For citation:

Kozlov A.E. “The Right to Biography” and Literary Memories of the 19th Century. Studia Litterarum, 2020, vol. 5, no 2, pp. 34–55. (In Russ.)

DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2020-5-2-34-55

Author: A.E. Kozlov
Information about the author:

Alexey E. Kozlov, Doctoral Student, University of Tartu, 3 Lossi St., 51003 Tartu, Estonia.

ORCID ID: 0000-0003-0016-9546

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Received: August 21, 2019
Published: June 25, 2020
Issue: 2020 Vol. 5, №2
Department: Literary Theory
Pages: 34-55

UDK: 821.161.1+82.0
BBK: 83 + 83.3(2Рос=Рус)52
Keywords: literary memories, writer’s biography, reflection and narrative, auto-commentary, canonization.


The article bears on the classic articles by Lotman, Bakhtin, and Tomashevsky and contemporary works by Mestergazi, Kalugin, Djachuk and others. It focuses on the study of two categories: “the right to biography in history” and “the right to biography in the history of literature.” Dialogue among writers, journalists, and scholars in the 19th century demonstrates that these categories were understood differently, especially this concerns the limits of the mentioned “rights.” At the beginning of the article, I examine several interrelated stories that line up around the journal Otechestvennye zapiski. The essay analyzes methods of local and global influence on the history of literature in articles (articles about Feodor Rastopchin and Osip Senkovsky) and critical reviews (about Ivan Panaev). These materials actualize the opposition between “the right to immortality” (Turgenev) and “the right to oblivion” (Panaev). The main part of the article focuses on the phenomenon of literary memories and the principles of selection of historical figures. Considering the specific ways of organizing a biographical narrative, one can identify basic models of literary life, from adventure (Bulgarin, Panayev, Antonovich, Uspensky) to memory and being (Turgenev, Annenkov) and literature as memory (Annenkov). In conclusion, I argue that the corpus of literary memories is aimed at building a certain hierarchy, or a system of names. In other words, not being themselves part of the literary canon, these texts play a role in its formation contributing to the “legend about literature that it invents about itself” (Lotman).


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