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A Reader and Reading in ‘Long’ Eighteenth-Century Russia

Sergey V. Polskoy


[Rev. of: Reading Russia. A History of Reading in Modern Russia. Volume 1. Edited by Damiano Rebecchini and Raffaella Vassena. Milano: Università degli Studi di Milano, 2020]


The first volume of the collective monograph “Reading Russia. The History of Reading in Modern Russia”, is focused on the ‘long’ eighteenth century. It includes a preface by D. Rebecchini and R. Wassena to the entire three-volume edition and eight chapters written by famous researchers of Russian culture, literature and history. In the first chapters, D. Waugh considers the history of reading in the pre-Petrine period, G. Marker problematizes key issues of studying the history of reading in eighteenth-century Russia, K. Ospovat traces the dynamics of reading policy from Peter I to Elizabeth I. R. Bodin discusses the main changes in the reading habits in the second half of the century, A. Zorin demonstrates the «revolutionary» changes among the nobility due to the sentimentalism literature, E. Kislova researches the reading habits of the educated clergy, and B. Grigoryan studies the reader's image development in the Russian magazines of 1760–1830-ies. S. Franklin's chapter discusses the urban graphosphere in three different centuries: from the triumphal arches of Peter the Great, through the commercial signs of the mid-nineteenth century, he arrives at the inscriptions of the Soviet city. Overall, like the entire publication, the reviewed volume is the first major study of the history of reading in Russia, covering a long period and summarizing results of individual studies.


DOI: 10.31168/2305-6754.2023.1.11


history of reading; literacy, manuscript tradition; verbal texts; vocalized reading; visual reading; sentimentalism; reader image; graphosphere; reading communities; reading public; Enlightenment; secularization; Russian culture; 18th century


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