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Reading Russia, vol. 2

 | 
Damiano Rebecchini
, 
Raffaella Vassena

Part II. The Long Nineteenth Century

Belles-Lettres and the literary interests of middling landowners. A case study from the archive of the Dorozhaevo homestead

Tatiana Golovina

Texte intégral

  • 1 Gosudarstvennyi arkhiv Ivanovskoi oblasti (GAIO), f. 107, op. 1. Further references to the docume (...)
  • 2   N. V. Frolov and E. V. Frolova, in Istoriia zemli Kovrovskoi (Kovrov, 1997) and, following them, (...)
  • 3 Diary of A. I. Chikhachev 1831 (d. 54), Diary of N. I. Chikhacheva 1835 (d. 63), 1836–1837 (d. 67 (...)

1This chapter is based on documents from the 1830s taken from an estate archive.1 These are letters, diaries, and notebooks of Kovrov district landowners in Vladimir province: Andrei Ivanovich Chikhachev (1798–1868);2 his wife Natalia Ivanovna Chikhacheva, Chernavina by birth (1799–1866); their son Aleksei (1826–after 1874); and Natalia’s brother Iakov Ivanovich Chernavin (1804–1845).3

  • 4   1 verst = 3,500 feet.

2The estates of the two noblemen lay at the heart of European Russia. Dorozhaevo, which belonged to Chikhachev, was located 100 versts4 to the northeast of Vladimir, the principal town of the province, and his other estate, Borduki, and Chernavin’s estate, Berezovik, were located 50 versts away.

  • 5   See Pickering Antonova, Gospoda Chikhachevy, 79-80, 166.
  • 6   F. V. Bulgarin, “O tsenzure v Rossii i o knigopechatanii voobshche,” Russkaia starina, 9 (1900), (...)

3The Chikhachevs and Chernavin were middling landowners who lived permanently in their estates. In the decade that is of interest to us, the number of male serfs owned by each of them ranged from 200 to 350 souls. Their estate revenues were not too high.5 These middling landowners fell into the category of consumers of printed products, which, according to the book market connoisseur Faddei Bulgarin, was “the most numerous” at the time and constituted “the so-called Russian public.”6

4What was the place of reading and literature in the daily life of the noble estate? What did the landowners read? What guided their choice of books? How did they feel about what they read? What influence did those books have on the mindset and feelings of their readers? Documents from the family archive provide answers to these questions and permit us to resolve two interconnected tasks: first, to reconstruct the range of literary interests of middling landowners; and secondly, to develop a better understanding of their worldview and self-perception.

5Hundreds of books concerning a variety of topics (religious, economic, legal, medical, etc.), as well as dozens of newspapers and magazines, are mentioned in the diaries and letters of Chikhachev and Chernavin. This range of reading materials cannot be exhaustively described here. Therefore, we will focus solely on fiction.

  • 7   For more information on the landowners’ affinity for reading and on the ways they acquired printe (...)
  • 8   d. 54, l. 11 ob.
  • 9   Between the years of 1845 and 1865 Chikhachev published over 100 articles both in provincial and (...)
  • 10   A. I. Chikhachev, “Neskol’ko slov o knige ‘Pis’ma o bogosluzhenii vostochnoi katolicheskoi tserkv (...)

6First of all, it should be noted that this family was united by a great love for books.7 The head of the family believed that “reading is the best thing to do.”8 He often discussed its importance in his diaries, letters, and later in newspaper articles:9 “Reading is a basic need for every person. You live and you learn. And you can’t learn without reading. Everything that humanity has experienced is narrated in books. All responsibilities, all rights, all human warnings—everything, without exception, is in books. Is it even possible not to love reading?”10

  • 11   For more information on raising the children in noble families, and particularly on the role that (...)
  • 12  M. P. Lepekhin, “Greshishchev Il’ia Iakovlevich,” in A. M. Panchenko (ed.), Slovar’ russkikh pisat (...)

7Chikhachev and Chernavin’s love of reading dated back to their childhood and adolescence.11 From the age of 8 to 14, Chikhachev lived in Moscow, in a private boarding house run by Il’ia Greshishchev, who was in charge of housekeeping at Moscow University and translated French moralistic novels and Eli Bertrand’s book The Foundations of Universal Morality (Osnovanie vseobshchego nravouchenia, 1796).12 Chikhachev studied at the Academic Gymnasium affiliated with the Moscow University. In 1813–1815 he went on to continue his studies in St. Petersburg, in the Noble Regiment (Dvorianskii polk) at the 2nd Cadet Corps. After a year of service in the artillery, he returned to the Noble Regiment as a corps officer. In 1818 he retired as a second lieutenant (podporuchik) and went to his estate.

8Chernavin studied in the Marine Cadet Corps (1814–1822), like his father and his brothers, where he was one of the best pupils. Then, while serving in the Baltic Fleet, he visited Denmark, Great Britain, Italy, Greece, and Turkey. In 1834 he retired as a captain-lieutenant and settled in his hereditary estate of Berezovik.

9It should be noted that both landowners had been raised in a Masonic environment. Chikhachev’s mentor Greshishchev had, in his youth, served as a secretary of Mikhail Kheraskov, the curator of the Moscow University. Kheraskov was part of the Moscow Rosicrucians community. Greshishchev attended the Friendly Scholarly Society (Druzheskoe uchenoe obshchestvo), which consisted entirely of freemasons, and the Translation Seminary (Perevodcheskaia seminariia) founded by the Head of the Order of the Russian Rosicrucians, Ivan Schwartz. The Masonic influence was great in the cadet corps where Chikhachev and Chernavin studied. Suffice it to say that the catechists (religion teachers) were freemasons: in the 2nd Cadet Corps, it was Hieromonk Feofil, a member of the Masonic lodges To the Dead Head and Dying Sphinx; in the Marine Cadet Corps it was Hieromonk Iov, a member of the same lodges and the sect of Tatarinova. It is known that a number of Chikhachev’s fellow students and colleagues in the 2nd Cadet Corps were members of the Masonic lodges. For example, Nikolai Lorer was in the Palestine lodge and Iurii Bartenev was in the Dying Sphinx lodge.

10In their youth, Chikhachev and Chernavin joined the brotherhood of freemasons, which is evidenced by them occasionally addressing each other as “builder” in their letters. However, we can only guess what lodges they were in and what degrees of initiation they reached (secret societies had been banned since 1822, and any affiliation with them was kept secret even in personal diaries and correspondence between friends).

  • 13   See A. Kurilkin, “Ezotericheskaia kniga v Rossii vtoroi poloviny XVIII–nachala XIX veka (predvari (...)
  • 14   For more information, see T. N. Golovina, “Chitatel’skaia kul’tura provintsial’nykh masonov,” in (...)

11They adopted specific features of Masonic book culture in their youth and adolescence, such as: a reverence for the book; seeing reading as a spiritual exercise, a means of self-improvement and education of the ‘inner person’; an orientation towards intensive rather than extensive reading; and the idea of the hierarchy of books and readers.13 Chikhachev and Chernavin retained these ideas for the rest of their days, and even (to a certain extent) applied them to secular texts as well as religious ones.14

  • 15   D. 95, l. 32 ob.
  • 16   See Rebecchini, “The Success of the Russian Novel,” in the present volume.
  • 17   D. 100, l. 4 ob.
  • 18   D. 57, l. 38.

12Chikhachev lived in the depths of the country since he was 20, and Chernavin since he was 30. There, in the countryside, books, magazines, and newspapers acquired special significance. According to Chikhachev himself, here they “are essential to a moral existence.”15 Thanks to the development of book publishing industry, book trade, and library services in the 1830s, Russian readers gained greater access to reading materials.16 However, it was still not very easy for provincial middling landowners to find food for thought and heart. In his diaries and letters, Chikhachev often complains about the ‘book hunger.’ “What is man without reading? And how can one who lives in the country, especially if he is not rich, get hold of things to read?”17 This was the question that the owner of Dorozhaevo used to ask himself, while his brother-in-law was expressing envy of the French: “You, the happy inhabitants of the shores of the Seine, where there is never a shortage of magazines or the latest literary works, you are, in fairness, spoiled by an abundance of books.”18

  • 19   D. 93, l. 8 ob.; D. 129, l. 2 ob.

13The two landowners read their personal books over and over again multiple times. We do not know how many books Chikhachev had. Information regarding the size of Chernavin’s library is contradictory. One description suggests that there were 600 book volumes, while according to another one, there were only 245.19 The landowners’ home libraries consisted of books that they inherited, as well as the books they bought from bookshops during rare trips to major cities. They were also able to order books from some of Moscow’s booksellers and publishers. However, the majority of their book collection consisted of texts purchased from traveling book sellers and peddlers. Middling landowners could not afford to spend a lot of money on books. To address such individuals’ limited spending power, traveling book sellers would not only sell books, but also loan them for a reasonable fee (60 kopecks).

  • 20   See T. N. Golovina, “‘Tysiacha blagodarnostei Stepanu Ivanovichu Karetnikovu…’,” in I. Iu. Cherem (...)
  • 21   See: E. B. Frolova, “Lev Polisadov — kovrovskii blagochinnyi pushkinskoi pory,” in O. A. Moniakov (...)

14Another important way for landed gentry to access books was to borrow volumes from their neighbors. The dwellers of Dorozhaevo and Berezovik constantly exchanged books, newspapers, and magazines with nearby and sometimes very remote noble estates. Some landlords even kept registers of their neighbors’ home libraries. Chikhachev and Chernavin found people of similar interests among the nobles, but also among representatives of the merchants and clergy. Thus, Stepan Karetnikov, a rich merchant from the village of Teikovo, regularly supplied Chikhachev and Chernavin with new editions.20 The priest of the village of Lezhnevo, Lev Polisadov, also lent them books from his abundant library.21

  • 22   A. I. Chikhachev, “O vospitanii detei (otkrovennost startsa),” Zemledel’cheskaia gazeta, March 1 (...)
  • 23   A. I. Gertsen “Vladimirskaia publichnaia biblioteka,” Pribavlenie k gubernskim vedomostiam, Febru (...)
  • 24   A. I. Chikhachev, “O snosheniiakh mezhdu pomeshchikami,” Zemledel’cheskaia gazeta, March 30, 1848

15Obviously, personal book collections, which were often very modest, did not meet such readers’ enormous need for printed word. The ‘book hunger’ could only be satisfied by public libraries: “Without reading, a person does not live, he vegetates; and a city without a book depository is like a desert,” Chikhachev said.22 In 1834 a public library in Vladimir was opened.23 Chikhachev certainly visited it whenever he traveled to the city. Such trips, however, were rare, so Chikhachev dreamed of having public book depositories in the countryside.24 Unfortunately, the first public library in the nearest county town of Shuia (20 versts away from Dorozhaevo) appeared only in 1863.

  • 25   T. N. Golovina, “Pis’ma literatorov A. I. Chikhachevu,” in V. A. Smirnov (ed.), Fol’klor i litera (...)

1610 years earlier, in 1853, Chikhachev created a library in the village of Zimenki at the Church of the Holy Prophet Elijah. He was driven by his concern for all the other villagers—landowners, priests, merchants and peasants. The library was mostly comprised of personal books donated by Chikhachev, Iurii Bartenev, Prince Vladimir Volkonskii and Princess Natalia Golitsina (1300 books in total). In addition, Chikhachev sent numerous letters asking for book donations and placed advertisements in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and local newspapers. The library received gifts from Emperor Aleksandr Nikolaevich and Empress Maria Aleksandrovna, writers Aleksei Pogosskii, Konstantin Ushinskii, Mikhail Rosenheim, Eugenia Salias de Tournemir, and others.25 Scientists Grigorii Leberfarb, Konstantin Veselovskii, Piotr Keppen and theologians Grigorii Debolskii and Aleksandr Sulotskii also made significant contributions. By the mid-1860s, there were about 6,000 volumes in the library.

  • 26   A. I. Chikhachev, “Sel’skaia biblioteka v sele Zimenki, bliz goroda Shui, v Kovrovskom uezde,” Vl (...)

17Chikhachev’s civic activities, which began in his close family circle in the 1830s, aimed at “promoting general education.”26 In order for his family to acquire a taste for reading, Chikhachev established ‘reading hours’ and set some strict rules in 1834:

  1. As soon as someone starts reading, there should be no distractions and no one should move from their seats.
  2. Once we set a date for the reading, we get down to work immediately. If there are things to say, these can be said afterwards. Otherwise, people here would keep coming and going, chatting, bumping into things, and eventually my book would end up falling on the floor and instead of reading we would end up feeling annoyed.
  3. Interrupting the reading is allowed only to explain what is being read, and in no other case.
  4. After the time set for the reading (for example an hour) is up, we can speak, even if the book has not been finished.27

18At least twice a week the family gathered to read aloud. Chikhachev believed that

  • 28   D. 59, l. 77.

nothing else helps one to develop one’s conversation skills so much as reading aloud. Nothing else offers so many opportunities to form an opinion as reading aloud. What is more, nothing else in my view helps a man to know himself well as reading aloud. And finally, nothing else can benefit one so much in the shortest time as reading aloud.28

  • 29   A. I. Chikhachev, “O ezhednevnom vslukh domashnem chtenii,” Zemledel’cheskaia gazeta, September 5 (...)

19Chikhachev considered this to be a custom worth following, which he often wrote about in Zemledelcheskaia gazeta (The Agricultural Newspaper) and Vladimirskie Gubernskie Vedomosti (The Vladimir Provincial Gazette): “Its usefulness is obvious to all: it contributes to accuracy, facilitates a clear presentation of your thoughts, brings souls and hearts closer, and educates. These are the cornerstones of our happiness.”29

  • 30   A. I. Chikhachev, “Vyzov na obshchepoleznoe delo,” Ibid., August 5, 1847.
  • 31   D. 59, l. 50.

20So what did the Kovrov landowners read? Provincial booklovers did not demonstrate any strict commitment to any one literary movement or a set of authors. Their reading preferences followed their own logic. Chikhachev criticized his ‘backward’ neighbors, that is, other landowners “who read everything they came by.”30 He himself, as well as his brother-in-law Chernavin, read a lot, but not indiscriminately. Thus, after having read the novel Count Oboianskii or Smolensk in the year 1812 (Graf Oboianskii, ili Smolensk v 1812 godu, 1834) by Nikolai Konshin, Chikhachev vowed: “I give my word not to read these mediocre writers. It’s a complete waste of one’s time.”31 Later, in the article “A few words about the book” (Neskol’ko slov o knige), he mused:

  • 32   A. I. Chikhachev, “Neskolko slov o knige.”

You can’t reread everything. […] Books, like everything in the world, are of different quality and are meant for different purposes. They are like fabrics: some are meant for ceremonial wear and magnificent decorations, while others can only serve as a wrapper. They are like foods: some are nutritious, while others are bland and exhausting.32

  • 33   D. 66, l. 92.

21We can make conclusions about the literary tastes of local gentry simply by the books and periodicals they chose to read. However, their assessments of what they have read paint an even brighter picture. In their diaries, such assessments are usually brief, but in the correspondence of Chikhachev and Chernavin, they are more detailed. Chikhachev believed that “Reading without talking to anyone is a form of extreme selfishness, and not just literary selfishness, but pure daily selfishness.”33 In his brother-in-law he found an excellent interlocutor.

22Bookloving landowners took into account not only the judgments of their relatives and friends, but also the opinions of newspaper and magazine reviewers. Chernavin confessed:

  • 34   D. 57, l. 7 ob.

I love reading reviews and counter-reviews in magazines. The result of such disputes [...] is always fruitful! Literary debates help you delve into the essence of a literary work. They allow you to notice new beauties, new strengths and weaknesses in the work that, to a greater or lesser degree, even a shrewd reader cannot always notice.34

  • 35   The complete list of the newspapers and magazines read by Chikhachev and Chernavin along with the (...)
  • 36   D. 66, l. 106.

23The most reputable periodicals for Chikhachev and Chernavin were Severnaia pchela (The Northern Bee) and Moskovskie vedomosti (The Moscow Gazette), as well as the magazine Biblioteka dlia chteniia (The Library for Reading).35 The Berezovik landowner even started a table where he marked all the positive and negative reviews of the most recently published books.36 However, his own impressions from what he had read did not always coincide with the assessments of literary critics.

  • 37   See Rebecchini,“Reading Foreign Novels in Russia,” in the present volume.

24Let us now begin characterizing the (often quite wide) range of the landowners’ literary interests. Foreign literature played an important role in their lives. The Chikhachevs and Chernavin usually read the works of foreign authors translated into Russian. Books published abroad were expensive and difficult to access for the provincial middling landowners;37 yet judging by letters and diaries, their home libraries had books in French, such as Les confessions (Paris, 1782) by Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the French translation of the book by Edward Gibbon, L’Histoire de la décadence et de la chute de l’Empire romain (Paris, 1819). It is known that Chernavin made a list (not preserved) of foreign publications he owned and copied several times—not only for himself, but also for his friends, who used his library.

25The Chikhachevs spoke French (and Chernavin also likely spoke German, English, and Italian). In order not to forget the language, the landowners sought to read, write and speak French as often as they could. They worked hard to get French books. For instance, in 1835, Chernavin wheedled a Suzdal’ landowner Petr Sekerin into giving him Histoire de Pierre III (Paris, 1798) by Jean-Charles Laveaux, a book forbidden in Russia.

  • 38   D. 59, l. 54.
  • 39   D. 66, l. 78.

26The provincial book-readers wanted to read French books in the original not only to practice their French skills, but also because they were not always happy with the Russian translations. When reading The Story of Joachim Murat, Son-in-Law of Napoleon, Former King of Naples (Istoriia Iokhima Miurata, ziatia Napoleona, byvshego korolia neapolitanskogo, 1830) by Leonard Gallois, Chernavin commented indignantly: “What a terrible style this translator has! He deserves a hundred lashes for a punishment, and even that should be considered a mercy!”38 He also disapproved of the translation of the memoirs of Napoleon’s secretary, Louis de Bourrienne, that came out in 1834-1836: “I am very much interested in reading Bourrienne’s Notes but even though Mr. De Chapelet has given us many good translations of the best European authors, I do not always like his style in Bourienne.”39

27Despite the difficulties in obtaining foreign books and magazines, the Kovrov landowners sometimes managed to get hold of some issues of Revue française, a liberal but moderate magazine published by François Guizot and Charles de Rémusat; other times they mention Marc Antoine Jullien’s Revue encyclopédique, or the French-language journal Revue étrangère published by Ferdinand Bellizare and Selim DuFruar, where many of the French literary novelties appeared even before they were published in Paris.

28The inhabitants of Dorozhaevo and Berezovik were familiar with writers of different times and from different countries, from ancient authors to modern European fiction writers. Chernavin had the book Transformations of Publius Ovidius Nason in Russian (Publia Ovidia Nasona prevrashcheniia, perevedennye s latinskogo na rossiiskii iazyk, 1772–1774) in his library. The Chikhachev spouses and Chernavin mention the names of Virgil, Homer, Aesop, Demosthenes, and Cicero in their diaries and letters.

29The further history of world literature up to the middle of the eighteenth century apparently remained almost unknown to the provincial gentry. Only two great works written in the seventeenth century—William Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet translated by Nikolai Polevoi (1837) and John Milton’s poem Paradise Regained (Vozvrashchennyi rai) translated by Il’ia Gresishchev (1778)—are mentioned in the documents from the Dorozhaevo archive.

30The literature of the Enlightenment era had the strongest influence on Chikhachev and Chernavin. They discovered it in their youth, during their studies and military service. As adults, Chikhachev and Chernavin did not often re-read the works that they grew up with. Nevertheless, Enlightenment-era literature continued to influence their thoughts and feelings.

  • 40   D. 57, l. 75; D. 59, l. 38 ob. etc.
  • 41   The mechanism of ‘consolidation’ of everyday behavior by means of including associations with his (...)
  • 42   D. 57, l. 113; D. 59, l. 66 etc.

31Voltaire’s writings were no doubt an important part of the ‘mental repertoire’ of the landowners. On various occasions, Chikhachev enjoyed quoting the words of Pangloss, a character from Voltaire’s novel Candide: or All for the best!40 Chikhachev’s knowledge of Voltaire’s biography and his orientation towards it (namely, that it “magnifyied”41 the Russian landowner’s everyday life) might be seen in how he jokingly renamed the estate of Borduki as Fernay, and referred to himself as “the Fernean philosopher.” Chikhachev sometimes signed his messages to his brother-in-law as “the Fernean sage.”42

32The name of Jean-Jacques Rousseau is also found in the manuscripts of the landowners. They learned about Rousseau’s ideas not only from the original source, but also through the writings of Jean-Francois Marmontel and Nikolai Karamzin. These ideas are reflected in their speculations, found in their diaries and letters alike, about the beauty of nature and the advantages of rural life over urban life.

  • 43   See O. S. Evangulova, Khudozhestvennaia “Vselennaia” russkoi usad’by (Moscow, 2003); V. Lazarev, (...)
  • 44   See T. N. Golovina “‘Mysl’ semeinaia’v publitsistike A. I. Chikhacheva,” in R. Noikhel’ (ed.), Ko (...)
  • 45   A. I. Chikhachev, “O ezhednevnom vslukh domashnem chtenii.”

33Whenever Chikhachev had thoughts about the meaning of life and brevity of existence, he used to reread Edward Jung’s religious-didactic poem The Complaint: or Night-Thoughts on Life, Death, and Immortality (which one of the many translations he had in the Dorozhaevo library is impossible to establish). The landlords, however, did not frequently indulge in abstract philosophizing and melancholic moods. They were much more worried about matters close to hand. In the 1830s, several of the estate residents—including Alesha, a young son of Andrei Ivanovich—repeatedly turned to novel The Adventures of Telemachus by Francois Fénelon created at the turn of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The novel anticipated the ideas of the Enlightenment and outlined the principles of the perfect social order in an entertaining way. This book was not only a source of political ideas for the landowners, but also a practical guide to managing their estates. Modern researchers have repeatedly noted how nobles’ conception of their ‘social well-being’ was based on comparisons between their private estate and the larger Russian state, as well as the desire to bring their estate into line with ideals of public order.43 Chikhachev also tended to draw parallels between society and family, the state and the estate.44 He treated his works on the arrangement of the estate as part of the great task of the arrangement of Russia itself: “This great family—the class of the Russian gentry, whose well-being is reflected throughout the Homeland—consists of our small families. Therefore, any improvement of family life will undoubtedly benefit the Homeland.”45 The state described in Fénelon’s novel, the state of Salenta, is a class-based agrarian monarchy. All citizens, starting with the supreme ruler, lead a moderate way of life and work selflessly for the common good. The landlords understood and sympathized with this idea of a prosperous state and it served for them as an example to follow.

34Chernavin and Chikhachev constantly turned their attention to the utopian novel Numa, or the Flourishing Rome (Numa, ili protsvetaiushchii Rim, 1793), which was written by a Russian follower of Fénelon, Mikhail Kheraskov. The novel concerns a rural philosopher who was chosen for his virtues to be the Roman emperor. Chernavin and Chikhachev even tried to translate into French this treasure trove of socio-political ideas and ethical norms that never lost its relevance for them.

35The estate libraries contained works by Russian authors of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries: fables by Ivan Khemnitser, Ivan Dmitriev, and Ivan Krylov, poems by Aleksandr Sumarokov and Gavriil Derzhavin, the poem by Ivan Bogdanovich Dushenka, an Ancient Novel in Free Verse (Dushen’ka, drevniaia povest’ v vol’nykh stikhakh, 1783), mythological novel Cadmus and Harmonia (Kadmii i Garmoniia, 1789) by Mikhail Kheraskov, the tragedies of Vladislav Ozerov and Aleksandr Sumarokov. They enjoyed rereading old books. They memorized words of wisdom and little sayings from those books and quoted them on occasion. The fact that their interest in writers of the past had not faded is evidenced by the fact that the landlords followed the release of new editions of such authors’ works. Thus, in 1843, Chernavin intended to acquire the newly published Works by Gavriil Derzhavin (1843).

  • 46   See Zorin, “A Reading Revolution? The Concept of Reader in the Russian Literature of Sensibility, (...)
  • 47   D. 54, l. 18.

36Both the way of thinking and the emotional world of the provincial gentry was formed under the influence of literature of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.46 Chikhachev considered the most important of the human virtues to be “sensitivity” and “poetism,” that is, kindness, sincerity, ability to admire the sublime things and to enjoy the beautiful, and the ability to express your thoughts and feelings orally and in writing. Chikhachev cherished the movements of his soul, even the fleeting ones, and wanted to preserve the memory of them both for himself and for posterity. In order to “not lose his feelings,”47 he and his family kept diaries for many years.

  • 48 A. I. Chikhachev’s letter to priest M. V. Milovskii (1859), GAIO, f. R-255, d. 101, l. 20.
  • 49   D. 54, l. 8.

37Remembering his childhood, Chikhachev linked the awakening of strong and sublime emotions with one book—The Golden Mirror for Children (Zolotoe zerkalo dlia detei, 1787), a collection of moralistic stories for children edited by Joachim Campe and Arnaud Berquin: “I remember well the first emergence of my sensitivity. I had just learned to read and was moved to tears by an illustration in The Golden Mirror of a dying mother, beside whom her obedient daughter was kneeling.”48 Chikhachev wanted to see his children become “virtuous, sensitive, and compassionate to their neighbor.”49 Reading played an important role in the development of these qualities. In 1836 Andrei Ivanovich gave the The Golden Mirror to his ten-year-old son Alesha, who was absolutely fascinated by it.

38As we can see, in the 1830s, Chikhachev remained true to the ideals that developed in his youth under the influence of sentimental literature. Throughout the first third of the nineteenth century, the Chikhachevs and Chernavin continued to reread the works of English, French, and German Sentimentalists: Laurence Sterne, Jean-Francois Marmontel, August Lafontain, August von Kotzebue, Madeleine-Félicité de Genlis, and others. In 1835, Chernavin lent Chikhachev Sterne’s book A Sentimental Journey, which gave the name to the entire literary movement. It was a translation into Russian called Yorick’s Journey through France (Puteshestvie Iorika po Frantsii, 1806).

  • 50   D. 54. L. 42 ob.
  • 51   D. 59. L. 42.

39Chikhachev felt a unique timeless sense of spiritual closeness with the founder of Russian sentimentalism, Nikolai Karamzin. He admired the beauty of his soul, as well as the skill with which the author of Letters of the Russian Traveler (Pis’ma russkogo puteshestvennika, 1797-1801) expressed his emotions: “I like his style so much, some very simple feeling is expressed so sweetly that I would have liked to be acquainted with him, to be his friend. It seems like his feelings are my own.”50 In 1835, Chikhachev acquired the book Karamzin’s Spirit, or Chosen Thoughts and Feelings by this Author (Dukh Karamzina, ili izbrannye mysli i chuvstvovaniia sego pisatelia, 1827), edited by Nikolai Ivanchin-Pisarev and, while reading it, repeatedly exclaimed: “He is my second self.”51

  • 52   N. M. Karamzin, “Pis’mo sel’skogo zhitelia,” in Idem, Izbrannye sochineniia, 2 vols (Moscow, Leni (...)
  • 53   A. I. Chikhachev, “Tserkovnoe ktitorstvo,” Zemledel’cheskaia gazeta, June 14, 1857.
  • 54   A. I. Chikhachev, “Neskol’ko myslei sel’skogo zhitelia (Avtobiograficheskoe),” Vladimirskie guber (...)

40Landowners read Poor Liza (Bednaia Liza, 1792) and other stories by Karamzin, as well as the articles from his collected works available in the estate library. The article “A letter of a villager” (“Pis’mo sel’skogo zhitelia,” 1803) was particularly important for the Dorozhaevo owner. Records of him reading it can be found in his diary of 1831. Chikhachev firmly adopted Karamzin’s idea that “the main right of the Russian nobleman is to be a landowner, and his main duty is to be a good landowner; one who performs this duty, serves the homeland as a faithful son, and serves the monarch as a faithful subject.”52 Karamzin’s words brought greater meaning to the landowner’s life; they convinced him that, even without ever leaving his estate, he could “live, work and be useful not only for himself and his family.”53 This is exactly how Chikhachev understood his civic duty: “I find nothing more majestic than proper, orderly, pious governance of one’s land.”54

41The idyllic-minded landowners enjoyed the pictures of farming and happy family life in the heart of nature depicted in classic Sentimentalist works such as Louisa, or the Cottage on the Moor (Luiza, ili khizhina sredi mkhov, 1790) by Elizabeth Helme, The New Marmontel’s Novels, Published by N. Karamzin (Novye Marmontelevy povesti, izdannye Karamzinym, 1794, 1798) of Jean-Francois Marmontel, New Family Paintings, or The Life of a Poor Priest of One Village and His Children (Novye semeistvennye kartiny, ili Zhizn’ bednogo sviashchennika odnoi derevni i ego detei, 1805–1806), Amalia Gorst, or The Mystery of Being Happy (Amalia Gorst, ili Taina byt’ schastlivym, 1818), Baron Bergedorf, or the Rules Based on Virtue (Baron Bergedorf, ili pravila osnovannye na dobrodeteli, 1823) by August Lafontaine, and The Blessings of Morpheus (Blagodeiania Morfeia, 1784) by Francois Turban.

  • 55   Numerous evidence of the wide dissemination of the mystery literature and horror literature, espe (...)

42Descriptions of the afterlife and terrible atrocities frightened the peaceful inhabitants of the estates. So it is no surprise that they did not read the English Gothic novels by Ann Radcliffe, Horace Walpole, and Matthew Gregory Lewis, which were extremely popular at the time.55 The genre of the German light novels (bandit and horror novels by Heinrich Zschokke, Christian-August Vulpius, Achim Von Arnim) was represented in their reading circle by only one book: The Life, Opinions and Strange Adventures of Erasmus Schleicher, The Traveling Mechanic (Zhizn’, mnenia i strannye prikliuchenia Erazma Shleikhera, stranstvuiushchego mekhanika, 1802) by Carl Gottlob Cramer. Christian-Heinrich Spiess, another creator of bandit novels, was known to the landowners only as the author of the book The Biographies of Mad Men, published in Russia under the title Crazy, or in Disgrace with Fortune (Sumasshedshie, ili gonimye sud’boiu, 1816).

43The destructive power of feeling as depicted by Germaine de Staël, Ernst Hoffmann, Benjamin Constant, and other Romantic writers also aroused fear in the landowners. Books, according to Chikhachev, should soothe raging passions rather than inflame them. Apparently, that is why, out of the entire bulk of foreign Romantic literature of the first two decades of the nineteenth century, the landowners were only familiar with Russian translations of François-René de Chateaubriand’s Atala (1802), Friedrich Schiller’s tragedy Wilhelm Tell (Russian trans. Vil’gelm Tell’, 1829) and George Byron’s poem The Bride of Abydos (Russian trans. Nevesta Abidosskaia, 1826).

  • 56   Which romantic books exactly they read right after their publication remains unknown, since the C (...)

44The works of the Russian Romantics, written in the 1820s, were not re-read by the landowners in the following decade, except for the early poems by Aleksandr Pushkin, poems by Vasilii Zhukovskii, and a collection of fantastic novels titled The Double, or My Evenings in Malorossia (Dvoinik, ili moi vechera v Malorossii, 1828) by Aleksei Perovskii (pseudonym Antonii Pogorelskii). 56

  • 57   Eleven years later, in the first year of his service in Vilnius, Aleksei Chikhachev, being homesi (...)
  • 58   See T. N. Golovina, “Eshche odin spisok ‘Goria ot uma’,” in D. L. Lakerbai (ed.), Potaennaia lite (...)
  • 59   D. 66, l. 16.

45Chikhachev came across Aleksandr Griboedov’s comedy Woe from Wit (Gore ot uma) only 12 years after it had been written (1824). Why the Kovrov landowners sought to obtain not the printed version of the comedy, published in Moscow in 1833, but rather its handwritten copy, remains unclear. Apparently, even provincial readers, far removed from the literary circles, were aware that the published text of the comedy was heavily censored. Chikhachev read the comedy four times in a row, and made it into an evening reading for the whole family. There is no information in the diaries regarding how the reading went. But there is no doubt that everyone, including the ten-year-old Aleksei, liked the comedy.57At night, Chikhachev began to copy the text. Due to lack of time, he managed to copy only fragments of it, specifically the first act and the monologues by Famusov, Khlestova, Molchalin, and Chatskii, and later regretting not having copied it in full.58 The comedy made such a strong impression on the Dorozhaevo owner that he “caught the rhyming bug,” and for several weeks thereafter he corresponded with his brother-in-law partly in verse: “You see what it means to read Woe from Wit for the fourth time,” he wrote, “There’re rhymes at the tip of my pen and I can’t do away with them” (“Stikhi sami l’nut k peru, tak chto ikh nikak ne otderu”).59

46Thus, we have seen that in the 1830s, the landowners did not lose interest in the literature of the past. However, the pride of place within the range of their literary interests was held by the most recent works in Russian fiction, as well as recent translations of foreign books. What subject matter was the most interesting for them to read about?

  • 60   See A. I. Chikhachev, “Patrioticheskoe sochuvstvie k uchilishchu sel’skogo khoziaistva dlia potom (...)
  • 61   For more information on the estate chronotope, see T. N. Golovina, “Obrazy vremeni i prostranstva (...)
  • 62   D. 57, l. 41.

47In 1830s, history books were of the greatest interest for the landowners. But before we review them, we should mention a special ‘country’ perception of time that existed within estate life. Being “farmers” (Chikhachev insisted that landowners should not only be landowners, but also farmers),60 the masters shared with their peasants the idea of time as an endless cycle. At the same time, they had the inherent belief in progress, personal development of an individual, and the development of the humanity in general, like all the educated people of their era.61 The dual time perception (as both cyclical and linear) generated conflicting states of mind. The joy derived from the stability of the universe, the satisfaction coming from the firm order of the daily life, and the bliss of harmonious coexistence with nature were suddenly replaced by very different moods—for example, annoyance at monotonous existence and boredom: “It has been a while since I was as much bored as I am today! I’ve been alone all day, and what bores me even more, there’s nothing to read!”62 At such moments, the landowners felt themselves falling behind from the progressive course of history. Any evidence of progress fascinated them. But their delight at the advancement of science and technology was often mixed with bitterness from not being involved in any of it themselves:

  • 63   D. 58, l. 83 ob.

What a century it is, the century of Nicholas! After all, this thing does not walk and does not ride, but it flies. How is that even possible? At the speed with which the light and the sound travel! If I were a good scientist, I could make a big discovery at this time and get it published. That would be a great good and my living tribute.63

48Unable to live ‘historically’ in the present, the landowners mentally immersed themselves in their past when they were the ones to witness significant events. For Chikhachev, these were the memories of fleeing Moscow from the French in 1812 and then returning to the looted and burned city. For Chernavin it was participating in the Russian-Turkish military campaign (1828–1829) and in the Civil War in Greece (1831–1832).

  • 64   See, for example: M. G. Al’tshuller, Epokha Valtera Skotta v Rossii: Istoricheskii roman 1830-kh (...)

49Books helped them extend the axis of time even further into history. In the 1830s there was a real ‘historic boom’ in Dorozhaevo and Berezovik, just as everywhere else in Russia64. The landowners studied scientific works on Russian history, in particular History of the Russian State (Istoriia gosudarstva rossiiskogo, 1818) by Nikolai Karamzin, History of the Russian People (Istoriia russkogo naroda, 1829–1833) by Nikolai Polevoi, and Russia in Historical, Statistical, Geographical and Literary Terms (Rossiia v istoricheskom, statisticheskom, geograficheskom i literaturnom otnoshenii, 1836–1837) by Faddei Bulgarin and Nikolai Ivanov. Coming across his own last name, and the last name of his close relatives the Zamytskiis, Chikhachev was proud to feel the connection to his lineage, whose history was inseparable from that of his homeland.

  • 65   For the complete list of research on history, memoirs, and biographies of historic figures read b (...)

50Reading so many historical works and memoirs, not only about figures from the past, like the biography Real Anecdotes from the Life of Peter the Great (Podlinnye anekdoty o Petre Velikom, 1786) by Jakob von Stählin, but also about individuals from his own time like Suvorov, Aleksandr I, and Napoleon, helped him connect his personal experience with recent European history. He read The Life and Military Feats of the Generalissimus Prince of Italy, Count Suvorov-Rymnikskii (Zhizn’ i voennye deianiia generalissimusa, kniazia italiiskogo, grafa Suvorova-Rymnikskogo, 1804) by Johann Friedrich Anthing, Chosen Excerpts from the Most Memorable Speeches and Anecdotes by the August Emperor Aleksandr I, the Peacemaker of Europe (Izbrannye cherty dostopamiatneishchikh izrechenii i anekdoty avgusteishego imperatora Aleksandra I, mirotvortsa Evropy, 1826–1827), The Life of Napoleon Buonaparte by Walter Scott in Russian translation (Zhizn’ Napoleona Bonaparta, imperatora frantsuzov,1831–1832), or Bourrienne’s Notes on Napoleon, the Directory, the Consulate, the Empire and the Bourbon ascension to the Throne of the Bourbons (Zapiski Burienna o Napoleone, Direktorii, Konsul’stve, Imperii i vosshestvii, 1831–1836) and many more.65 Chikhachev’s opinion of Bourienne’s memoirs of Napoleon shows his critical awareness of the different parties that contended for the symbolic legacy of that great historical figure. He wrote:

  • 66   D. 66, l. 80.

It seems like one can trust the words of Mr Bourienne to be true. He does not hide any of the errors or weaknesses of Napoleon. On the contrary, recognizing all his merits, he highlights his errors and weaknesses very well; and every time, when it is the case, he thoroughly proves wrong both the negative things written about Napoleon, and the flattering ones reported by the gentlemen who wanted to adulate him, and thus reasoned and wrote in a biased way.66

51A greater sense of identification may have led Chikhachev to read many Russian historical memoirs on the 1812 war, an event that had touched him closely when he was 14 years old; these included Memoirs of a Gunner on the Military Campaigns from 1812 to 1816 (Pokhodnye zapiski artillerista s 1812 po 1816, 1835) by Il’ia Radozhitskii, or the famous Letters of a Russian Officer (Pis’ma russkogo ofitsera, 1815) by Fedor Glinka.

52The Berezovik and Dorozhaevo libraries also had textbooks on history: Russian History for Initial Reading (Russkaia istoriia dlia pervonachal’nogo chtenia, 1836) by Nikolai Polevoi, An Outlined History of the State of Russia (Nachertanie istorii gosudarstva Rossiiskogo, 1829) by Ivan Kaidanov, Russian History for the Benefit of Family Education (Russkaia istoriia v pol’zu semeinogo vospitaniia, 1817–1818) by Sergei Glinka and one of the many Russian editions of Ancient and New History (Drevniaia i novaia istoriia, 1st ed. 1785) by Abbot Milot.

  • 67   See Iu. D. Levin, Prizhiznennaia slava Val’tera Skotta v Rossii,” in M. P. Alekseev (ed.),“Epokh (...)
  • 68   The author and the second part of the title are not stated by Chikhachev. However, the attributio (...)
  • 69   D. 59, l. 26 ob.

53Translations of historical novels and short novels by Jean-Pierre Florian, Madeleine-Félicité de Genlis, Carl Franz Van-der Felder, Auguste Saint-Tomas, Alfred de Vigny, and Charles Robert Maturin were in great demand. The most favored by the landowners was, of course, Walter Scott, whose works became available to provincial readers only after they had been translated into Russian67. In the 1830s Chikhachev and Chernavin read the novels Guy Mannering (Russian trans. Mannering, ili Astrolog, 1824), Woodstock (Russian trans. Vudstoki, 1829), Perth Beauty, or Valentine’s Day68 (Russian trans. Pertskaia krasavitsa, ili Valentinov den’, 1829), Rob Roy (Russian trans. Rob-Roi, 1829), The Monastery (Russian trans. Monastyr’, 1829) and Dangerous Castle (Russian trans. Opasnyi zamok, 1833). These books had changed hands many times before they got to Dorozhaevo and Berezovik. Anticipating the pleasure of reading Rob Roy, Chernavin wrote to Chikhachev: “We should expect it to be very interesting. A guarantee of this novel’s high quality is its pitiful condition, as apparently it has been the subject of the attention of many people.”69

  • 70   See D. Rebekkini (Rebecchini), “Russkie istoricheskie romany 30-kh gg XIX veka,” Novoe Literaturn (...)
  • 71   D. 66, l. 12.

54But it was the Russian historical novel of the 1830s which most drew the attention of these provincial landowners of that time. Of the 93 Russian historical novels published in 1830s,70 at least 22 passed through their hands (to compare: of the 66 non-historical novels published in the same decade, only 6 are mentioned in the diaries and letters of Chikhachev and Chernavin). The reason for this preference is revealed in Chikhachev’s review of Aleksandr Stepanov’s moralizing novel The Inn. The memoirs of the deceased Gorianov (Postoialyi dvor. Zapiski pokoinogo Gorianova, 1835): “It is an excellent book [...], but it did not impress me as much as Leonid [Rafail Zotov’s historical novel about Napoleon—T. G.] did, and I’m not surprised, because there is a very big difference in the substance of their themes.”71

55Of course, not all Russian historical novels received a positive review from Chikhachev and his family. Thus, the novels Maryna Mniszech, Princess of Sandomierz, Wife of Dimitrii the Usurper (Marina Mnishek, kniazhna Sendomirskaia, zhena Dimitriia Samozvantsa, 1831) by Ivan Gur’ianov, The Justice of Shemiaka, or The Last Discord among the Independent Russian Princes (Shemiakin sud, ili Poslednee mezhdousobie udel’nykh kniazei russkikh, 1832) by Pavel Svin’in, The Fall of Great Novgorod (Padenie velikogo Novgoroda, 1833) by Sergei Liubetskii, Count Oboianskii, or Smolensk in the year 1812 (Graf Oboianskii, ili Smolensk v 1812 godu, 1834) by Nikolai Kon’shin, The Astrologer of Karabakh, or the Establishment of the Fortress of Shushi in 1752 (Karabakhskii astrolog, ili Osnovanie kreposti Shushi v 1752, 1834) by Platon Zubov, and Maluta Skuratov, or the Thirteen Years of the Reign of King John of the Terrible (Maliuta Skuratov, ili Trinadtsat’ let tsarstvovaniia Tsaria Ioanna Vasil’evicha Groznogo, 1833) by an unidentified author were severely criticized for their lack of content, for being implausible, and for being hard to read in terms of their author’s writing style. The novels Harald and Elizabeth, or The Age of Ivan the Terrible (Garal’d i Elizaveta, ili Vek Ioanna Groznogo, 1831) by Vasilii Ertel’, The Fall of the Shuiskies, or the Dark Times in Russia (Padenie Shuiskikh, ili Vremena bedstvii Rossii, 1836) by Aleksandr Kislov, Prince Skopin-Shuiskii, or Russia at the Beginning of the Seventeenth century (Kniaz’ Skopin-Shuiskii, ili Rossiia v nachale XVII stoletiia, 1835) by Olimpiada Shishkina, Providence, or the Event of Eighteenth Century (Providenie, ili Sobytie XVIII veka, 1837) and The Gypsy, or the Terrible Revenge (Tsygan, ili Uzhasnaia mest’, 1838) by Ivan Steven, historical short novels by Sergei Liubetskii from the collection of short novels called The Russian Sheherezada (Russkaia Shekherezada,1836) and the works of Egor Alad’in from the collection Short Novels (Povesti, 1833) all apparently failed to make a strong impression on these discerning readers, and therefore were left without any reviews.

  • 72   Ibid., l. 89 ob.

56Konstantin Massal’skii’s work The Regency of Biron (Regenstvo Birona, 1834) was praised by Chernavin for his “respectable style and the entertaining subject matter,” but criticized by Chikhachev: “If I were a grand commandant, I would call up Bulgarin and order him […] to make some corrections and small changes here and there and then I would be able to enjoy this book about Biron as much as I feel indignant about the former existence of (the living) Biron himself.”72

57Faddei Bulgarin, Mikhail Zagoskin, Rafail Zotov and Ivan Lazhechnikov were the family’s undisputed and constant favorites among historical novelists. Much effort was made by the Dorozhaevo and Berezovik owners to get hold of the popular novels Dimitrii the Usurper (Dimitrii Samozvanets, 1830) and Mazepa (1833–1834) by Bulgarin, Iurii Miloslavskii, or Russians in 1612 (Iurii Miloslavskii, ili Russkie v 1612 godu, 1829), Roslavlev, or The Russians in 1812 (Roslavlev, ili Russkie v 1812 godu, 1831) and Askol’dova’s Tomb. A Tale from the Times of Vladimir (Askol’dova mogila. Povest’ iz vremen Vladimira, 1833) by Zagoskin, Leonid, or Some aspects of Napoleon’s Life (Leonid, ili Nekotorye cherty iz zhizni Napoleona, 1832), The Mysterious Monk (Tainstvennyi monakh, 1834), Niklas, Bear’s Paw, or Some Aspects of the life of Frederick II (Niklas, Medvezhia lapa, ili Nekotorye cherty iz zhizni Fridrikha II, 1837) and Fra-Diavolo, or the Last Years of Venice (Fra-Diavolo, ili Poslednie gody Venetsii, 1839) by Zotov, The Ice House (Ledianoi dom, 1835) and The Last Novik, or The Conquest of Lifland in the Reign of Peter the Great (Poslednii Novik, ili Zavoevanie Lifliandii v tsarstvovanie Petra Velikogo, 1831–1833) by Lazhechnikov. These works were reread multiple times and always with delight.

58As for the qualities that were most appreciated in these historical novels, we can learn much from the letter of Chikhachev to Chernavin:

  • 73   D. 58, l. 60.

Mr. Leonid [the main character of one of Zotov’s novels—T. G.] has interested me so much that […] I literally did not move for two days, until I read the novel’s very last page [...] When you compare it with Bourrienne [Bourrienne’s Notes on Napoleon—T. G.], you can make your own remarks: How closely you think the author describes the character of Napoleon?73

  • 74   Ibid.
  • 75   Ibid.

59As we can see, as readers, they primarily expected the fiction writer to be authentic, and compared the artistic portrayal with the testimony of a memoirist. Chikhachev went on to note that “the style of the work is very clear, it is remarkably well-planned, and there are lot of fresh ideas.”74 In conclusion, he once again praises Zotov for his detailed and, as he believed it to be, accurate account of political and military events: “Among the many scenes, those that interested me the most were the diplomatic scenes. It seems that Mr. Zotov knows his stuff when he writes these scenes. Everything regarding Napoleon, the military actions, and the negotiations is really compelling.”75

  • 76   D. 57, l. 39 ob.
  • 77   S. T. Aksakov, Sobranie sochinenii, v trekh tomakh (Moscow, 1986), vol. 3, 353.
  • 78   V. G. Belinskii, Sobranie sochinenii, v deviati tomakh (Moscow, 1976), vol. 1, 118.

60Chikhachev noted and particularly praised the accurate recreation of the national flavor in the novel Iurii Miloslavskii: “Zagoskin could not have written his Iurii Miloslavskii so well if he had not so attentively observed the formation of the various ranks of our masses.”76 It is noteworthy that this assessment coincided with the opinion of literary critics, who praised Zagoskin for the accurate representation of the “physiognomy of the people: their characters, habits, customs, dress, and language”77 and the depiction of the “vivid pictures of the daily existence of a simple man.”78

  • 79   D. 66, l. 30.
  • 80   D. 95,l. 8 ob.

61Being sensitive readers, Chikhachev and Chernavin were very concerned about the moral aspect of historical conflicts. Thus, Chernavin was struck by “all the horrors of the reign of Ivan the Terrible and all the abominations of the villain Skuratov”79 described in the novel Maliuta Skuratov. On the other hand, Vladimir Solonitsyn’s “glorious, wonderful story” The Tsar is the Hand of God (Tsar’ – ruka Bozhiia), published in the magazine Moskvitianin (The Muscovite) in 1841, caused him to shed tears.80 The discussion of the novel The Regency of Biron turned into an exchange of views on the characters of historical figures and an ethical assessment of their actions.

  • 81   See Rebecchini, “The Success of the Russian Novel,” in the present volume.

62Thanks to Zagoskin, Lazhechnikov, and other historical novelists, the landowners were able to make the long hours of their leisure time pleasant and useful. They learned from historical novels about the events of the distant and recent past, and about the personalities of historical figures. They also learned moral lessons of courage, honor, and devotion to the Homeland. And the best thing was that all of it was presented in the form of entertaining and emotional stories about the adventures and romantic experiences of fictional characters. This was what the estate dwellers found the most appealing about historical fiction.81

  • 82   D. 57, l. 41 ob.
  • 83   Ibid., l. 15.
  • 84   D. 58, l. 70 ob.
  • 85   D. 57, l. 51 ob.

63Travel notes firmly occupied the second place among the reading interests of Chikhachev and Chernavin. And this is no accident: while historical books extended the time frame of the estate chronotope, the travelogues pushed its geographical boundaries. The estate dwellers’ perception of space was as dual as their perception of time. On the one hand, they considered their little world remote and secluded. “We live in the most deserted area, where not a bird would fly, nor a living soul would pass,”82 complained Natalia Ivanovna, the wife of Chikhachev. Chernavin, a retired sailor well accustomed to the sea, lamented his fate, “which has decreed” that he “live in the forest and be surrounded by mountains.”83 All he could do was keep recalling and listing the cities that he had visited while serving in the navy: Copenhagen, Portsmouth, Bristol, Naples, Rome, Athens... Chernavin calculated the distances from the village of Berezovik to the “most renowned cities”: it was 665 versts to St. Petersburg, 200 to Moscow, 1708 to Berlin, 1785 to Vienna, 2541 to Paris, 2534 to London, 5101 to Calcutta, 5421 to Beijing, etc. Chikhachev had a passionate desire to visit at least Moscow where he had spent his childhood: “I want to go to Presn’ia, I want to go to Lafertovo, I want to go to Devich’e, to the Kuznetskii Bridge, I want to go to the Kremlin, I want to go to Arbat!”84 But the landowners rarely left their province. They tried to overcome the isolation and remoteness of their world with works of art that revived their memories and aroused their imaginations. So Chikhachev acquired engravings with views of Moscow and, looking at them, “got immediately transported to the capital city” in his imagination.85 He also had prints with views of Rome, Venice, and London in his house. Imagination not only allowed them to escape from their remote corner of the world, but it also helped transform this corner itself. All it took was to rename it. They ended up giving more attractive European names to their estates, and in their correspondence they jokingly called Dorozhaevo “Paris,” while Berezovik was “Napoli di Romagna” and Epidaurus, the Borduki estate was Voltaire’s “Ferney” or “Bor d’Uki,” and the estate Chernetsy-Vorotynskie belonging to their friend Maria Izmailova was Athens.

  • 86   For the complete list, see T. N. Golovina, “Iz kruga chteniia pomeshchikov,” 392-395.

64As one can see, the life of the inhabitants of the estates proceeded in two spaces simultaneously: real—comfortable, familiar, but mundane, cramped and isolated from the big world; and imaginary—limitless, attractive, but accessible only in fantasies and memories. This great world was what the landlords discovered through travel books. Chikhachev and Chernavin read factually accurate and detailed reports on scientific and military expeditions, descriptions of pilgrimages to holy places, guides, reference books, atlases, and geography textbooks.86 But pride of place in the range of their literary interests was held by travelogues. One of their most beloved books was Letters of a Russian Traveler (Pis’ma russkogo puteshestvennika, 1797–1801) by Nikolai Karamzin. It charmed the dweller of Dorozhaevo not only with its colorful descriptions of overseas countries, but also with its detailed depictions of the traveler’s emotions. In his library, Chernavin also had an essay by the founder of the genre of the sentimental journey Lawrence Sterne, whom Karamzin called his teacher. Another book that influenced the author of Letters of a Russian Traveler was the book The Journey of Mr. Dupaty to Italy, in Letters (Puteshestvie g. Diupati v Italiiu v pis’makh, 1800–1801) by Charles Marguerite Dupaty, which was kept in the Dorozhaevo library. In 1835, impressed by his brother-in-law’s stories about Italy, Chikhachev reread this book he had known since childhood.

  • 87   In 1830–1833 they served together on the frigate Princess Lovich (Kniaginia Lovich). Bazili serve (...)
  • 88   D. 59, l. 25 ob.

65Not only the hereditary sailor Chernavin, but also his brother-in-law were interested in depictions of life at sea. Together, they read Sea Scenes (Morskie stseny, 1836) by Nil Davydov, Notes of a Naval Officer (Zapiski morskogo ofitsera, 1818–1819) and Journey from Trieste to St. Petersburg (Puteshestvie ot Triesta do Sankt-Peterburga, 1828) by Vladimir Bronevskii, Constantinople Essays (Ocherki Konstantinopolia, 1835), The Archipelago and Greece in 1830 and 1831 (Archipelag i Gretsiia v 1830 i 1831 godakh, 1834) and The Bosphorus and New Essays on Constantinople (Bosfor i novye ocherki Konstantinopolia, 1836) by Konstantin Bazili. Chernavin received the books of Bazili as a gift from the author himself, who was his “good acquaintance and fellow-officer.”87 The captain-lieutenant was very pleased to read them, because the places and events described in them were “still fresh in his memory.”88 Later, Chernavin came across travel notes of the Irish priest Robert Walsh, titled Traveling in Turkey from Constantinople to England, through Vienna (Puteshestvie po Turtsii iz Konstantinopolia v Angliiu, cherez Venu, 1829).

  • 89   K. Pickering Antonova does not agree with this assertion (see K. Pickering Antonova, Gospoda Chik (...)

66The former sailor mentions three descriptions of round-the-world expeditions in his papers: A Universal Journey around the World (Vseobshchee puteshestvie vokrug sveta, 1835–1837), composed by Jules Dumont-D’urville from the works of famous seafarers, A Journey around the World (Puteshestvie vokrug sveta, 1834–1836) by Fedor Litke and Impressions of a Sailor During Two Voyages around the World (Vpechatleniia moriaka vo vremia dvukh puteshestvii krugom sveta, 1840) by Vasilii Zavoiko. However, not all the members of the family possessed an interest in travel notes. Natal’ia Ivanovna, for instance, did not share the same passion for this kind of literature as her brother and husband.89

  • 90   V. Faibyshenko,Mezhdunarodnaia konferentsiia ‘Nash XIX vek. Fenomen kul’tury i istoricheskoe po (...)

67Among the above mentioned travelogues there are no descriptions of trips around Russia. According to researchers, in the minds of Russians of the eighteenth–early nineteenth centuries, “traveling is, above all, traveling abroad.”90 Chikhachev was saddened by this state of affairs:

  • 91   D. 54, l. 43.

I read Karamzin—I admire him, but at the same time I think: “Why isn’t there a book Traveling in Russia written by him, or hasn’t he traveled in Russia?” I would only let my son go abroad when he firmly knew his homeland and has certainly traveled to all the provinces [...] having learned the national history really well. Because what is the point of looking at things abroad without knowing anything at home?91

68At the same time, he was, for whatever reason, not familiar with the works of the followers of Karamzin who wandered around his native country—Vladimir Izmailov, Pavel Sumarokov, Maksim Nevzorov, and Petr Shalikov.

  • 92   N. A. Khokhlova, “Murav’ev Andrei Nikolaevich,” Russkie pisateli 1800–1917: Biograficheskii slova (...)
  • 93   For evidence of the enormous success of Traveling to Russian Holy Places, see: A. Kaplin, “Predis (...)
  • 94   D. 95, l. 46.

69The landlords read descriptions of pilgrimages to the holy places. Among those, they especially noted the works of Andrei Murav’ev, who “laid the foundations for a new variety of spiritual and church literature, giving it some features of artistic narration” and making it “more accessible and appealing to the general reader.”92 Chernavin purchased the third edition of Travels to Holy Places in the year of 1830 (Puteshestvia po sviatym mestam v 1830 godu, 1835), which described Murav’ev’s pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and he re-read the book multiple times. This book was in great demand:93 many of Chernavin’s friends asked to borrow it. The descriptions of domestic shrines were read about with great reverence in Murav’ev’s book Traveling to Russian Holy Places. Trinity Lavra, Rostov, New Jerusalem, Valaam (Puteshestvie po sviatym mestam russkim. Troitskaia Lavra, Rostov, Novyi Ierusalim, Valaam, 1836). “Andrei Nikolaevich writes so sweetly,”94 exclaimed Chikhachev, because Murav’ev’s style reminded him of the manner of his beloved Karamzin.

  • 95   See Rebecchini, “The Success of the Russian Novel,” in the present volume.
  • 96   Iu. Shtridter, Plutovskoi roman v Rossii: k istorii russogo romana do Gogolia (Moscow, St.Petersb (...)
  • 97   For a variety of evidence of its phenomenal success among contemporary readers, see A. I. Reitbla (...)

70In third place among the range of the reading interests of the landed gentry, following the books of historical content and travelogues, were Russian moral and satirical novels95 and essays on modern life, including rural life. And although the time and space that were described in them were well known to the landlords, reading these books proved both useful (through learning about people and themselves, correcting their morals) and fascinating (through entertaining plot, humor, everyday language). At the top of this list of authors is Faddei Bulgarin, thanks to whom “the national novel has won a wide reading audience.”96 In their diaries and letters, the Chikhachev spouses and Chernavin mention only Memorial Notes of the Titular Adviser Chukhin (Pamiatnye zapiski tituliarnogo sovetnika Chukhina, 1835) out of all Bulgarin’s moral and satirical novels. Judging by the fact that the book was re-read more than once, they really liked it. It is surprising, though, that we do not see the name of the first and most famous of Bulgarin’s novels, Ivan Vyzhigin (1829),97 in the documents from the estate archive. It was probably read shortly after its publication, and the earliest surviving diaries of Chikhachev, Chikhacheva, and Chernavin are dated 1831, 1835, and 1834, respectively.

  • 98   D. 58, l. 179 ob.
  • 99   Ibid.
  • 100  D. 57, l. 73.
  • 101   For more detail about the way that landowners felt about Bulgarin, see: T. N. Golovina, “Golos iz (...)

71Bulgarin’s moral essays, being topical, witty, and edifying, glued readers to the page. The Dorozhaevo landowner called Bulgarin “his favorite writer and the greatest of friends.”98 “Say what you like, but my dear Faddei Venediktovich is a sensible, smart and sincere writer,”99 said Chikhachev. “All of his articles are good without exception, and it’s very difficult for me to recall an article that I would have liked more than another—everything is good,”100 his brother-in-law agreed with him.101

  • 102   N. N. Akimova, “Bulgarin i Gogol (massovoe i elitarnoe v russkoi literature: problema avtora i ge (...)
  • 103   D. 54, l. 6 ob. Untill now, it remains uncertain whether Aleksandr Boshniak or Pavel Svin’in is t (...)
  • 104   Ibid., l. 7.

72“A clear, understandable, and stable picture of the world, with a clear separation of good and evil,”102 undisguised didacticism—everything that seemed dated in the eyes of literary critics and the sophisticated metropolitan audience did not bother provincial readers. So, in 1831, the Chikhachev spouses were introduced to the anonymously published novel Iagub Skupalov, or The Corrected Husband (Iagub Skupalov, ili Ispravlennyi muzh, 1830), which they “loved very much.”103 The Dorozhaevo landowner found that there were “a lot of fair moral teachings, including regarding me personally. On y se reconnaît involontairement.”104

  • 105   See, for example, V. A. Ushakov, “Novye knigi,” Severnaia pchela, November 3, 1832; and N. I. Nad (...)

73The moralizing novels The Kholmskii Family (Semeistvo Kholmskikh, 1832) by Dmitrii Begichev, The Black Woman (Chernaia zhenshchina, 1834) by Nikolai Grech, The Inn. The Memoirs of the Deceased Gorianov (Postoialyi dvor. Zapiski pokoinogo Gorianova, 1835) by Aleksandr Stepanov, and The Love of My Neighbor (Liubov’ moego soseda, 1834) by Nikolai Lutkovskii appealed to Chernavin and Chikhachev with their satirical and idyllic depictions of the metropolitan and provincial life, accurate representations of members of different social classes, and the abundance of moralistic maxims that so irritated literary critics.105 Here is Chikhachev’s review of Stepanov’s novel:

  • 106   D. 59, l. 127.

What writing skills! What a knowledge of the human heart and passions! How masterfully the writer captured and described the personality of each character! How witty it is, how many edifying scenes. And all of it is so sweet, interesting, and proper; the language or the style of the writing is so genteel, such that it is transparent and clear, there is no ambiguity, but it is not boring either. A book that no matter how many times you have read it, when you read it again, you can be sure that you will enjoy it anew.106

  • 107   Ibid., l. 30 ob.

74The landowners liked not only moralizing novels and essays that retained a connection with the traditions of the previous literary era, but also trendy romantic novels and various kinds of short stories (love, Caucasian, etc.). The main requirements were that they are able to “seduce, delight, charm, engage”107 and at the same time inspire deep reflections and profound feelings in their readers. The works of Aleksandr Bestuzhev (pseud. Marlinskii), Nikolai Polevoi, and Vasilii Ushakov were fully consistent with these requirements.

  • 108   Ibid., l. 7 ob.
  • 109   A. M. [A. A. Bestuzhev], “Chasy i zerkalo,” in Severnaia pchela, January 30, 1831.

75Marlinskii’s two-volume Russian Short Novels and Stories (Russkie povesti i rasskazy, 1832, 1834) was read twice by Chikhachev and Chernavin, in 1836 and 1837. By that time, the landowners had already become familiar with Marlinskii’s work from newspaper and magazine publications. “Being a lover of [...] moralizing expressions,”108 Chikhachev copied the maxim, which concludes the novel The Clock and the Mirror (Chasy i zerkalo)109 into his 1831 diary:

  • 110   D. 54, l. 7 ob.

Time always moves evenly, measuring its uniform steps, it is we who are in a hurry to live in our youth and we want to slow it down when it flies away, and therefore we age early without experience, or try to stay young then without youthful beauty. Nobody knows how to use the benefits of their age or see the right time, and everyone is complaining about the clock—that it is either too far ahead or is too far behind.110

  • 111   D. 57, l. 54-55, 58–58 ob. K. Pickering Antonova (Gospoda Chikhachevy, 225-226) considers it to b (...)

76Chernavin liked the ironic assessment of modern literature given by Marlinskii in his feuilleton “The Announcement of the Society of the Adaptation of Exact Sciences to Literature” (‘Ob’’iavlenie ot obshchestva prisposobleniia tochnykh nauk k slovesnosti”) so much, that he spent time rewriting it in full.111

  • 112   D. 57, l. 32 ob. K. Pickering Antonova in her book (see Gospoda Chikhachevy, 207, 209, 218) belie (...)
  • 113  Ibid., l. 3 ob.

77In 1834, Chikhachev and Chernavin enjoyed reading the collection of works by Polevoi titled Dreams and Life (Mechty i Zhizn’, 1833–1834). Published in the Moskovskii telegraf (Moscow Telegraph) (1834), the story Emma by the same author was approved by Chikhachev for its “smooth style, picturesque characters, and convincing ideas.”112 In anticipation of the next issue of the magazine, in which he would read the tale’s ending, the intrigued Chikhachev offered his version of the denouement. He had an assumption, which did not coincide with the author’s intention: he believed that the ending would be a happy one.113

  • 114   Ibid., l. 87.
  • 115   N. I. Nadezhdin, “Letopisi otechestvennoi literatury,” in Idem, Literaturnaia Kritika. Estetika ( (...)
  • 116   D. 57, l. 91.
  • 117   D. 59, l. 57.
  • 118   D. 59, l. 57–57 ob.

78Ushakov’s writings enjoyed great success with the local gentry. According to Chikhachev, in the eighth volume of Biblioteka dlia chteniia of 1835, the story Thunder of God (Grom Bozhii) by Ushakov “was the best piece of prose.”114 His book Leisure of the Disabled (Dosugi invalida,1832–1835), which one Moscow critic called “a lifeless imitation of the Lafontaine family depictions transferred into the Russian framework,”115 was very popular with the provincial admirers of August Lafontaine. “Here, my brother, this is how one should write—this is Mr. Ushakov: a smooth style, so that the book reads effortlessly, bon ton, sensitivity, knowledge of the heart, and experience—all these are virtues Vasilii Apollonovich Ushakov obviously possesses in abundance,”116 expressed Chikhachev in admiration. Chernavin agreed with his brother-in-law: “This is certainly a delightful book!”117 At that time, when pure didacticism was no longer in favor, for Chikhachev it was almost the main advantage of Ushakov’s short novels: “Oh, no! You won’t regret the time spent reading such books. Mother Madame (Matushka-madam) is a glorious lesson to our mothers and fathers. [...] Elevating one’s feelings should be the main point in upbringing and education.”118

79Tales of the Mad (Povesti bezumnogo, 1834) by Il’ia Selivanov, Tales (Povesti, 1833) by Egor Alad’in and The Russian Scheherazade (Russkaia Shekherezada, 1836) by Sergei Liubetskii written in the spirit of the French “frenetic school,” talking about fatal passions and bloody crimes were read, but did not receive the approval of the peaceful inhabitants of the estates.

  • 119   D. 66, l. 130–130 ob.

80The writings of Osip Senkovskii (pseud. Baron Brambeus), published in his journal Biblioteka dlia chteniia as well as separate editions, enjoyed Chernavin’s sustained attention. The book The Fantastic Travels of Baron Brambeus (Fantasticheskie puteshestvia Barona Brambeusa, 1833) was read by the Berezovik gentleman several times in a row with unceasing enthusiasm. Chikhachev, on the other hand, remained indifferent to it, as indeed always happened to him when it came to any other fruits of someone’s overactive imagination: “A fairy tale and nothing more!”119

  • 120   D. 58, l. 26 ob.
  • 121   D. 60, l. 5, 116, 129 ob.

81The picture will be incomplete if we do not talk about contemporary Russian poetry. During the particular decades of interest to us, Russian poetry occupied a modest place in the range of the reading interests of the Chikhachevs. Chikhachev admitted that he was “not familiar with poetry writing” (ne znakom so stikhotvorstvom).120 Indeed, if we look through the pages of the diaries and letters of the landowners, we will only find Zither, or Petty Poems (Tsitra, ili Melkie stikhotvorenia, 1830) by Ivan Gruzinov, The Little Humpbacked Horse. A Russian Fairy Tale (Konek-gorbunok. Russkaia skazka, 1834) by Pavel Ershov, Poems (Stikhotvorenia, 1835) by Evgenii Baratynskii, and, of course, the works of Aleksandr Pushkin. All of these poets are mentioned only once, save Pushkin, who is mentioned dozens of times. The Dorozhaev and Berezovik residents loved and reread, often aloud, not only the novel The Captain’s Daughter (Kapitanskaia dochka, 1836), but Pushkin’s poetry as well. Thus, in Chernavin’s diary we can find that on January 10, 1837 he was visiting the Chikhachevs and listened to the head of the family reciting Eugene Onegin (Evgenii Onegin). On December 22 of the same year, he himself read The Bakhchisarai Fountain (Bakhchisaraiskii fontan) to his friends, and on January 30, 1838, he recited some of Pushkin’s poems (titles not stated)121.

  • 122   D. 95, l. 120 ob.
  • 123   GAIO, f. 12, op. 1, d. 1296, l. 243.
  • 124   According to O. A. Moniakova, who references “Subscription Case for the First Postmortem Edition (...)

82The death of Pushkin in a duel was perceived by the Chikhachevs as a personal tragedy. The Extract of Life (Ekstrakt vsei zhizni)122 compiled by Chikhachev in 1845 lists all of the most important family (!) events. The death of the poet was among the notable events of 1837 that he lists in his family history in addition to the birth of his daughter Varvara, his eldest son Aleksei’s move to be admitted to the Moscow Institute for Nobles (Moskovskii dvorianskii institut), and the beginning of the construction of a new family home. This is the only case when the family chronicle mentions the death of a writer. In February 1837, Chernavin turned to Karetnikov with the following request: “I humbly ask you to lend me for the shortest time those issues of Biblioteka dlia chteniia which contain the poems of the late A. S. Pushkin.”123 After the death of the poet, the landowners not only wanted to re-read, but also to acquire his works. Prior to that, only Eugene Onegin was part of their home libraries. In 1838, Chernavin ordered in Moscow a collection of Poems and Short Novels by A. S. Pushkin (Poemy i povesti A. S. Pushkina), published back in 1835, while Chikhachev signed up to receive his posthumously collected works in eleven volumes (1838–1841),124 having paid a considerable sum of his income—35 rubles in bills.

83In the 1830s, the provincial nobles paid a great deal attention to the most recent publications of foreign literature. However, they did not always speak favorably of them. The landowners got the opportunity to familiarize themselves with these works thanks to book publishers who published multi-volume collections of translations of modern foreign authors: Novels and Literary Passages, Published by N. A. Polevoi (Povesti i literaturnye otryvki, izdannye N. A. Polevym, 1829–1830), Library of Novels and Historical Notes, Published by the Bookseller F. Rotgan (Biblioteka romanov i istoricheskikh zapisok, izdavaemykh knigoprodavtsem F. Rotganom, 1835) and Forty-One Stories by the Best Foreign Writers, Published by Nikolai Nadezhdin (Sorok odna povest’ luchshikh inostrannykh pisatelei, izdannaia Nikolaem Nadezhdinym, 1836). In addition to these titles, they read translations of novels and short stories in the magazines Biblioteka dlia chteniia, Moskovskii telegraf, and Otechestvennye Zapiski (Notes of the Fatherland), and sometimes read other journals as well.

  • 125   D. 66, l. 81 ob.
  • 126   V. G. Belinskii, Sobranie sochinenii, vol. 2, 491.
  • 127   D. 58, l. 127 ob.
  • 128   D. 57, l. 33 ob.
  • 129   Ibid.
  • 130   D. 57, l. 34.

84The most popular of foreign writers was Paul de Kock. According to Chernavin, he had read Paul de Kock’s novel La Maison Blanche (1837) in French “five hundred times”.125 He also read two more works by the same author in the original— The Cuckold (Le Cocu, 1832) and Sister Anna (Soeur Anne, 1825). Chernavin even began to translate Sister Anna from French into Russian, because in his opinion the translation published in Russian did not measure up to the original. As Belinskii had also noted, Paul de Kock in Russian sounded much more vulgar than in French: the original novels “are funnier and more amusing and not as dirty as they sound in Russian translations.”126 In the late 1830s, the landowners reread The Cuckold (Russ. edit. Rogonosets, 1838) and Sister Anna (Sestra Anna, 1834), this time in Russian, as well as several other works by the prolific French fiction writer: The Barber of Paris (Parizhskii Tsiriul’nik, 1831), The Monfermel Milkmaid (Monfermel’skaia molochnitsa, 1832), and The Son of My Wife (Syn moei zheny, 1835). However, they did not agree on their assessment of these works. Here is how unfavorably Chikhachev spoke of the novel The Son of My Wife by Paul de Kock, which he had read in the 1835: “It’s a bunch of idle chatter without any real reflection.”127 Chernavin, obviously, had a different opinion, but this time did not object to his brother-in-law. However, they had a big dispute regarding the novel The Cuckold. Chikhachev was a little cross: “I have read The Cuckold [...], but I cannot find anything sensible or to my taste in it.”128 Chernavin tried to convince him to read further: “Read it again. Really, it’s a good book, and if you do not like the style it’s only the translator’s fault, there are really beautiful passages in this novel which deserve all of the reader’s attention, the translator has left out many things; if you want, when I see you, I’ll tell you what exactly!”129 And yet, having finished the book, Chikhachev still could not appreciate it. In particular, he mentioned the style and especially the ending, which made the whole story immoral in his eyes: “I do not like it. 1. The narration does not flow. 2. The ending is lamentable.”130 Chernavin responded to his brother-in-law:

  • 131   Ibid.

You did not like The Cuckold: what can I say to you? I won’t say anything to you about the style. But why didn’t you like the lamentable ending? Unfortunately, these are things that cannot be helped, and blaming the author for this seems to me a bit unfair. On the other hand, chacun à son goût.131

85It is noteworthy that Chernavin attributed the book’s merits not to an entertaining plot, not to its humor or spicy descriptions (which were normally considered part of the appeal of Kock’s novels), but to some “truly beautiful places.” The Berezovik landowner did not dare to confess to his brother-in-law that he allowed himself to read just for entertainment. From a young age, Chikhachev and Chernavin were accustomed to treat reading as a serious and useful matter. The main requirements for literary works were the educational and moral value of the content. Chernavin did not want to admit that the novels of the trendy French writer did not meet these requirements. Chikhachev had stronger principles, but apparently was not completely honest with himself. Resenting the emptiness and immorality of de Kock’s novels, he still read them, although he did regret the wasted time.

86Other writers such Jules Janin, Victor Hugo, Théophile Gautier were no less popular than de Kock. However, despite having several collections of contemporary European prose in Russian translation, neither Chernavin nor Chikhachev ever cite in their diaries and correspondence the “frenetic school” works by Victor Hugo, Jules Janen or Théophile Gautier. They did not appreciate works of that type for the same reason that they did not become passionate about Gothic fiction. The idyllic atmosphere of their estate did not encourage them to read any of the “frenetic school” with its pessimism, its descriptions of evil and its manifestations of a depraved sensuality.

  • 132   D. 59, l. 55 ob.
  • 133   D. 57, l. 87.
  • 134   Ibid.
  • 135   Ibid.
  • 136   Ibid.
  • 137   See L. Grossman, “Bal’zak v Rossii,” in Literaturnoe nasledstvo (Moscow, 1937), vol. 31-32, 149-3 (...)

87Nevertheless, the inhabitants of Dorozhaevo and Berezovik did read certain works by Honoré de Balzac, Alfred de Vigny, Gustav Druino, Charles Nodier, Frédéric Soulié, Michel Marson, Eugene Sue, and Alexandre Dumas, which Russian critics also considered to be part of the “frenetic school.” They read Balzac’s Old Goriot (Starik Gorio) in two 1835 issues of Biblioteka dlia chteniia. It was a highly abridged and altered edition, accompanied by strongly polemical evaluations penned by the editor Osip Senkovskii, an ardent opponent of “young French literature,” who saw in Balzac a defender of immorality. Obviously, Senkovskii convinced them of his opinion, so Chernavin’s first reaction was decidedly negative: “I don’t really like the author’s, Mr. Balzac’s, way of thinking at all. It seems to me that he philosophizes in too fashionable a way.”132 Chikhachev was impressed with certain “pointy and fresh expressions” that he copied out: “to feel sharp issues with your heart” or “to issue such an ultimatum to a woman.”133 In his eyes, Balzac’s metaphors outlined a completely new relationship between the individual and his inner life and the female sex that he did not seem to share. Other expressions, albeit repulsive, made him ponder. He thought that some of them could incidentally shake the numbed moral conscience of contemporary readers: “‘A body as swollen as the one of a cemetery rat.’ I do not know how you reacted to this expression when you read it,” he wrote to his brother-in-law Chernavin, “but it did shock me: so we will be eaten not only by worms, but also by rats!”134 He reflected, struck by the choice of words that marked such a sharp change from the lexicon of “graveyard” and Sentimental prose, to which he was accustomed, to the much rougher and coarser language of the new French realistic literature. Chikhachev continued following in the same sepulchral vein: “How many vain thoughts and actions can a man be prevented from having and doing, when he thinks of what his body will fall prey to?! However, the expression itself is repulsive (in my opinion).”135 Balzac’s novel in general appeared to Chikhachev “tiring,” and some characters (like Mr. Poiret and Mademoiselle Michonneau) seemed to him “repulsive.”136 Chernavin’s opinion, initially critical, seemed to change over the years—a change in line with Balzac’s increasing success in Russia.137 In 1838, he bought from a peddler the Russian translation of Scenes from Private Life (Scènes de la vie privée, Russ. edit. Stseny iz chastnoi zhizni), published in Russia in 1832-1833, and in the same year he continued to read some of Balzac’s stories (borrowed from a neighboring estate) and his magnificent article, “La Femme de Trente ans,” which he found in the Revue étrangère.

  • 138   D. 60, l. 37.

88In 1837, Chernavin read the novel Balzac’s Walking Stick (Trost´ Balzaka, 1837) by Delphine Gay (pseud. Emile de Girardin), which promised to reveal the secret of Balzac’s gift, that is, the ability to penetrate into areas hidden from outsiders. But the fictitious story about a magic walking stick that could make its owner invisible did not appeal to him: “I´ve read Balzac’s Walking Stick. I didn’t enjoy it much. There is nothing meaningful about it.”138 Chernavin also mentions Theodore Anna’s novel The Duchess of Berry, The Captive in Ble (Gertsoginia Berriiskaia, plennitsa v Ble, 1833–1835) in his diary in 1838, but he does not comment on it in any way.

  • 139   D. 59, l. 51 ob.
  • 140   Most of all, Chikhachev liked the following scenes: “The marriage and description of the family l (...)

89Gustav Druino’s novel, The Green Manuscript (Zelenaia rukopis´, 1833) was evaluated differently by the two landowners. Chernavin liked it. Chikhachev did not agree: “I do not like the book. I do not know why. No idea why. I just do not like it.”139 However, the final part of the book, where the protagonist, previously caught in a maelstrom of passions and having made many mistakes, finally follows his father’s moral guidance and finds peace and happiness in the family life, made him change his mind about the novel.140

  • 141   D. 57, l. 41.
  • 142   D. 95, l. 39 ob. The novel Margarite by Soulié appeared in Notes of The Fatherland, 5 (1842).

90An excerpt from Gilbert and Louis XV (Zhil´bert i Liudovik XV) from the novel Stello, or the Blue Demons (Stello, ili Golubye besy) by Alfred de Vigny, published in Moskovskii telegraf (The Moscow Telegraph) in 1832, did not earn Chikhachev’s approval. According to his ideas, the spirit of deepest despair that permeates the work of Alfred de Vigny was sinful and inspired by the devil: “The Telegraph, which I read every now and then, tells me of the good and of the devil: the latter is a translation from French under the title of Gilbert and Louis XV.”141 Chikhachev also read the novel Margarita by another luminary of the “frenetic school,” Frederic Soulié, but he did not understand it.142

91As could be noted by now, when it comes to contemporary foreign authors, Chikhachev knew mainly the French ones. Writers of other countries did not usually cross his path. However, there were some exceptions. Thus, looking through the magazine Syn otechestva i severnyi arkhiv (Son of the Fatherlandand and the Northern Archive, 1833), Chikhachev stumbled upon the story of an American writer James Kirk Paulding Blue Stocking (Sinie Chulki) from the satirical series Salmagundi, which he really liked.

  • 143   D. 60, l. 94.
  • 144   Ibid., l. 114.
  • 145   F. V. Bulgarin, “Pan Podstolich (Syn Podstoliia), ili Kto my teper’ i chem byt’ mozhem. Administr (...)

92Chernavin was more interested in foreign literature than his brother-in-law and rated it higher as well. He called the short novel Iniesa de La Sierras (In’esa de las Sierras) by Charles Nodier, published in Biblioteka dlia chteniia in 1837, “a delightful story.”143 The novel Tadeusz Resurrected by Michel Masson and Augustus Lusche, published in Russian in 1836 under the title The Hanged Man (Poveshennyi), and the short novel Pascal Bruno by Alexandre Dumas, printed in Revue Étrangère, also received his generous praise. But despite the flattering reviews of Chernavin, these works did not find their way to Dorozhaevo. Chikhachev and his wife preferred the authors who continued the sentimental-idyllic and didactic traditions. They liked the novel A Man in an Unknown World, or the Family of Count *** (Chelovek v neznakomom mire, ili Semeistvo grafa***, 1832) by Carl Gottlieb Samuel Heun (pseud. Heinrich Clauren), a representative of the literary Biedermeier. Much praise was given by Chikhachev to Pan Podstolich. The Country Novel (Pan Podstolich. Roman uezdnyi, 1832–1833), a moral-didactic book by the Polish author Edward Tomasz Massalski which was the continuation of the unfinished Pan of Podstolia (Pan Podstoli) by Ignacy Krasitski: “The book is very interesting.”144 Such a reaction could be prompted by Bulgarin’s laudatory comment about the new Polish novel.145

  • 146   Referring to my article “Iz kruga chteniia pomeshchikov srednei ruki,” K. Pickering Antonova writ (...)

93Being a faithful servant of the throne, a virtuous Christian, a zealous landowner, and a loving head of the family, Chikhachev was looking for literature that would represent the ideals that he was striving to achieve in his life. His favorite literary characters were the ones endowed with high morality, a sense of duty, and were ardent, energetic and selfless, and thus worthy of imitation.146 The literary tastes of Chernavin, who was only six years younger than his brother-in-law, differed from those of Chikhachev. He was annoyed by obsessive moralizing and far-fetched idealization of characters. The retired captain-lieutenant Chernavin, on the other hand—who was lonely in the wilderness of the remote countryside and yearned for the sea and distant lands—gravitated to the latest works of romantic writers. He could truly relate to those characters who were reserved, disappointed, and without a definite life purpose.

  • 147   D. 57, l. 83 ob.
  • 148   Ibid.

94It might seem that the provincial book lovers were “omnivorous” in their reading choices. Chikhachev himself admitted: “It would seem that I could read everything, I would like to firmly contain everything I read in my memory.”147 But then he immediately reminded himself of the true purpose of reading and reproached himself for unworthy intentions: “But for what? It could hardly be for consoling myself through the calamities of life, or bringing some good to my neighbor? No, it is really just for bragging, to be a know-it-all.”148

  • 149   D. 59. L. 50.

95The reading habits of Chikhachev and Chernavin were informed by a youth spent in the Masonic environment. The concept of the book as a treasury of knowledge, ideas and moral standards was firmly engraved in their minds. Reading was not so much a form of rest for them as a serious undertaking, accompanied by equally serious work on matters of self-development. Reading for fun, to satisfy idle curiosity, etc., would mean wasting one’s time.149 Accordingly, literary works were divided by them into “useful” and “efficient” or “worthless” and “empty.”

96The local gentry grew up consuming the literature of the eighteenth–early nineteenth centuries. It influenced the formation of the main “repertoire” of their ideas and feelings: the desire to live in harmony with the world and with oneself, faith in progress, patriotism, the inviolability of moral principles, hard work, a craving for knowledge, a cult of family and friendship, compassion for neighbors, and a love of nature. It also shaped their aesthetic tastes and determined their criteria for evaluating creative works: richness in content, morality, emotion, clarity (“definiteness”), entertaining narration, and for Chikhachev it was also a life-affirming pathos. And although the books written in the past century were not often reread in the 1830s, they continued to serve as a measure of literary virtues.

97Despite being rather conservative in their tastes, the provincial readers—Chikhachev to a lesser extent, Chernavin to a greater extent—were ready to perceive fresh trends in art, provided that they presented a connection to a moral-didactic and Sentimental-idyllic tradition. Therefore, the writings of classicists, sentimentalists, as well as some Romantics and Realists generally peacefully coexisted in the range of the reading interests of these readers.

Notes

1 Gosudarstvennyi arkhiv Ivanovskoi oblasti (GAIO), f. 107, op. 1. Further references to the documents are provided with specific case and page numbers.

2   N. V. Frolov and E. V. Frolova, in Istoriia zemli Kovrovskoi (Kovrov, 1997) and, following them, K. Pickering Antonova in An Ordinary Marriage. The World of a Gentry Family in Provincial Russia (Oxford, 2013) and Gospoda Chikhachevy. Mir pomestnogo dvorianstva v nikolaievskoi Rossii (Moscow, 2019) mistakenly claim that Chikhachev’s date of death occurred in the year 1875 and list his burial place as one of Suzdal monasteries. I personally discovered alternative information in the letter from his son regarding the illness and the death of Chikhachev, as well as a letter by the local priest describing his grave and the tombstone. Both documents state the exact date of death as May 25th, 1868 and the burial place as located next to Spasskaia Church in the village of Berezovik (GAIO, f. R-255, op. 1, d. 102, l. 3, 158-159).

3 Diary of A. I. Chikhachev 1831 (d. 54), Diary of N. I. Chikhacheva 1835 (d. 63), 1836–1837 (d. 67) and 1837 (d. 69), Diaries of A. A. Chikhachev 1835 (d. 128) and 1838 (d. 71), Diary of Ia. I. Chernavin 1834–1841 (d. 60), his Utility Book 1834–1845 (d. 61), Four Notebooks with the Correspondence of A. I. Chikhachev and Ia. I. Chernavin 1834–1837 (dd. 57–59, 66).

4   1 verst = 3,500 feet.

5   See Pickering Antonova, Gospoda Chikhachevy, 79-80, 166.

6   F. V. Bulgarin, “O tsenzure v Rossii i o knigopechatanii voobshche,” Russkaia starina, 9 (1900), 581.

7   For more information on the landowners’ affinity for reading and on the ways they acquired printed materials, see: T. N. Golovina, “‘Chtenie—samoe luchshee zaniatie’,” in M. V. Nashchokina (ed.), Russkaia usad’ba. Sbornik Obshchestva izucheniia russkoi usad’by (Moscow, 2009), vol. 15, 103–114.

8   d. 54, l. 11 ob.

9   Between the years of 1845 and 1865 Chikhachev published over 100 articles both in provincial and Moscow newspapers. See T. N. Golovina, “Zabytyi publitsist A. I. Chikhachev,” in K. E. Baldin (ed.), Materialy III s’’ezda kraevedov Ivanovskoi oblasti (Ivanovo, 2008), vol. 1, 149–154.

10   A. I. Chikhachev, “Neskol’ko slov o knige ‘Pis’ma o bogosluzhenii vostochnoi katolicheskoi tserkvi’,” Vladimirskie gubernskie vedomosti, November 12, 1849.

11   For more information on raising the children in noble families, and particularly on the role that books played in their upbringing, see T. N. Golovina, “Detstvo v usad’be (po materialam arkhiva pomeshchikov Kovrovskogo uezda Vladimirskoi gubernii Chikhachevykh),” in M. V. Nashchokina (ed.), Russkaia usad’ba. Sbornik Obshchestva izucheniia russkoi usad’by (Moscow, 2006), vol. 12, 7–15.

12  M. P. Lepekhin, “Greshishchev Il’ia Iakovlevich,” in A. M. Panchenko (ed.), Slovar’ russkikh pisatelei XVIII veka (Leningrad, 1988), vol. 1, 228.

13   See A. Kurilkin, “Ezotericheskaia kniga v Rossii vtoroi poloviny XVIII–nachala XIX veka (predvaritel’nye zamechania),” in M. O. Chudakova (ed.), Tynianovskii sbornik (Moscow, 2002), vol. 11, 30–50.

14   For more information, see T. N. Golovina, “Chitatel’skaia kul’tura provintsial’nykh masonov,” in A. I. Nikolaev (ed.), Potaennaia literatura: Issledovaniia i materialy (Ivanovo, 2012), 2nd edition, vol. 6, 80–85.

15   D. 95, l. 32 ob.

16   See Rebecchini, “The Success of the Russian Novel,” in the present volume.

17   D. 100, l. 4 ob.

18   D. 57, l. 38.

19   D. 93, l. 8 ob.; D. 129, l. 2 ob.

20   See T. N. Golovina, “‘Tysiacha blagodarnostei Stepanu Ivanovichu Karetnikovu…’,” in I. Iu. Cheremushkin (ed.), Istoriia Teikova v litsakh (Ivanovo, 2004), 6–8.

21   See: E. B. Frolova, “Lev Polisadov — kovrovskii blagochinnyi pushkinskoi pory,” in O. A. Moniakova (ed.), Rozhdestvenskii sbornik (Kovrov, 1999), vol. 7, 38–44.

22   A. I. Chikhachev, “O vospitanii detei (otkrovennost startsa),” Zemledel’cheskaia gazeta, March 17, 1859.

23   A. I. Gertsen “Vladimirskaia publichnaia biblioteka,” Pribavlenie k gubernskim vedomostiam, February 26, 1838.

24   A. I. Chikhachev, “O snosheniiakh mezhdu pomeshchikami,” Zemledel’cheskaia gazeta, March 30, 1848.

25   T. N. Golovina, “Pis’ma literatorov A. I. Chikhachevu,” in V. A. Smirnov (ed.), Fol’klor i literatura Ivanovskogo kraia (Ivanovo, 1994), 119–125.

26   A. I. Chikhachev, “Sel’skaia biblioteka v sele Zimenki, bliz goroda Shui, v Kovrovskom uezde,” Vladimirskie gubernskie vedomosti, April 12, 1858.

27   D. 59, l. 25.

28   D. 59, l. 77.

29   A. I. Chikhachev, “O ezhednevnom vslukh domashnem chtenii,” Zemledel’cheskaia gazeta, September 5, 1847. See also his articles: “Sochuvstvie k mysli o derevenskikh vrachakh,” Ibid., October 5, 1848; “Otkrovennost’ startsa. Eshche raz o semeinom chtenii,” Ibid., June 12, 1859; “O neobkhodimosti semeinogo chteniia v nastoiashchee vremia bolee, chem v prezhnee,” Ibid., July 10, 1859, 55. “Otkrovennost’ startsa. Upravlenie sem’ei,” Ibid., July 17, 1859.

30   A. I. Chikhachev, “Vyzov na obshchepoleznoe delo,” Ibid., August 5, 1847.

31   D. 59, l. 50.

32   A. I. Chikhachev, “Neskolko slov o knige.”

33   D. 66, l. 92.

34   D. 57, l. 7 ob.

35   The complete list of the newspapers and magazines read by Chikhachev and Chernavin along with their reviews can be found in my article “Gazety i zhurnaly 1830–1860-kh godov v otsenkakh chitatelei-sovremennikov,” in S. L. Strashnov (ed.), Regional’naia zhurnalistika i reklama: teoriia i praktika (Ivanovo, 2007), 129–135.

36   D. 66, l. 106.

37   See Rebecchini,“Reading Foreign Novels in Russia,” in the present volume.

38   D. 59, l. 54.

39   D. 66, l. 78.

40   D. 57, l. 75; D. 59, l. 38 ob. etc.

41   The mechanism of ‘consolidation’ of everyday behavior by means of including associations with historical and literary storylines is described in Iu. M. Lotman, “Dekabrist v povsednevnoi zhizni (Bytovoe povedenie kak istoriko-psikhologicheskaia kategoriia),” in Idem, Izbrannye stat’i, 3 vols (Tallin, 1992), vol. 1, 296–336.

42   D. 57, l. 113; D. 59, l. 66 etc.

43   See O. S. Evangulova, Khudozhestvennaia “Vselennaia” russkoi usad’by (Moscow, 2003); V. Lazarev, A. Tolmachev, “Zvezda polei, ili Usadebnaia zhizn’ bednogo dvorianina,” Nashe nasledie, 29-30 (1994), 20–25; L. N. Letiagin,“‘Krasnaia nuzhda—dvorianskaia sluzhba’.” Tipologicheskie aspekty biografii pomeshchika—pushkinskogo sovremennika,” in M. V. Nashchokina (ed.), Russkaia usad’ba: Sbornik Obshchestva izucheniia russoi usad’by (Moscow, 2000), vol. 6, 25–35.

44   See T. N. Golovina “‘Mysl’ semeinaia’v publitsistike A. I. Chikhacheva,” in R. Noikhel’ (ed.), Konstrukty natsional’noi identichnosti v russkoi kul’ture XVIII-XIX vekov (Moscow, 2010), 161–176.

45   A. I. Chikhachev, “O ezhednevnom vslukh domashnem chtenii.”

46   See Zorin, “A Reading Revolution? The Concept of Reader in the Russian Literature of Sensibility,” in volume 1 of the present work.

47   D. 54, l. 18.

48 A. I. Chikhachev’s letter to priest M. V. Milovskii (1859), GAIO, f. R-255, d. 101, l. 20.

49   D. 54, l. 8.

50   D. 54. L. 42 ob.

51   D. 59. L. 42.

52   N. M. Karamzin, “Pis’mo sel’skogo zhitelia,” in Idem, Izbrannye sochineniia, 2 vols (Moscow, Leningrad), 1964, vol. 2, 288–296.

53   A. I. Chikhachev, “Tserkovnoe ktitorstvo,” Zemledel’cheskaia gazeta, June 14, 1857.

54   A. I. Chikhachev, “Neskol’ko myslei sel’skogo zhitelia (Avtobiograficheskoe),” Vladimirskie gubernskie vedomosti, November 18, 1850.

55   Numerous evidence of the wide dissemination of the mystery literature and horror literature, especially among the landowners (opinions of literary critics, evidence provided by memoirists, surviving inventories of estate libraries, etc.), is provided in V. E. Vatsuro, Goticheskii roman v Rossii (Moscow, 2002).

56   Which romantic books exactly they read right after their publication remains unknown, since the Chikhachevs’ and Chernavin’s diaries from the 1820s were not preserved.

57   Eleven years later, in the first year of his service in Vilnius, Aleksei Chikhachev, being homesick, reread his favorite childhood books, including Woe from Wit (d. 83, l. 13 ob., 17 ob.).

58   See T. N. Golovina, “Eshche odin spisok ‘Goria ot uma’,” in D. L. Lakerbai (ed.), Potaennaia literatura: Issledovaniia i materialy (Ivanovo, 2004), vol. 4, 27–33.

59   D. 66, l. 16.

60   See A. I. Chikhachev, “Patrioticheskoe sochuvstvie k uchilishchu sel’skogo khoziaistva dlia potomstvennykh dvorian,” Vladimirskie gubernskie vedomosti, February 24, 1849.

61   For more information on the estate chronotope, see T. N. Golovina, “Obrazy vremeni i prostranstva v domashnei literature,” in A. Iu. Moryganov (ed.), Potaennaia literatura: Issledovaniia i materialy (Ivanovo, 2002), vol. 3, 11–18.

62   D. 57, l. 41.

63   D. 58, l. 83 ob.

64   See, for example: M. G. Al’tshuller, Epokha Valtera Skotta v Rossii: Istoricheskii roman 1830-kh godov (St. Petersburg, 1996).

65   For the complete list of research on history, memoirs, and biographies of historic figures read by the landowners, see: T. N. Golovina, “Iz kruga chteniia pomeshchikov srednei ruki (po dokumentam 1830-1840-kh godov iz usadebnogo arkhiva),” Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie, 93 (2008), 384-387.

66   D. 66, l. 80.

67   See Iu. D. Levin, Prizhiznennaia slava Val’tera Skotta v Rossii,” in M. P. Alekseev (ed.),“Epokha romantizma. Iz istorii mezhdunarodnykh sviazei russkoi literatury” (Leningrad, 1975), 5-67.

68   The author and the second part of the title are not stated by Chikhachev. However, the attribution is not difficult in this case because it is a very famous novel. Nevertheless, K. Pickering Antonova suggests that Chikhachev was writing about the Russian translation of Corneille’s tragedy Rodogune, called The Persian Beauty (Pers [ids] kaia krasavitsa). (K. Pickering Antonova, Mir pomestnogo dvorianstva, 209).

69   D. 59, l. 26 ob.

70   See D. Rebekkini (Rebecchini), “Russkie istoricheskie romany 30-kh gg XIX veka,” Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie, 34 (1998), 421-426.

71   D. 66, l. 12.

72   Ibid., l. 89 ob.

73   D. 58, l. 60.

74   Ibid.

75   Ibid.

76   D. 57, l. 39 ob.

77   S. T. Aksakov, Sobranie sochinenii, v trekh tomakh (Moscow, 1986), vol. 3, 353.

78   V. G. Belinskii, Sobranie sochinenii, v deviati tomakh (Moscow, 1976), vol. 1, 118.

79   D. 66, l. 30.

80   D. 95,l. 8 ob.

81   See Rebecchini, “The Success of the Russian Novel,” in the present volume.

82   D. 57, l. 41 ob.

83   Ibid., l. 15.

84   D. 58, l. 70 ob.

85   D. 57, l. 51 ob.

86   For the complete list, see T. N. Golovina, “Iz kruga chteniia pomeshchikov,” 392-395.

87   In 1830–1833 they served together on the frigate Princess Lovich (Kniaginia Lovich). Bazili served as secretary of the diplomatic department at the Russian squadron in Greek waters under the command of Vice Admiral P. I. Ricord.

88   D. 59, l. 25 ob.

89   K. Pickering Antonova does not agree with this assertion (see K. Pickering Antonova, Gospoda Chikhachevy, 373), but she does not not provide references to any specific archival sources to refute it.

90   V. Faibyshenko,Mezhdunarodnaia konferentsiia ‘Nash XIX vek. Fenomen kul’tury i istoricheskoe poniatie,’” in Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie, 112 (2011).

91   D. 54, l. 43.

92   N. A. Khokhlova, “Murav’ev Andrei Nikolaevich,” Russkie pisateli 1800–1917: Biograficheskii slovar’ (Moscow, 1999), vol. 1, 158.

93   For evidence of the enormous success of Traveling to Russian Holy Places, see: A. Kaplin, “Predislovie,” in A. N. Murav’ev, Puteshestvie po sviatym mestam russkim (Moscow, 2014), 17–19.

94   D. 95, l. 46.

95   See Rebecchini, “The Success of the Russian Novel,” in the present volume.

96   Iu. Shtridter, Plutovskoi roman v Rossii: k istorii russogo romana do Gogolia (Moscow, St.Petersburg, 2014), 107.

97   For a variety of evidence of its phenomenal success among contemporary readers, see A. I. Reitblat, Kak Pushkin vyshel v genii. Istoriko-sotsiologicheskie ocherki o knizhnoi kul’ture pushkinskoi epochi (Moscow, 2001), 98-107.

98   D. 58, l. 179 ob.

99   Ibid.

100  D. 57, l. 73.

101   For more detail about the way that landowners felt about Bulgarin, see: T. N. Golovina, “Golos iz publiki: chitatel’-sovremennik o Pushkine i Bulgarine,” Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie, 40 (1999), 11–16; T. N. Golovina, “‘Moi liubimeishii pisatel i velichaishii iz druzei’,” in A. I. Reitblat (ed.), F. V. Bulgarin—pisatel, zhurnalist, teatral´nyi kritik: Sbornik statei (Moscow, 2019), 409–422.

102   N. N. Akimova, “Bulgarin i Gogol (massovoe i elitarnoe v russkoi literature: problema avtora i geroia),” Russkaia literatura, 2 (1996), 21.

103   D. 54, l. 6 ob. Untill now, it remains uncertain whether Aleksandr Boshniak or Pavel Svin’in is the actual author of the novel. See: V. N. Bochkov, “Boshniak Aleksandr Karlovich,” in Russkie pisateli 1800-1917. Biograficheskii slovar’ (Moscow, 1989), vol. 1, 323.

104   Ibid., l. 7.

105   See, for example, V. A. Ushakov, “Novye knigi,” Severnaia pchela, November 3, 1832; and N. I. Nadezhdin, “Letopisi otechestvennoi literatury,” Teleskop, vol. 19 (1832), 376–385.

106   D. 59, l. 127.

107   Ibid., l. 30 ob.

108   Ibid., l. 7 ob.

109   A. M. [A. A. Bestuzhev], “Chasy i zerkalo,” in Severnaia pchela, January 30, 1831.

110   D. 54, l. 7 ob.

111   D. 57, l. 54-55, 58–58 ob. K. Pickering Antonova (Gospoda Chikhachevy, 225-226) considers it to be a work written by Chernavin himself. In fact, the text is preceded by the title: “Extract from the Short Novels and Stories by A. Marlinskii” (“Vypiska iz povestei i rasskazov Marlinskogo”).

112   D. 57, l. 32 ob. K. Pickering Antonova in her book (see Gospoda Chikhachevy, 207, 209, 218) believes that this is a novel by Jane Austen, although in his diary, Chikhachev clearly states both the author’s surname—Polevoi—and the magazine in which the story was published, as well as its plot and characters, all of which has nothing in common with the novel of the English writer.

113  Ibid., l. 3 ob.

114   Ibid., l. 87.

115   N. I. Nadezhdin, “Letopisi otechestvennoi literatury,” in Idem, Literaturnaia Kritika. Estetika (Moscow, 1972), 324.

116   D. 57, l. 91.

117   D. 59, l. 57.

118   D. 59, l. 57–57 ob.

119   D. 66, l. 130–130 ob.

120   D. 58, l. 26 ob.

121   D. 60, l. 5, 116, 129 ob.

122   D. 95, l. 120 ob.

123   GAIO, f. 12, op. 1, d. 1296, l. 243.

124   According to O. A. Moniakova, who references “Subscription Case for the First Postmortem Edition of A. S. Pushkin’s works in the Vladimir province” (Gosudarstvennyi archiv Vladimirskoi oblasti, f. 14, op. 1, d. 161, l. 1), the inhabitants of the province purchased 28 subscription tickets, 3 of which were purchased in the Kovrov district (See O. A. Moniakova,“Podpiska na pervoe posmertnoe izdanie sochinenii A. S. Pushkina vo Vladimirskoi gubernii,” in O. A. Moniakova, N. V. Frolov (eds.), Rozhdestvenskii sbornik [Kovrov, 1999], vol. 6, 17–20). There were 4 subscribers in the neighbouring Shuiskii district, including two good friends of Chikhachev and Chernavin—Sergei Ikonnikov and Nikolai Iazykov (See L. A. Rozanova,“Ot Shuiskikh rodnikov—k A. S. Pushkinu, ot poeta Pushkina—k shuianam,” in L. A. Rozanova, Shuiskie rodniki [Shuia, 2007], 38).

125   D. 66, l. 81 ob.

126   V. G. Belinskii, Sobranie sochinenii, vol. 2, 491.

127   D. 58, l. 127 ob.

128   D. 57, l. 33 ob.

129   Ibid.

130   D. 57, l. 34.

131   Ibid.

132   D. 59, l. 55 ob.

133   D. 57, l. 87.

134   Ibid.

135   Ibid.

136   Ibid.

137   See L. Grossman, “Bal’zak v Rossii,” in Literaturnoe nasledstvo (Moscow, 1937), vol. 31-32, 149-372.

138   D. 60, l. 37.

139   D. 59, l. 51 ob.

140   Most of all, Chikhachev liked the following scenes: “The marriage and description of the family life of Emmanuel and Lalageia is amazing. The insult at the ball is touching. The prison visit to Lalageia is emotional.” D. 59, l. 53.

141   D. 57, l. 41.

142   D. 95, l. 39 ob. The novel Margarite by Soulié appeared in Notes of The Fatherland, 5 (1842).

143   D. 60, l. 94.

144   Ibid., l. 114.

145   F. V. Bulgarin, “Pan Podstolich (Syn Podstoliia), ili Kto my teper’ i chem byt’ mozhem. Administrativnyi roman. Soch. G. Masal’skogo,” Severnaia pchela, October 31, 1831.

146   Referring to my article “Iz kruga chteniia pomeshchikov srednei ruki,” K. Pickering Antonova writes that I claimed that Andrei Chikhachev was “an example of the so-called ‘superfluous man’” (K. Pickering Antonova, Gospoda Chikhachevy, 372). I did not refer to Chikhachev in this or in any other work of mine as a ‘superfluous man’; quite the contrary, I have always emphasized his energy, determination, desire to serve the interests of his family and his homeland. In particular, I wrote: “Not only in his words, but also in his actions, he sought to contribute to the ‘prosperity of our most precious homeland’: he put effort into opening schools and libraries, and built and decorated churches.” (“Iz kruga chteniia pomeshchikov srednei ruki,” 392). Chikhachev’s numerous charitable activities are discussed in my article “‘Podvigom Dobrym Podvizakhsia…’,” in K. E. Baldin (ed.), Kraevedcheskie zapiski (Ivanovo, 2005), VIII, 9–74, as well as in a number of other works. However, these and other articles published long before hers remained unknown to the American researcher.

147   D. 57, l. 83 ob.

148   Ibid.

149   D. 59. L. 50.

Auteur

Tat’iana Golovina, PhD in Philology, independent researcher (Ivanovo). Her scientific interests include M. E. Saltykov-Shchedrin in the context of world satire; the culture of the Russian noble estate; the history of the Russian reader. From 1982 to 2014, was employed by the Russian Literature Department of Ivanovo State University as an assistant, senior lecturer, associate professor. Author of the book Saltykov-Shchedrin’s The History of a Town: Literary Parallels (Ivanovo, 1997) and a number of articles about the Russian satirist’s oeuvre. Golovina has been studying the archives of Dorozhaevo estate since the mid-1980s and has published around 50 articles about the daily and spiritual life of Chikhachev family of landowners in the scientific almanacs and magazines and mass media publications. Golovina is a member of the Society for Study of Russian Country Estates and Ivanovo Regional Local History Society and an active participant of the movement for preservation of cultural heritage.

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