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date: 26 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The joint discovery of sensibility and subjectivity is the hallmark of early Romanticism in Russia. In the 1780s and 1790s, younger writers—mostly amateur men of letters and the occasional noble woman—extended older debates about the elements of style and correct verse form. Writers were able to move between classical models and more experimental forms of subjectivity. Debate about the purpose of literature and its national cultural orientation and obligations intensified in the 1820s. At the end of the period covered in this chapter we see the breakdown of support for literature conceived as playful and gentlemanly. The advent of a full-blown Romantic movement, supported by the growth of the reading public, proliferation of literary journals, and the establishment of literary criticism as an institution, caused more writers to take entrenched positions and break with the past.

Keywords: Classicism, Romanticism, Russia, feeling, subjectivity, debate, genius, nation, reading-public.

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