By Harsha Ram
Examines the increase of the Russian empire as a literary subject matter simultaneous with the evolution of Russian poetry among the 1730s and 1840 - the century in which poets outlined the most questions dealing with Russian literature and society. This paintings indicates how imperial ideology turned implicated in a number of concerns.
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Extra resources for The Imperial Sublime: A Russian Poetics of Empire (Wisconsin Center for Pushkin Studies)
Vertograd mnogotsvetnyi is an encyclopedic compendium of didactic verse, containing prescriptive advice as well as fragments of worldly knowledge presented for their informative value. Scattered among these poems one finds pieces with such titles as “Grazhdanstvo” (Citizenship), “Zakon” (Law), “Nachalnik” (Superior), and “Sud” (The trial). Together these poems constitute one of the earliest attempts on the part of a Russian writer to define the ideal sovereign. ”28 In Polotskii, then, we already discern the fundamental dilemma of the court poet.
And does praise of the ideal, as if it already existed, constitute a form of hypocrisy or a subtler kind of instruction? This tension between the didactic and the panegyric mode will become all the more dramatic in the post-Petrine era, with the establishment of the ode as the preeminent literary genre and enlightened absolutism as the dominant ideology. 40 Sublime Beginnings The Emergence of the Ceremonial Ode The prosaic pragmatism of Peter the Great and the relative absence of belles lettres during his reign should not obscure the essential fact of the near synchronous birth of the Russian Empire and of modern Russian literature.
Comprising minor poets of a transitional era, this school sought to apply the precepts of French classicism to the German context of their time. Just as Boileau’s model of syntactical and lexical transparency and aesthetic moderation had summarized a normative model for the culture of French absolutism, so, too, the emergence in 1701 of the new kingdom of Prussia saw the advent of the German ceremonial ode based on the Malherbian style as a constitutive element of the opulent court life of Friedrich I.