Author: Ilya Vinitsky
Information about the author:

D. Litt., Professor of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Princeton University (Princeton, USA).

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For citation:

Vinitsky I. Ju. Maiden on Man’s Laps. From the History of Russian Rousseauism. Dostoevsky and World Culture. Philological Journal, 2020, No. 3(11). Pp. 40-67.

Issue: 2020 no. 3 (11)
Pages: 40-67
UDK: 821.16.1+821.133.1
BBK: 83.3(2=411.2)+83.3(4)
Keywords: “twilight love”, Romanticism, parody, Rousseau, Zhukovsky, Vyazemsky, Dostoevsky, Nabokov, “natural man”, confessions, maiden, laps, devil, rib.
Abstract: The concept of romantic love directed towards a young bride is an ideological construction in the history of European culture as manifested in works of Rousseau, Novalis, and Edgar Allan Poe. Any given author's modification of this form of love is an important indication of his religious, ethical, and aesthetic beliefs, which are in turn indicative of his cultural trend and which reflect the fears and ideals of the given author's contemporary society. Here, I will trace the transformation of this topic in the late work of Vasily Zhukovsky in its intersection with the Rousseauist topos of the last or "twilight" love. I will also analyze the transformation of the image of the girl-bride, previously canonized by the patriarch of Russian Romanticism, in the poetry of Pyotr Vyazemsky, Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, and Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita - works which represent different literary-ideological programs which respond in different ways to Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Confessions (1769, published 1782).


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