Smirnov A. A.S. Pushkin and works of the pioneers of European comparativists at the beginning of 19th century
The problem of «Pushkin and the book» remains important for today's research, the great poet carefully watched and evaluated all new in the literary process of his time. Traces of conceptual thinking about literature, Pushkin’s judgements about art poetry considered significant works such as articles of B.V. Tomashevsky (partially collected in the book «Pushkin and France». Moscow, 1960), in S.M. Bondi’s «Historical and literary works of Pushkin» (Literary Heritage. V. 16–18. L., 1934. P. 421–442). Finally, it is necessary to name the capital encyclopaedia composed by IRLI RAS employees: «Pushkin and World Literature: Materials for “Pushkin Encyclopaedia”» (St. Petersburg, 2004). It provides extensive factual material about the literary relationships between Pushkin and European literatures.
For this work, it is important to identify the main figures of the pioneers of comparative literature and early nineteenth century, which attracted the attention of Pushkin, are available in the library and had an impact on the formation and development of his views on the modern literary process. Library Description of poet undertaken by B.L. Modzalevsky (St. Petersburg, 1910) became the foundation for further research. The library of great poets indicates exceptional breadth and diversity of their interests. It has books on statistics, philosophy, ethnography, natural science, law, linguistics, multi-volume work of scientists historians and literary critics. Library partially answers the question, what are the problems of literary history and culture of the peoples of Europe were at the centre of his attention. Before us is a kind of «history of world literature», is an example of deep processing and literary heritage of many centuries. Contains a lot of valuable information in his correspondence, indicating deep penetration into the essence of literary processes in Europe. Not finding samples in Russian criticism, Pushkin often turns their attention to the West. In his articles and letters he refers to the aesthetics of A. Schlegel, Lessing, Winckelmann. Deeply into the problems he wilted Shakespearean creations thanks to Guizot, Letourneur. Opinions of French and English critics in European literary and political journals and newspapers had often a decisive influence. It is well known that the critical talent of Pushkin does not fully revealed, because all was overshadowed by the masterpieces of his poetry.
Within romantic literary works appeared comparative historical character «Literature of the South of Europe» by Sismondi, «Course of world literature» by Lemercier, «Course of French literature» by Villemain, «Historical and critical review of French poetry and theatre in the 16th century» by Sainte-Beuve. In England there were «Lectures on Shakespeare» by Coleridge, his «Literary biography» occupied an important historical place.
Proceedings of the literature by Sir Walter Scott, William Hazlitt, Charles Lamb (in the London Magazine), T. Carlyle (German literature). Most important figure in this period – Madam de Staël (treatise «On the influence of the passions on the happiness of the people and nations»).
Outstanding figure in the early stage of the French Comparative studies was A.F. Villemain and as a historian and as a critic. He belonged to brilliant students of Royer-Collard. These include the already mentioned Guizot, Thierry. As a professor of «Normal School» he followed Guinguené advocated the need to study the French Middle Ages in the context of world literature, thereby supporting the thesis of de Staël on the study of each of the national literature in relation to neighbouring European (English, German).
Pushkin interested in communication, change, similarities and differences between national literatures of Europe, that was carried out over the language borders. Shakespeare was at the centre of his attention as a literary phenomenon, due to its excess of national importance. Influence and impact of such global variables as Homer, Dante, Molière, Goethe, he felt in his work. Problem of values in the literature, conceptualised by leading literary critics and writers of Europe also formed its cultural and historical horizon.
Pushkin, comparative studies, French critics and literary historians of the early XIXth century, the British magazine, German aesthetics