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Francis Thomson and his “Clavis” to Ancient Slavic Translated Literature

Dmitrii M. Bulanin


The article deals with the academic legacy of Francis Thomson (1935–2021), an outstanding connoisseur of Medieval Slavic literature, who especially distinguished himself in the study of the translated section of this literature. The article also discusses fundamental the prominent academic’s source studies and bibliographic studies, in the course of which he established and described the originals of hundreds and even thousands of translated texts that exist in Church Slavonic. These texts entered the bulk of literature accumulated by South and East Slavs in the period between the 9th and the first quarter of the 18th century. The discoveries of Francis Thomson are first of all reflected in his articles, of which more than one and a half hundred are published, and which are already highly appreciated in Slavistics. His discoveries are also fixed in his famous “cartotheca,” of which little was known, mainly from the words of its creator. This project was conceived first as a “clavis” to the repertoire of Slavic translated literature, but taking into account the rich information contained therein, we can state that it went far beyond its original purpose. The author of the handwritten “cartotheca” worked on it for fifty years, and, already during his lifetime, it turned into a kind of a legend among specialists. Currently, this opus magnum of the researcher is located at the Catholic University of Leuven (Louvain), where its net publication is being prepared. It can be said without exaggeration that further study of the translated literature of the medieval Slavs is unthinkable without taking into account the work of Francis Thomson.


DOI: 10.31168/2305-6754.2022.11.1.16


translation; source study; bibliography; Church Slavonic; card index (cartotheca); encyclopedia; compilation; identification


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