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  Philologica russica et speculativa III  
Igor' Pil'shchikov. Photo by Il'ia Dolgopol'skij. 2000       

Pil’shchikov I. A., Batiushkov i literatura Italii: Filologicheskie razyskaniia [= Batiushkov and Italian Literature: Philological Explorations], Edited by M. I. Shapir, Moscow: “Iazyki slavianskoj kul’tury”, 2003, 314 p. (Philologica russica et speculativa; T. III).


This study is the first to treat all aspects of Konstantin Batiushkov’s relationship to Italian culture: Italian themes in his works; his translations, imitations and stylizations, his quotations from and allusions to Italian writers; the influence of Italian-language texts and French translations of those originals on the language of his translations and original works; etc. This book presents a new interpretation of Batiushkov’s ties to Italian culture. The author sets about postulating a model of how Batiushkov’s engagement with Italian culture developed, drawing widely on a range of evidence, including little-known texts. While this is principally a study of literary genesis, it also treats the evolution and typology of poetic forms, and touches upon a wide range of culturological issues, as well as the history and theory of literary translation, the history of Russian poetic language, and the poetics and textology of early-nineteenth-century Russian literature.

In the first chapter, the author identifies the sources and reconstructs the literary-historical context of Batiushkov's epistle To Tasso (1808), the earliest Russian poem devoted to the creator of Jerusalem Delivered. The next two chapters of the monograph describe the poetics and stylistics of Batiushkov's verse translations of Italian writers: Tasso, Ariosto, Petrarca, Casti and Rolli. Using an original method that hinges on analysis of “intermediary translations”(that is, earlier French and Russian translations of the Italian), the author breaks away from the overly simplistic analytical model of “source text — target text” and examines works of translation as polygenetic phenomena, thus providing new insights on how the traditions of Russian and French translation influenced Batiushkov’s artistic practice. In the fourth chapter, the author identifies and thoroughly analyzes quotations of Italian writers found in Batiushkov’s letters, explains the peculiarities of Batiushkov’s use of Italian in his letters, and presents the first treatment of how Italian opera figures in Batiushkov’s oeuvre. The fifth chapter revisits a subject of previous scholarship — the sources of Batiushkov’s articles Ariosto and Tasso and Petrarca — and presents an analysis of the extant outlines for Batiushkov’s The Pantheon of Italian Literature (1817). The sixth chapter is devoted to Batiushkov’s role in the story of Pushkin’s acquaintance with the poetry of Petrarca. In the final chapter, the author identifies Batiushkov’s sources of information on Tasso’s biography and examines the biographical and lyrico-epic topoi on which Batiushkov’s elegy The Dying Tasso (1817) is based.

This monograph is distinguished by a consistently philological approach to linguistic and cultural phenomena. This approach emphasizes the apprehension of artistic intention by means of historically accurate interpretation based on linguistic analyses. In examining the genesis of a literary work, an endeavour difficult to formalize, the author strives for the greatest possible methodological rigour and the highest degree of precision in his conclusions.

 Full text (in Russian) 

http://feb-web.ru/feb/batyush/critics/bli/bli-000-.htm (html)

https://www.academia.edu/11289692/ (full text preview, pdf download)



Chapter One
At the Headwaters of Batuishkov’s Fascination with Tasso: To Tasso (1808)

Chapter Two
Translations from Jerusalem Delivered (1808—1810)

Chapter Three
Translations and Excerpts from Italian Poets (1810—1811)

Chapter Four
Italian Themes in Batiushkov’s Letters (1807—1820)

Chapter Five
Ariosto and Tasso, Petrarca, The Pantheon of Italian Literature (1815—1817)

Chapter Six
Petrarcan Motifs in Batiushkov and Pushkin (1815—1817 and 1821—1831)

Chapter Seven
The Elegy, The Dying Tasso: Dichtung und Wahrheit (1817)

By Way of Conclusion




Index of Proper Names


Polemics Surrounding Batiushkov and Italian Literature:

Grigorij Amelin’s review in Ex libris NG, 2003, 24 April

Alexander Feduta’s reply in Ex libris NG, 2003, 5 June

Stefano Garzonio’s review in Izvestiia Rossijskoj akademii nauk. Seriia literatury i iazyka
[Bulletin of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Literature and Language Series]
2004, vol. 63, № 3

V. A. Koshelev’s review in Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 2005, № 71

“Pil’shchikov’s work can serve as an excellent example of philological commentary, as his analysis is extremely detailed, thorough, and both linguistically and historically accurate. [...] the present book should be highly recommended for those studying Konstantin Batiushkov and Russian poetry of the early nineteenth century. At the same time, it could be valuable for any student of literature, as an example of intricate philological analysis. The book will also be of interest to comparative literature scholars, and scholars of intertextuality and theories of translation”.

V. Kononova in Slavic and East European Journal, 2008, vol. 52, № 1


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