1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Buslaev, Fedor Ivanovich

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BUSLAEV, FEDOR IVANOVICH (1818-1898), Russian author and philologist, was born on the 13th of April 1818 at Kerensk, where his father was secretary of the district tribunal. He was educated at Penza and Moscow University. At the end of his academical course, 1838, he accompanied the family of Count S.G. Strogonov on a tour through Italy, Germany and France, occupying himself principally with the study of classical antiquities. On his return he was appointed assistant professor of Russian literature at the university of Moscow. A study of Jacob Grimm's great dictionary had already directed the attention of the young professor to the historical development of the Russian language, and the fruit of his studies was the book On the Teaching of the National Language (Moscow, 1844 and 1867), which even now has its value. In 1848 he produced his work On the Influence of Christianity on the Slavonic Language, which, though subsequently superseded by Franz von Miklosich's Christliche Terminologie, is still one of the most striking dissertations on the development of the Slavonic languages. In this work Buslaev proves that long before the age of Cyril and Methodius the Slavonic languages had been subject to Christian influences. In 1855 he published Palaeographical and Philological Materials for the History of the Slavonic Alphabets, and in 1858 Essay towards an Historical Grammar of the Russian Tongue, which, despite some trivial defects, is still a standard work, abounding with rich material for students, carefully collected from an immense quantity of ancient records and monuments. In close connexion with this work in his Historical Chrestomathy of the Church-Slavonic and Old Russian Tongues (Moscow, 1861). Buslaev also interested himself in Russian popular poetry and old Russian art, and the result of his labours is enshrined in Historical Sketches of Russian Popular Literature and Art (St Petersburg, 1861), a very valuable collection of articles and monographs, in which the author shows himself a worthy and faithful disciple of Grimm. His Popular Poetry (St Petersburg, 1887) is a valuable supplement to the Sketches. In 1881 he was appointed professor of Russian literature at Moscow, and three years later published his Annotated Apocalypse with an atlas of 400 plates, illustrative of ancient Russian art.

See[edit]

  • S.D. Sheremetev, Memoir of F. I. Buslaev (Moscow, 1899).
(R. N. B.)