czars (1869 and 1872) and a History of Moscow. Leshkov has written a History of Russian Law to the r8th Century, and Tchitcherin a History of Provincial Institutions in Russia in the 17th Century (1856). To these must be added the work of Zagoskin, History of Law in the State of Muscovy (Kazan, 1877). Professor Michael Kovalevskiy, of the university of Moscow, wrote an excellent work on Communal Land Tenure, in which he investigates the remains of this custom throughout the world. In 1885 Dubrovin published an excellent history of the revolt of Pugachev. The valuable work by Alexander Pypin (b. 1833) and Vladimir Spasovich, History of Slavonic Literatures, is the most complete account of the subject, and has been made more generally accessible by the German translation of Pech. N. Tikhonravov (1832-1893) wrote a Chronicle of Russian Literature and Antiquities (5 vols., 1859-61). The History of Slavonic Literature by Schafarik, published in 1826, has long been antiquated. A history of Russian literature by Paul Polevoy has appeared, which has gone through two editions. The account of the Polish rebellion of 1863 by Berg, published in 1873, which gave many startling and picturesque episodes of the celebrated struggle, was withdrawn from circulation. It appeared originally in the pages of the Russian magazine Starina. Nicholas Nekrasov, who died in 1877, left six volumes of poetry which in many respects remind us of the writings of Crabbe; the poet is of that realistic school in which Russian authors poets. so much resemble English. Another writer of poetry deserving mention is Ogariev, for a long time the companion in exile of Herzen in England; many of his compositions appeared in the Polar Star of the latter, which contains the interesting autobiographical sketches of Herzen, entitled Byloe i Dumi (" The Past and my Thoughts "). Apollon Maikov 1821-1847) at one time enjoyed great popularity as a poet; he is a kind of link with Pushkin, of whose elegance of versification he is an imitator. Another poet of a past generation was Prince Viazemskiy (1792-1878). Graceful lyrics were written by Mei, Fet (whose name would apparently prove Dutch extraction, Veth), Stcherbina, and, going a little further back, Yazykov, the friend of Pushkin, and Khomiakov, celebrated for his Slavophile propensities. To these may be added Mdlle Zhadovskaya, Benediktov, Podolinskiy and Tiutchev. Polonskiy (1820-1898) contributed exquisite lyrics to the Viestnik Yevropi. Excellent works on subjects connected with Slavonic philology have been published by Vostokov, who edited the Ostromir Codex, and Sreznevskiy and Bodianskiy, who put forth an edition p6iloof the celebrated codex used at Reims for the coronation of the French kings. After their deaths their work was logists. carried on by Professor Grot (Philological Investigations, also many critical editions of Russian classics), Budilovich, professor at Warsaw, Potebnya of Kharkov, and Baudoin de Courtenay, who, among other services to philology, has described the Slavonic dialect spoken by the Resanians, a tribe living in Italy, in two villages of the Julian Alps. The songs (byliny) of the Russians have been collected by Zakrevskiy, Rybnikov, Hilferding, Barsov and others, and their national tales by Sakharov, Afanasiev and Erlenvein. Kotliarevskiy, Tereshenko and others have treated of their customs and superstitions. S. Stanislaus Mikutskiy, professor at the university of Warsaw, has published his Materials for a Dictionary of the Roots of the Russian and all Slavonic Dialects, but it represents a somewhat obsolete school of philology. The Early Russian Text Society continues its useful labours, and has edited many interesting monuments of the older Slavonic literature. Two valuable codices have been printed in Russia, Zographus and Marianus, interesting versions of the Gospels in Palaeoslavonic. They were edited by the learned Croat Jagic, who occupied the chair of Sreznevskiy in St Petersburg. An excellent Tolkovi Slovar Velikorusskago Yazika (" Explanatory Dictionary of the Great Russian Language ") was compiled by Vladimir Dahl. Alexander Hilferding published some valuable works on ethnology and philology, among others on the Polabs, an extinct Slavonic tribe who once dwelt on the banks of the Elbe. The Russians have not exhibited many works in the field of classical or other branches of philology. Exception, however, must be made of the studies of Tchubinov in Georgian, Minayev in the Indian and Tsvetayev in the old languages of Italy. In moral and mental philosophy the Russians have produced but few authors. We meet with some good mathematicians, Lobachevskiy among others, and in natural science the publications of the Society for Natural History at Moscow have attracted considerable attention. Recent Literature.—The death of Nekrasov in 1877 deprived Russia of her most eminent poet since the days of Pushkin and Lermontov. During the last generation of the 19th century most of the Titans of her literature departed, and cannot be said to have left successors of equal merit. Dostoievskiy, Pisemskiy, Turgeniev, Goncharov, Ostrovskiy and Saltikov followed each other to the grave in rapid succession. Leo Tolstoy alone remained, a veritable patriarch, whose views on life gave him a world-interest beyond even the contributions of his great prose fiction. In 1895 Apukhtin, author of many graceful lyrics, died; in 1897 Apollon Maikov, and soon afterwards Polonskiy. These men were well known throughout Russia. A new school of poets has sprung up, consisting for the most part of the so-called decadents and symbolists. Among them may be mentioned A. Korinfskiy; Ivan Bunin, who has published an excellent translation of Longfellow's Hiawatha; and Constantine Balmont. The last of these has given to the public several volumes of lyrics, many of which exhibit a graceful imagination. He has been a successful translator of Shelley, and of Edgar Allan Poe, Ibsen and Calderon. We must also mention V. Briusov and K. Sluchevskiy, Mme. Gippius-Merezhkovskaya and Mme. Myrrha Lokhvitskaya. Excellent historical novels have been written by Merezhkovskiy (Merejkovsky (q.v.)). The drama is not in a flourishing condition. Very little of merit has been produced since the great trilogy (1866-69) of Alexis Tolstoy dealing with the reign of Ivan the Terrible—full of picturesque horrors for the dramatist—and the bourgeois comedies of Ostrovskiy. If we turn to history, in which the Russians have always shown considerable talent, we can cite some really good work. We cannot here find room to discuss the memoirs and other documents which appear in the Russian Antiquary (Russkaya Starina), the Historical Messenger (Istoricheskiy Viestnik) and other journals, the name of which is legion. In 1897 Professor Bestuzhev-Riumin, of the university of St Petersburg, died. He had held his chair of history since 1865. His valuable History of Russia must now remain a torso only, the first volume and the first half of the second having alone appeared. Soloviev and Kostomarov are dead. The famous school of Russian historians is thus almost extinct. But some excellent writers in this department have come to the front. Professor Miliukov has started his Sketches of the History of Russian Culture (Ocherki po istorii russkoi kulturi), which has been much read. Professor Bilbasov wrote a History of Catherine II. and N. Shilder a Life of Alexander I. D. Evarnitskiy has added a third volume to his interesting work on the Zaporozhian Cossacks. The Russians have always enjoyed a considerable reputation as memoir-writers, and the Recollections of Mme. Smirnov, which first appeared in the Northern Messenger (Sieverny Viestnik), proved very interesting. Pushkin appears here before us in the most minute details of his everyday life. The centenary of his birth (1899) was signalized by the publication of many interesting monographs on his strange career. The details furnished by his nephew, L. Pavlistchev, were especially noteworthy. The second volume appeared of the classical History of the Russian Church, by E. Golubinskiy. A valuable contribution to early Russian history was furnished by the Legal Antiquities (Yuridicheskia Drevnosti). of V. Serguievich, by which quite a new light has been thrown upon the Russian sobor. The well-known savant, Maxime Kovalevskiy, published the second volume of his Economic Development of Europe to the Rise of Capitalism. N. Rozhkov wrote an important work entitled Village Economy in Muscovy in the Sixteenth Century. This book analyses the conditions under which economic production was developed in Old Russia. S. Platonov published a History of the Insurrections in Russia in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. He holds entirely new views on the oprichina, the famous bodyguard of Ivan the Terrible. Professor B. Kliuchevskiy, of the university of Moscow, published in 1883 a valuable book on the Russian Duma, as the privy council of the emperors was called, and in 1899 he issued his Aids to Lectures on Russian History. Russian writers have not often devoted them-selves to the political and social conditions of other countries, but an exception must be made in the case of the books by Professor Vinogradov, formerly of Moscow, notably his Investigations into the Social History of England in the Middle Ages (1887). The learned author, who was called to Oxford as Corpus professor of jurisprudence, also prepared an edition of this work for the English public. In fiction no new writers appeared of equal calibre to Gogol, Turgeniev, Dostoievskiy and Tolstoy. But A. Chekhov showed considerable power in his short stories. Some of the tales of Gorki (q.v.), Ertel and Yasinskiy are also of great merit. The brilliant Garshin died insane in 1888. A few words must be said on the literature of the Russian dialects, the Little and White Russian. The Little Russian is rich in skazki The Little (tales) and songs. Peculiar to them is the duma, a narra- tive poem which corresponds in many particulars with the Russian Russian bylines. Since the commencement of the 19th or leea/o- century, the Little Russian dumy have been repeatedly Russian. edited, as by Maksimovich Metlinskiy and others, and an elaborate edition was undertaken by Dragomanov and Antonovich. Just as the byliny of the Great Russians, so also these dumy of the Little Russians admit of classification, and they have been divided by their latest editors as follows: (1) the songs of the druzhina, treating of the early princes and their followers; (2) the Cossack period (Kozachestvo), in which the Cossacks arefound in continual warfare with the Polish pans and the attempts of the Jesuits to introduce the Roman Catholic religion; (3) the period of the Haidamaks, who formed the nucleus of the national party, and prolonged the struggle. The foundation of the Little Russian literature (written, as opposed to the oral) was laid by Ivan Kotliarevskiy (1769-1838), whose travesty of part of the Aeneid enjoys great popularity among some of his countrymen. Others, however, object to it as tending to bring the language or dialect into ridicule. A truly national poet appeared in Taras Shevchenko, born at the village of Kirilovka, in the government of Kiev, in the condition of a serf. The strange adventures of his early life he has told us in his autobiography. He did not get his freedom till some time after he had reached manhood, when he was purchased from his master by the generous efforts of the poet Zhukovskiy and others. Besides poetry, he occupied himself with painting, with considerable success. He unfortunately became obnoxious to the government, and was punished with exile to Siberia from 1847 to 1857. He did not long survive his return, dying in 1861, aged forty-six. No one has described with greater vigour than Shevchenko the old days of the Ukraine. In his youth he listened to the village traditions handed down by the priests, and he has faithfully reproduced them. In the powerful poem entitled Haidamak we have a graphic picture of the horrors enacted by Gonta and his followers at Uman. The funeral of the poet was a vast public procession; a great cairn, surmounted with a cross, was raised over his remains, where he lies buried near Kaniov on the banks of the Dnieper. His grave has been styled the " Mecca of the South Russian Revolutionists." A complete edition of his works, with interesting biographical notices—one contributed by the novelist Turgeniev—appeared at Prague in 1876. Besides the national songs, excellent collections of the South Russian folk-tales have appeared, edited by Dragomanov, Rudchenko, and others. Many of these are still recited by the tchumaki, or wandering pedlars. A valuable work is the Zapiski o Yuzhnoy Rossii (" Papers on Southern Russia "), published at St Petersburg in 1857 by Panteleimon Kulish. After he got into trouble (with Kostomarov and Shevchenko) for his political views, the late works of this author show him to have undergone a complete change. Other writers using the Little Russian language are Marko-Vovchok (that is, Madame Eugenia Markovich) and Yuri Fedkovich, who employs a dialect of Bukovina. Fedkovich, like Shevchenko, sprang from a peasant family, and served as a soldier in the Austrian army against the French during the Italian campaign. Naturally we find his poems filled with descriptions of life in the camp. Like the Croat Preradovie, he began writing poetry in the German language, till he was turned into more natural paths by some patriotic friends. A collection of songs of Bukovina was published at Kiev in 1875 by Lonachevskiy. Eugene Zelechovskiy compiled a valuable Dictionary of Little Russian. There is a good grammar by Osadtsa, a pupil of Miklosich. In the White Russian dialect are to be found only a few songs, with the exception of portions of the Scriptures and some legal documents. A valuable dictionary has been published white by Nosovich, but this is one of the most neglected of the Russian Russian dialects. Collections of White Russian songs have dialect. been published by Shein and others. RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR, 1904-5. The seizure by Russia of the Chinese fortress of Port Arthur, which she had a few years previously, in concert with other powers, compelled Japan to relinquish, was from the Russian point of view the logical outcome of her eastward expansion and her need for an ice-free harbour on the Pacific. The extension of the Trans-Siberian railway through Manchuria to Port Arthur and a large measure of influence in Manchuria followed equally naturally. But the whole course of this expansion had been watched with suspicion by Japan, from the time of the Saghalien incident of 1875, when the island power, then barely emerging from the feudal age, had to cede her half of the island to Russia, to the Shimonoseki treaty of 1895, when the powers compelled her to forego the profits of her victory over China. The subsequent occupation of Port Arthur and other Chinese harbours by European powers, and the evident intention of consolidating Russian influence in Manchuria, were again and again the subject of Japanese representations at St Petersburg, and these representations became more vigorous when, in 1903, Russia seemed to be about to, extend her Manchurian policy into Korea. No less than ten draft treaties were discussed in vain between August 1903 and February 1904, and finally negotiations were broken off on February sth.l Japan had already on the 4th decided to use force, and her military and naval preparations, unlike those of Russia, kept pace with her diplomacy. This was in fact an eventuality which had been foreseen and on which the naval and military policy of Japan had been based for ten years. She too had her projects of expansion and hegemony, and by the Chino-Japanese War she had gained a start over her rival. The reply of the Western powers was first to compel the victor to maintain the territorial integrity of China, and then within two years to establish themselves in Chinese harbours. From that moment Japanese policy was directed towards establishing her own hegemony and meeting the advance of Russia with a fait accompli. But her armaments were not then adequate to give effect to a strong-handed policy, so that for some years thereafter the government had both to impose heavy burdens on the people and to pursue a foreign policy of marking time, and endured the fiercest criticism on both counts, for the idea of war with Russia was as popular as the taxes necessary to that object were detested. But as the army and the navy grew year by year, the tone of Japanese policy became firmer. In 1902 her position was strengthened by the alliance with England; in 1903 her army, though in the event it proved almost too small, was considered by the military authorities as sufficiently numerous and well prepared, and the arguments of the Japanese diplomatists stiffened with menaces. Russia, on the other hand, was divided in policy and consequently in military intentions and preparations. In some quarters the force of the new Japanese army was well understood, and the estimates of the balance of military power formed by the minister of war, Kuropatkin, coincided so remarkably with the facts that at the end of the summer of 1903 he saw that the moment had come when the preponderance was on the side of the Japanese. He therefore proposed to abandon Russian projects in southern Manchuria and the Port Arthur region and to restore Port Arthur to China in return for considerable con-cessions on the side of Vladivostok. His plan was accepted, but " a lateral influence suddenly made itself felt, and the completely unexpected result was war." Large commercial interests were in fact involved in the forward policy, " the period of heavy capital expenditure was over, that of profits about to commence," and the power and intentions of Japan were ignored or misunderstood. Further, Dragomirov, a higher military authority even than Kuropatkin, declared that " Far Eastern affairs were decided in Europe." Thus Russia entered upon the war both unprepared in a military sense, and almost entirely in-different to its causes and its objects. To the guards and patrols of the Manchurian railway and the garrisons of Port Arthur and Vladivostok, 8o,000 in all, Japan could, in consequence of her recruiting law of 1896, oppose a first-line army of some 270,000 trained men. Behind these, however, there were scarcely 200,000 trained men of the older classes, and at the other end of the long Trans-Siberian railway Russia had almost limitless resources.' The strategical problem for japan was, how to strike a blow sufficiently decisive to secure her object, before the at present insignificant forces of the East Siberian army were augmented to the point of being unassailable. It turned, therefore, principally upon the efficiency of the Trans-Siberian rail-way and in calculating this the Japanese made a serious under-estimate. In consequence, far from applying the " universal service " principle to its full extent, they trained only one-fifth of the annual contingent of men found fit for service. The quality of the army, thus composed of picked men (a point which is often forgotten), approximated to that of a professional force; but this policy had the result that, as there was no adequate second-line army, parts of the first-line had to be reserved, instead of being employed at the front. And when for want of these active troops the first great victory proved indecisive, ' Belated declarations of war appeared on the loth. 2 The total Russian army on a peace footing is almost 1,000,000 strong.half-trained elements had to be sent to the front in considerable numbers—indeed the ration strength of the army was actually trebled. The aim of the war, " limited " in so far that the Japanese never deluded themselves with dreams of attacking Russia at home, was to win such victories as would establish the integrity of Japan herself and place her hegemony in the Far East beyond challenge. Now the integrity of Obfee- Japan was worth little if the Russians could hope tines of ultimately to invade her in superior force, and as the Port Arthur was the station of the fleet that might Japanese convoy an invasion, as well as the symbol of the attack. longed-for hegemony, the fortress was necessarily the army's first objective, a convincing Sedan was the next. For the navy, which had materially only a narrow margin of superiority over the Russian Pacific Squadron, the object was to keep the two halves of that squadron, at Port Arthur and Vladivostok respectively, separate and to destroy them in detail. But in February weather these objects could not be pursued simultaneously. Prior to the break-up of the ice, the army could only disembark at Chemulpo, far from the objective, or at Dalny under the very eyes of its defenders. The army could therefore, for the moment, only occupy Korea and try to draw upon itself hostile forces that would otherwise be available to assist Port Arthur when the land attack opened. For the navy, instant action was imperative. On the 8th of February the main battle-fleet, commanded by Vice-Admiral Togo, was on the way to Port Arthur. During the night his torpedo-boats surprised the Russian squadron in harbour and inflicted serious losses, and later in the day the battleships engaged the coast batteries. Repulsed in this attempt, the Japanese established a stringent blockade, which tried the endurance of the ships and the men to the utmost. From time to time the torpedo-craft tried to run in past the batteries, several attempts were made to block the harbour entrance by sinking vessels in the fair-way, and free and deadly use was made by both sides of submarine mines. But, though not destroyed,- the Port Arthur squadron was paralysed by the instantaneous assertion of naval superiority. Admiral Alexeiev, the tsar's viceroy in the Far East and the evil genius of the war, was at Port Arthur and forbade the navy to take the risks of proceeding to sea.' For a time, when in place of Admiral Starck (who was held responsible for the surprise of February), Admiral Makarov, an officer of European reputation, commanded the fleet, this lethargy was shaken off. The new commander took his ships to sea every day. But his energetic leadership was soon ended by a tragedy. A field of electro-mechanical mines was laid by the Japanese Mak6ro, in the night of April 12th-13th, and on the following at port day the Japanese cruisers stood inshore to tempt Arthur. the enemy on to the mine-field. Makarov, however, crossed it without accident, and pursued the cruisers until Togo's battle-fleet appeared, whereupon he went about and steamed for port. In doing so he recrossed the mine-field, and this time the mines were effectual. The flagship " Petropavlovsk " was struck and went down with the admiral and 600 men, and another battleship was seriously injured. Then the advocates of passivity regained the upper hand and kept the squadron in harbour, and henceforward for many months the Japanese navy lay unchallenged off Port Arthur, engaging in minor operations, covering the transport of troops to the mainland, and watching for the moment when the advance of the army should force the Russian fleet to come out. Meantime seven Japanese cruisers under Vice-Admiral Kaimamura went in search of the Russian Vladivostok squadron; this, however, evaded them lot some months, and inflicted some damage on the Japanese mercantile marine and transports. The Japanese had not waited to gain command of the sea before beginning the sea transport of that part of their troops allotted to Korea. The roads of that country were so poor that the landing had 3 A vivid picture of the state of affairs in the navy at this Period is given in Semenov's Rasplata (Eng. trans.). to be made, not on the Straits of Tsushima, but as far north as The possible. Chemulpo, nearer by 5o m. to Port Arthur Japanese than to Japan, was selected. On the first day of st Army hostilities Rear-Admiral Uriu disembarked troops at In Korea. Chemulpo under the eyes of the Russian cruiser " Variag," and next day he attacked and destroyed the " Variag " and some smaller war-vessels in the harbour, and the rest of the 1st Army (General Kuroki) was gradually brought over during February and March, in spite of an unbeaten and, under Makarov's regime, an enterprising hostile navy. But owing to the thaw and the subsequent break-up of the miser-able Korean roads, six weeks passed before the columns of the army (Guard, and and 12th divisions), strung out along the " Mandarin road " to a total depth of six days' march, closed upon the head at Wiju, the frontier town on the Yalu. Opposite to them they found a large Russian force of all arms. The Russian commanders, at this stage at least, had not and could not have any definite objective. Both by sea and by land their policy was to mass their resources, repulsing mean-time the attacks of the Japanese with as much damage to the enemy and as little to themselves as possible. Their strategy was to gain time without immobilizing themselves so far that the Japanese could impose a decisive action at the moment that suited them best. Both by sea and by land, such strategy was an exceedingly difficult game to play. But afloat, had Makirov survived, it would have been played to the end, and Togo's fleet would have been steadily used up. One day, indeed (May 15th), two of Japan's largest battleships, the " Hatsume " and the " Yashima," came in contact with free mines and were sunk. One of them went to the bottom with five hundred souls. But the admiral was not on board. The Russian sailors said, when Makarov's fate was made known, " It is not the loss of a battle-ship. The Japanese are welcome to two of them. It is he." Not only the skill, but the force of character required for playing with fire, was wanting to Makarov's successors. It was much the same on land. Kuropatkin, who had taken command of the army, saw from the first that he would have Karp- to gain three months, and disposed his forces as they patkin's came on the scene, unit by unit, in perfect accord plan. with the necessities of the case. His expressed intention was to fight no battle until superiority in numbers was on his side. He could have gained his respite by concentrating at Harbin or even at Mukden or at Liao-Yang. But he had to reckon with the fleets at Port Arthur. He knew that the defences of that place were defective, and that if the fleet were destroyed whilst that of Togo kept the sea, there would be no Russian offensive. He therefore chose Liao-Yang as the point of concentration, and having thus to gain time by force instead of by distance, he pushed out a strong covering detachment towards the Yalu. But little by little he succumbed to his milieu, the atmosphere of false confidence and passivity created around him by Alexeiev. After he had minutely arranged the Eastern Detachment in a series of rearguard positions, so that each fraction of it could contribute a little to the game of delaying the enemy before retiring on the positions next in rear, the commander of the detachment, Zasulich, told him that " it was not the custom of a knight of the order of St George to retreat," and Kuropatkin did not use his authority to recall the general, who, whether competent or not, obviously misunderstood his mission. Thus, whilst the detachment was still disposed as a series of rear-guards, the foremost fractions of it stood to fight on the Yalu, against odds of four to one. The Japanese 1st Army was carefully concealed about Wiju until it was ready to strike. Determined that in this first battle against a white nation they would show their mettle, the Japanese lavished both time and forethought on the minutest preparations. Forethought was still busy when, in accordance with instructions from Tokio, Kuroki on the 3oth of April ordered the attack to begin at daybreak on the 1st of May. For several miles above Antung the rivers Yalu and Aiho are 1 Not, as is often assumed, the fortress itself. parallel and connected by numerous channels. The majority of the islands thus formed were held and had been bridged by the Japanese. The points of passage were commanded by high ground a little farther up where the valleys definitely diverge, and beyond the flank of the ill-concealed positions of the defence. The first task of the right division (12th) was to cross the upper Yalu and seize this. To the Guard and and divisions was assigned the frontal attack on the Chiuliencheng position, where the Russians had about one-half of Ba ttrettleYa/n. of their forces under Major-General Kashtalinski. On the 3oth of April,, Inouye's 12th division accomplished its task of clearing; the high ground up to the Aiho. The Russians, though well aware that the force in their front was an army, neither retired nor concentrated. Zasulich's medieval generalship had been modified so far that he intended to retreat when he had taught the Japanese a lesson, and there-fore Kuropatkin's original arrangements were not sensibly modified. So it came about that the combined attack of the and and Guard divisions against the front, and Inouye on the left flank and rear, found Kashtalinski without support. After a rather ineffective artillery bombardment the Japanese advanced in full force, without hesitation or finesse, and plunging into the river, stormed forward under a heavy fire. A few moments after-wards Zasulich ordered the retreat. But the pressure was far too close now. Broken up by superior numbers the Russian line parted into groups, each of which, after resisting bravely for a time, was driven back. Then the frontal attack stopped and both divisions abandoned themselves to the intoxication of victory. Mean-while, the right attack (12th division) encountering no very serious resistance, crossed the Aiho and began to move on the left rear of the Russians. On the side of the defence, each colonel had been left to retire as best he could, and thus certain fractions of the retreating Russians encountered Inouye's advancing troops and were destroyed after a most gallant resistance. The rearguard itself, at Hamatan, was almost entirely sacrificed, owing to the wrong direction taken in retreating by its left flankguard. Fresh attempts were made by subordinates to form rearguards, but Zasulich made no stand even at Fenghwang-cheng, and the Japanese occupied that town unopposed on the 5th of May. The Japanese losses were 'loo out of over 40,000 present, the Russian (chiefly in the retreat) at least 2500 out of some 7000 engaged. The Yalu, like Valmy, was a moment in the world's history. It mattered little that the Russians had escaped or that they had been in inferior numbers. The serious fact was that they had been beaten. The general distribution of the Russian forces was now as follows: The main army under Kuropatkin was forming, by successive brigades, in two groups—I. Siberian Corps (Stakelberg), Niu-chwang and Kaiping; II. Siberian Corps, Liao-Yang. Zasulich (III. Corps and various other units) had still 21,000. In the Port Arthur " fortified rayon," under Lieut.-General Stoessel (IV. Corps), were 27,000 men, and General Linievich around Vladivostok had 23,000. These are, however, paper strengths only, and the actual number for duty cannot have been higher than r 10,000 in all. The Trans-Siberian railway was the only line of communication with Europe and western Siberia, and its calculated output of men was 40,000 a month in the summer. In October 1904, therefore, supposing the Japanese tc have used part of their forces against Port Arthur. and setting this off against the absence of Linievich and Stoessel, Kuropatkin could expect to have a sufficient superiority in numbers to take the offensive. His policy was still, " No battle before we are in superior force." For the moment it was equally Japan's interest to mark time in Manchuria. Still intent upon the Russian Port Arthur squadron, she had embarked her and Army (General Oku, 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th divisions) during April, and sent it to Chinampo whence, as soon as the ice melted and Kuroki's victory cleared the air, it sailed to the selected landing-place near Pitszewo. Here, under the protection of a continuous chain of war-vessels between the EIliot Landing of the Japanese 2nd Army.
End of Article: RUSSIAN
[back]
RUSSIA (Rossiya)
[next]
RUSSIAN LANGUAGE

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.