Professor Ljubov Kisseljova, University of Tartu
Professor Katalin Kroó
Literary work of Ivan Turgenev, spanned over more than forty years (late 1830s - early 1880s), covered a period of intensive formation of the national idea in Russia. The writer was extremely attentive to national issues, sensitively responded to the ideological impulses of modernity in his work and correspondence. This thesis, based on an analysis of all of Turgenev's prose texts, examines how one of the greatest novelists of the 19th century reacted to the challenges of his epoch.
The core of the work - Turgenev's analysis of national characters, defined by Turgenev according to their relation to the imperial space: Russians, Poles, Ukrainians (then called "Malorossy", or "Little Russians"), "Russian Germans" and Jews. These national types are analyzed in the context of the creative evolution of the writer, and in correlation with the significant milestones in the development of Russian national identity and mythology in the 19th century. Examines The role of the literary tradition and the author's psychology (self assessments, public and private behavior of the writer on national issues, self-censorship etc) are examined in the thesis. Typology "Turgenev national types" is formed.
This dissertation can be characterized as interdisciplinary. The methods of historical, literary, intertextual, cultural, sociological and semiotic analysis of texts are used.
The author of this thesis tried to promote a new approach to the works of Turgenev, according to which national character is an integral part of the poetics of the writer's works. Ethnic types were constructed by Turgenev in his texts through the statements and opinions of other characters, using a complex system of assessments, masking those of the author. As a result, Turgenev created a non-obvious and therefore especially effective combination of an artistic image and mythological national theme. This, in my opinion, predetermined the canonicity of "Turgenev types" in Russian culture and the writer's contribution to Russian nation-building.