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  Philologica russica et speculativa II  
Pushkin. Engraved by E. Gejtman. 1822       

Pushkin A. S., Ten’ Barkova: Teksty; Kommentarii; Ekskursy [= The Shade of Barkov: Texts; Commentaries; Excursus], Edited by I. A. Pil’shchikov and M. I. Shapir, Moscow: “Iazyki slavianskoj kul’tury”, 2002, 497 p. (Philologica russica et speculativa; T. II).


This is the first scholarly edition of a parodic bawdy ballad which was written in the Lyceum (1814—1815) and survived mainly in distorted and anonymous manuscript copies. The editors present here an authentic reconstruction of the text of The Shade of Barkov and attribute it to Pushkin.

The edition is replete with textual, linguistic, prosodic, literary-historical, and biographical commentaries, as well as a special section containing studies devoted to the history, language, and poetics of the obscene burlesque from Barkov to Pushkin, including studies of this tradition’s connection to Slavic folklore and light French literature of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

 Full text 

https://www.academia.edu/12567092/ (full text preview, pdf download)



Editors’ Foreword

Part I. Texts

Preliminary Remarks

 A. Pushkin
The Shade of Barkov. A Ballad. (Introduction, reconstruction of the text, and notes by I. A. Pil’shchikov and M. I. Shapir)

Other Versions and Variants


I. Text
II. Spelling
III. Punctuation
IV. Versification

Works Cited


A Copy from the Early 1820s
A Copy from the Mid-1820s
The Shade of Barkov. A Ballad. (Reconstruction of the text by M. A. Ciavlovskij)

Archival References

Part II. Commentaries

Preliminary Remarks

 M. A. Ciavlovskij
Commentaries. (Reconstruction of the text and notes by I. A. Pil’shchikov and M. I. Shapir)


Works Cited

 I. A. Pil’shchikov and M. I. Shapir
Index of Words and Meanings Not Included in The Dictionary of Pushkin’s Language

Part III. Excursus

Preliminary Remarks

 . . Iliushin
A Belated Translation of the Erotic Priapean Ode (Alexis Piron, Ode à Priape)

 . . Dobricyn
A Girl’s Plaything and Cabinet Satyrique: On the French Origins of the Russian Obscene Epigram

 . . Dobricyn
Jean Baptiste Rousseau Among the Authors of A Girl’s Plaything

 M. I. Shapir
Barkov and Derzhavin: From the History of the Russian Burlesque

 I. A. Pil’shchikov
Ivan Dolgorukov Rewriting Piron’s Ode à Priape

 I. A. Pil’shchikov
“Nothing or Very Little...” (Pushkin’s Verse Tale Tzar Nikita and his 40 Daughters: Supplement to a Commentary)

 M. I. Shapir
Pushkin and Russian “Secret” Tales: On the Folklore Origins of the Plot of The Little House in Kolomna

Bibliographical References


“Readers gain access in this book to all the known manuscript copies of the ballad and to two reconstructions of it. It provides a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the world Russian and European verse erotica of the years leading to the era of Pushkin”.

The Shade of Barkov-2002 is a significant break through the inertness of old Pushkin scholarship, and the illiteracy of new Pushkin scholarship. This is the first real step toward creating a scholarly edition of A. S. Pushkin’s complete works”.

Russkij Zhurnal, 29 April 2002

“Without a doubt, the release of M. I. Shapir and I. A. Pil’shchikov’s edition of The Shade of Barkov is one of this year’s big events. The fact that, in this very edition, Pil’shchikov attacks me <G. A. Levinton> and my co-author <N. G. Oxotin> with the zeal of a scorned lover or a fired maid does not diminish the merits of the book itself. I have heard a number of negative comments about it, including criticism of the literary-historical commentary. It may well be that some of these complaints are valid, but the shortcomings of the commentary can hardly be said to overshadow the thoroughness and level of the textological work. The word level here is clearly a key one, both in the sense that new levels (of verse and orthography) are considered, and in the sense that the reconstruction, which looks quite convincing (as of yet, I can only judge as a casual reader), signals a new level of textology. It is not so much that the orthographic reconstruction is done well, but that someone has set about accomplishing this task at all, and the results are convincing”.

«Kriticheskaia Massa», 2002, № 1

“Kdo by hledal Puškinovu ranou baladu Těň Barkova ve starších sebraných spisech A. S. Puškina, potáže se se zlou. Text balady byl z několika důvodů marginalizován, především však byla parodická a pornografická balada některými puškinisty považována za podvrh <...> Editoři nového vydání balady I. A. Pil’šikov a M. I. Šapir (oba jsou současně i redaktory časopisu Philologica <...>) se pokusili nejen věrohodně atribuovat i datovat tento text, a tím jej v kontextu Puškinova díla rehabilitovat, ale rozhodli se také dosáhnout co největší možné „autentičnosti“ vydávaného textu”.

“Pokusili se <editoři> minimalizovat její negativa vycházející ze sjednocení více verzí odrážejících různá stadia vývoje textu. Na základě různých znění došli k názoru, že opisy se vztahují k různým redakcím textu. Některé změny v opisech ukazují na opravy autorské, jindy a častěji jsou to však chyby vzniklé opisem. Když se pokoušeli vybrat mezi mnoha variantami jednoho verše správný (autentický), řídili se editoři jejich smyslem a básnickou přesvědčivostí, srovnávali s puškinskou fonetikou a gramatikou, lexikem i frazeologií, porovnávali s parodovanými verši Žukovského, hledali paralely s ruským obscénním folklórem, s bárkovštinou a přihlíželi ke starším současníkům Puškina <...> Při rekonstrukci Puškinova pravopisu a interpunkce se opírali o jeho vlastní rané i pozdější rukopisy. Editoři se pokusili pochopit Puškinův pravopisný systém, jehož rekonstrukci vnesli do rekonstruovaného textu balady”.

Česká literatura, 2003, roč. 51, č. 2

Polemics Surrounding the edition of The Shade of Barkov:

“Novaia Russkaia Kniga”, 2002, no. 6

“Kriticheskaia Massa”, 2003, no. 1

“Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie”, 2003, no. 60

“Voprosy literatury”, 2004, no. 5

“It no longer behooves us to doubt that A. S. Pushkin was the author (or at least the co-author) of The Shade of Barkov — this is precisely the conviction with which one comes away from this book”.

“The textological methods I. A. Pil’shchikov and M. I. Shapir developed are brought to bear with a logic and consistency that is rare indeed. Line by line, they indicate the textual source and present their argument for giving preference to the variant contained in one manuscript copy over the variants in other copies <...>; then, line by line, they qualify the principles of selection for choosing among orthographic variants on the basis of Pushkin’s early manuscripts <...>; the third group of textological notes provides detailed information on Pushkin’s punctuation in his early texts <...>; the fourth group is devoted to issues of versification and explains the corrections made in the process of reconstruction by referring to peculiarities of the rhymes of young Pushkin. The editors — who see their approach as ‘a precedent which will play a significant role in the textology of classical Russian literature’ — do not feign humility (and, in all likelihood, they need not)”.

“The second, even larger section of the book <...> is taken up with commentaries to The Shade of Barkov. At the heart of this section is M. A. Ciavlovskij’s commentary <...> The commentary of this noted Pushkin scholar is, in turn, equipped with a very substantial (388 notes!) and thorough publication apparatus”.

“The third section (‘Excurses’) does not have any direct connection to The Shade of Barkov. It gathers studies devoted to bawdy erotic literature, which shed light on the literary-historical context of Pushkin’s ballad <...> M. I. Shapir’s article ‘Barkov and Derzhavin: From the History of the Russian Burlesque’ is the centerpiece — in terms of both size and importance — of ‘Excurses’”.

“I. A. Pil’shchikov and M. I. Shapir’s edition carries on a sharp polemic with the compilers of the new academic edition of A. S. Pushkin’s Complete Works. With their textological approach, they demonstrate to their Petersburg colleagues, who are now preparing the new academic edition, what a rigorous scholarly edition of a classic really looks like. This is a good, useful kind of polemic, which spurs us to seek the best solution as it is worked out in the course of debate”.

Izvestiia Rossijskoj akademii nauk. Seriia literatury i iazyka
[Bulletin of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Literature and Language Series],
2003, vol. 62, № 5

To be posted soon.

Izvestiia Rossijskoj akademii nauk. Seriia literatury i iazyka
[Bulletin of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Literature and Language Series],
2005, vol. 64, № 3


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