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  Philologica 4 (1997)  




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1. Vsemoshchnyj. The concluding line of Pushkin’s Epistle to Iudin reads as follows: The poet is more omnipotent (sic!: vsemoshchnee) than fate. The Church-Slavonicism vsemoshchnyj is a calque of the Greek adjective pantodynamos. This compound adjective is an elative, so it does not have comparative degrees (a form like vsemoshchnee is not found in any other Russian poet). This violation of the grammatical norm in Pushkin’s verse is of the same nature as the oxymoron in Horace’s Exegi monumentum aere perennius (literally: I have finished a monument more perpetual than bronze). In classical Antiquity, fate was thought of as the supreme power, over which no one can take precedence. Pushkin raised the will of the poet even higher.

2. Gromokipiashchij. The adjective gromokipiashchij ‘seething/boiling with thunder’ cannot be found in Tiutchev’s forerunners; it was created by this poet, and he used it only once, in the concluding quatrain of his Spring Thunderstorm: <...> flighty Hebe, when feeding Zeus’s eagle <...> hath spilt the thunder-boiling goblet (gromokipiashchij kubok) from the sky onto the earth. Extant Greek texts do not contain a word which would correspond, in terms of its structure and meaning, to Tiutchev’s gromokipiashchij. However, such a word has been discovered in the language of German literature: donnerbrausend. It is as unique as the Russian neologism and was used in Wilhelm Heinse’s novel Ardinghello (1787), which was widely read in Germany when Tiutchev lived there.


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