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By D. S. Mirsky

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back hide quote: A background of Russian Literature: From Its Beginnings to 1900 includes all of D. S. Mirsky's A historical past of Russian Literature and the 1st chapters of his modern Russian Literature, as they seemed within the one-volume A background of Russian Literature, edited by means of Francis J. Whitfield and released in 1949 via Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Russian literature has constantly been inseparably associated with Russian historical past. D. S. Mirsky, in facing this truth, regularly saved in brain the ever colourful and altering facets of the single in discussing the opposite. With a prepared and penetrating feel of values, fortified by means of a mode sharp adequate to hold each nuance of his which means, he explored essentially the most advanced and engaging literatures of the world.

" [Mirsky's] histories of literature ... own lcarning, attractiveness, wit, highbrow gaiety, and an incomparable sort and sweep and tool of speaking impressions and ideas." Sir' Isaiah Berlin

"Prince Mirsky is either student and stylist; his books, for that reason, have a double correct to live." Clifton Fadiman

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The only rival to Frol Skobeyev's unique position in the (unconsciously) literary use of the vernacular is the delightful story of the Gremille (Ersh Schetinnikov) and of the lawsuit intended against him by his neighbor fishes of the lake of Rost6v. It is also a picaresque story, for it tells of the Gremille's evading by lawful and lawless means all the rightful demands of the other fishes. The story is in the form of a lawsuit and is a delightful parody of Muscovite legal procedure and legal language.

His verse is devoid of all poetic merits and began to seem unreadable long before his death. His principal work, a translation in hexameters of Fenelon's Telemaque (1766), as soon as it appeared, became a byword for all that is pedantic and ugly. His claim to recognition as an important figure in Russian literary history is mainly based on his work as a theoretician of poetry and prosody. His View of the Origin of Poetry and of Verse (1752) is the first statement in Russian of the classical theory of imitation.

Like Savva Grudtsyn it is a work of edification, in a style not derived from ecclesiastical Muscovite literature, but from devotional folk poetry. "G6re-ZloscMstie" is a man's ill luck, personified as a kind of guardian devil who accompanies his man from cradle to grave. He leads a fine young man of respectable and wealthy family from his father's house into the wide world, brings him to tavern and highroad and thence well-nigh to the gallows. But the young man finally escapes and ends his days in a monastery, the never-failing refuge of the Russian sinner.

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