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Yoon, Saera
Division of General Studies
Research Interests
  • Russian Literature
  • Comparative Literature


나탈리야에서 마르파로 : 카람진 역사소설의 진화

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나탈리야에서 마르파로 : 카람진 역사소설의 진화
Other Titles
From Natal'ia to Marfa : the Evolution of Karamzin's Historical Tales
Yoon, Saera
Issue Date
노어노문학, v.21, no.4, pp.473 - 494
Karamzin left an indelible mark on Russian literature with his contributions to the development of the nascent national literature. Karamzin, a truly gigantic figure, served as a role model for his admirers in the realm of historical fiction and historiography. Among others, A. S. Pushkin and N. V. Gogol followed in Karamzin’s footsteps and tried hand on both history writing and historical tales. This paper is an examination of Karamzin’s two historical tales, “Natl’ia, the Boyar’s Daughter” (1792) and “Marfa, the Mayoress” (1802). Given that the two works were written ten years apart, the investigation of the two tales will offer us an insight into the evolution of Karamzinian aesthetics. The first significant transition from “Natl’ia” to “Marfa” is to be found in the treatment of the historical past. While “Natal’ia” is set in the fuzzy past, without specific temporal markers, “Marfa” is anchored in concrete historical event as it deals with the fall of Novgorod. The shift points to the course taken by the author in looking at history. Karamzin aspires to represent the ideal history in “Natal’ia,” which embodies the essence of Sentimental values. Yet ten years later, the author assumes a significantly different view on the national history, which results in a much more serious and authoritative tone of the narrator of “Marfa.” Similarly, Natal’ia and Marfa, the eponymous heroines of the two tales, testify to the evolution of Karamzin’s treatment of history. Whereas Natal’ia symbolizes the ideal girl of Russian past, embodying all the major virtues of a Sentimental heroine, Marfa is a much more complex figure, representing, on the one hand, a motherly leader and, on the other hand, a widow consumed with irrational passion. All in all, “Marfa” is a clear breakaway from the Sentimental historical tale and prepares the author to turn to full-fledged historiography. Interestingly, though, Karamzin’s legacy of historical fiction relies more upon “Natal’ia” than “Marfa.” The Captain's Daughter by Pushkin and Taras Bul'ba by Gogol reveal their indebtedness to Karamzin's view of the interrelationship between history and human, and his treatment of historical time, both of which are best represented in “Natal'ia.”.
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