Russian Novelists (1887)/1
THE RUSSIAN NOVELISTS.
EPOCHS IN RUSSIAN LITERATURE.
Before studying those contemporary writers who alone will reveal to us the true Russian spirit and character, we must devote a little attention to their predecessors, in order to understand the Russian literature in its prolonged infancy, and its bearing upon that of the present day. We shall see how everything conspired to retard its development. Russian literature may be divided into four distinct epochs. The first, ending with the accession of Peter the Great, was in fact its mediæval age. In this epoch a wealth of national traditions had accumulated in its popular poetry and barbarous essays. The second period embraces the last century, from Peter the Great to Alexander I., and, although seemingly progressive, was the least fruitful one, because its literature was but a servile imitation of that of the Occident. The third, the short epoch of romanticism, produced a brilliant set of poets, whose works were of value to the general world of letters. But they were hot-house blooms, produced by a culture imported from abroad, and give but little idea of the true properties of their native soil.
Forty years ago a new epoch began. Russia has finally produced something spontaneous and original. In the realistic novel, Russian genius has at last come to a realizing sense of its own existence; and, while bound indissolubly to the past, it already lisps and stammers the programme of its future. We shall see how this genius has soared from darkness and obscurity, acting already a part in history, although continually repressed by history's cruel wrongs and injustice and its brusque changes of situation. We must recall too the intellectual origin of this race and its moral peregrinations, and then we can make more allowance for what there is of gloom, irresolution, and obscurity in its literature.
The Russian people are afflicted with a national, a historical malady, which is partly hereditary, partly contracted during the course of its existence. The hereditary part is that proclivity of the Slavonic mind towards that negative doctrine which to-day we call Nihilism, and which the Hindu fathers called Nirvâna. In fact, if we would understand Russia well, we must recall to our minds what she has learned from ancient India.
Many philosophers of the present day in Russia fully accept the doctrines of Buddha, and boast with pride of the purity of their Aryan blood, bringing forward many arguments in support of this claim. First, there is the fact that the physical type is very marked in families in which the Tartar blood has never mingled. Many a Moscow student or peasant from certain provinces might, except for his light complexion, easily pass in a street of Lahore or Benares for a native of the valley of the Ganges. Moreover, they have strong philological arguments. The old Slavonic dialect is declared by linguists to more nearly approach the Sanscrit than does the Greek of the very earliest epochs. The grammatical rules are identical. Speak of the Vêda to any Russian peasant, and you will find he needs no explanation; the verb vêdat is one in constant use by him. If he should mention the word "fire," it will be the original one used by his ancestors who worshipped that element. Numberless examples could be quoted to prove this close relation to the original Sanscrit; but this is still more strongly shown by an analytical study of the Russian mind and character. The Hindu type of mind may be easily recognized in the Slavonic intellectual type. By studying the revolutions of India one could easily understand possible convulsions in Russia. The most able authors state the Buddhist revolution to have arisen from a social rather than a religious reaction of the popular sentiment against the spirit of caste, against the fixed organizations of society. Like Christianity in the West, Buddhism was in the extreme East the revelation, the personifica- tion of charity and meekness, of moral and social freedom, which were to render life more tolerable to multitudes of human beings bowed under the yoke of an implacable theocracy.
The best doctrines, in order to succeed, must permit certain exaggerations for the fanciful and imaginative, and tolerate certain errors which attract minds warped by prolonged sufferings. To the latter, Christianity offers asceticism ; Buddh- ism promises them the joys of annihilation, the Nirvana. Nihilism is the word invented by Burnouf as a translation of Nirvâna. Max Müller says that the Sanscrit word really means "the action of extinguishing a light by blow- ing it out." Will not this definition explain Russian Nihilism, which would extinguish the light of civilization by stifling it, then plunge back into chaos.
Undoubtedly, numerous and more recent causes have acted upon the national mind producing this peculiar state of discouragement, which in violent natures has developed into a furious desire to destroy every existing condition, because all are bad. Moreover, Christianity has lent a new formula to what there was of good in the old instincts. Its influence has been profound, accounting for the spirit of fraternity and self-sacrifice so admirable in this people. But I cannot help thinking that with this stolid race we must go back to the habits of thought of very ancient times in order to realize what their natural inclinations and difficulties would be.
We shall now see how these have been aggravated or modified by a series of accidents. I know of no people which has been so overwhelmed by its own fate; like a river which has changed its course over and over again, or the life of one of those men who seem fated to begin several different careers in life and succeed in none.
The Western nations have developed under much more favorable conditions. After the forced establishment and final withdrawal of Islamism, they enjoyed a long period of comparative peace, several centuries in which they could work out the problem of life. Constant revolutions and wars did not wholly throw them off the track which they had marked out for themselves from the outset.
Russia, on the contrary, seems to have offered a free field for the most radical experiments, in which its poor people have been involved every two or three hundred years, just as they were well started in a new direction. Plunged into the most barbarous and heathenish anarchy, different tribes waged war there for two or three centuries after these had wholly ceased in France. Then Christianity came, but from a Byzantine, the least pure source; a vitiated Christianity, enervated by oriental corruption. The Russian people were fated to become wholly Greek in religion, laws, and government, thus commencing a new epoch in history. Would this germ of a new life have time to develop?
Two hundred years after the baptisms at Kiev, Russia was overwhelmed by the Mongolian invasion. Asia returned to demand its prey and to seize the young Christian territory, which was already gravitating toward Europe. Pagans from the beginning, the Tartars became Mohammedans, remained wholly Asiatic, and introduced oriental customs among their Russian subjects. Not until the fifteenth century, when the Renaissance was dawning upon western Europe, did Russia begin to throw off this Tartar yoke. They freed themselves by a succession of strong efforts, but very gradually. The Crescent did not disappear from the Volga until 1550, leaving behind it traces of the oriental spirit for all time.
The Russian people were now crushed by an iron despotism, made up of Mongolian customs and Byzantine ceremonies. Just emancipated from foreign oppression, they were forced to cultivate the soil. Boris Godunof condemned them to serfdom, by which their whole social condition was changed in one day, with one stroke of the pen,—that unfortunate St. George's day which the muzhik would curse for three hundred years to come.
In the next century Russia was invaded from the Occident. Poland obtained one-half of its territory and ruled at Moscow. The Poles were afterwards expelled, when the nation could take time to breathe and assert itself again. Naturally, it then turned toward Asia and its own traditions.
Now appeared upon the scene a rough pilot in the person of Peter the Great, to guide the helm of this giant raft which was floating at random, and direct it toward Europe. At this epoch occurred the strangest of all the experiments tried by history upon Russia. To continue the figure, imagine a ship guided towards the West by the captain and his officers, while the entire crew were bent upon sailing for the East. Such was the strange condition of affairs for one hundred and fifty years, from the accession of Peter to the death of the Emperor Nicholas; the consequences of which condition are still observable. The sovereign and a few men he called to his aid abjured oriental life entirely, and became Europeans in ideas, politics, language, and dress. Little by little, the upper classes followed this example during the latter part of the last century.
During the first half of the present one, the influence of Europe became still stronger, affecting administration, education, etc., drawing a small part of the masses with it; but the nation remained stolid, rebellious, with its eyes turned toward the East, as were the prayers of their Tartar masters. Only forty years ago the Western light illumined the highest peaks alone, while the broad valleys lay buried in the shadows of a past which influences them still.
This entire period presents a condition of affairs wholly unique. An immense population was led by a small class which had adopted foreign ideas and manners, and even spoke a strange language; a class which received its whole intellectual, moral, and political food and impetus from Germany, England, or France, as the case might be;—always from outside. The management of the land itself was frequently confided to foreigners—"pagans," as the Russian peasants called them. Naturally, these foreigners looked upon this country as a vast field open to them for the collection of taxes and recruits; and whose destiny it was to furnish them with everything necessary in carrying out their projects, —their diplomatic combinations on the chess-board of all Europe.
There were, of course, some exceptions—some attempts at restoring national politics and interior reform; but total ignorance of the country as well as of its language was the rule. Grandparents are still living in Russia, who, while they speak French perfectly, are quite incapable of speaking, or at least of writing, in the language of their grandchildren.
Since the time of Catherine, a series of generations living in the Parisian elegance and luxury of the days of Louis XV., of the Empire, and the Restoration, have suffered with the French all their revolutionary shocks, shared in all their aspirations, been influenced by all their literature, sympathized in all their theories of administration and political economy;—and these do not even trouble themselves to know how a muzhik of the provinces lives, or what he has to endure. These political economists do not even know how Russian wheat is raised, which Pushkin declares to grow differently from the English wheat.
So the people, left to themselves, merely vegetated, and developed according to the obscure laws of their oriental nature. We can imagine what disorder would arise in a nation so formed and divided.
In France, historical events have gradually formed a middle class; a natural connecting link between the two extremes of society. In Russia this middle class did not exist, and is still wanting, there being nothing to fill the intervening space. The whole depth of the abyss was realized by those Russians who became enlightened enough to understand the state of their country during the latter years of the reign of Alexander I.
A national fusion was developed, as it usually is on the battle-fields, where the Russians fell side by side before the invader. This movement, however, was very gradual, and Russia was virtually divided into two distinct classes until the death of the Emperor Nicholas, when the necessity of a more orderly condition of affairs was universally felt, giving rise to a social revolution which resulted in the emancipation of the serfs.
For the last quarter of a century, every conscientious and strong-minded man has worked to perform his part towards the common object: the establishment of a solid and united country. But they met with terrible obstacles; for they must abolish the past, heal all differences, and conciliate all parties.
As a world travelling through space, drawn by opposite attractions, is divided, bursts asunder, one fragment rushing to join the distant star which calls it, while the greater portion of the planet continues to gravitate towards the nearer spheres; and as, in spite of all opposing forces, these two separated fragments of a world tend to re-unite, no matter what spaces divide them, or with what a shock they must meet, having acquired such increased velocity;—so was it with Russia, made up of so many dissimilar elements, attracted at different times by opposite poles; now tossed from Europe to Asia, and back again from Asia to Europe, and finally divided against itself.
This condition is what I called the Russian national malady, which has plunged this people into the deepest discouragement and confusion. To historical misfortunes, we may add the peculiarities of soil and climate in which the Russian drama has been enacted. The severe, interminable winter interrupts man's work and depresses his spirit. In the southern part, the scanty vegetation does not incite him to wrestle with nature and vie with her in energy and devotion. Is it not true that man's mind is modelled according to the nature of his abiding-place? Must not a country having a limited horizon, and forms strongly and sharply defined, tend to the development of individuality, to clearness of conception, and persevering effort? The larger portion of Russia has nothing analogous to this; only, as Tacitus says, a "monotonous alternation of wild wood and reeking marsh." ("Aut silvis horrida, aut paludibus fœda"); endless plains with no distinct horizon, no decisive outlines, only a mirage of snow, marsh, or sand. Everywhere the infinite, which confuses the mind and attracts it hopelessly. Tolstoï has well described it as " that boundless horizon which appeals to me so strongly."
The souls of this people must resemble those who sail on a long voyage; self-centered, resigned to their situation, with impulses of sudden, violent longing for the impossible. Their land is made for a tent-life, rather than for dwelling in houses; their ideas are nomadic, like themselves. As the winds bear the arctic cold over the plains from the White Sea to the Black, without meeting any resisting obstacle, so invasions, melancholy, famine, servitude, seize and fill these empty stretches rapidly and without hindrance. It is a land which is calculated to nourish the dim, hereditary, confused aspirations of the Russian heart, rather than those productions of the mind which give an impetus to literature and the arts.
Nevertheless, we shall see how the persistent seed will develop under this severe sky and amid such untoward influences, saved by the eternal spring which exists in all human hearts of every climate.
The middle age of Russian literature, or the period ending with the accession of Peter the Great, produced first: ecclesiastical literature, comprising sermons, chronicles, moral and instructive treatises. Secondly: popular literature, consisting of epic poems, characteristic sonnets and legends. The former resembles that of western Europe, being in the same vein, only inferior to it.
Throughout Christendom, the Church was for a long time the only educator; monk and scholar being almost synonymous words; while outside the pale of the Church all was barbarism. At first, the writer was a mere mechanical laborer, or Chinese scribe, who laboriously copied the Gospels and the ancient Scriptures. He was respected as possessing one of the arcana of life, and as specially gifted through a miracle from on high. Many generations of monks passed away before the idea occurred to these humble copyists to utilize their art in recording their own personal impressions. At first there were homilies, mere imitations of those of the Byzantine fathers; then lives of saints; and the legendary lore of the monastery of Kiev, the great centre of prayer and holy travail of the whole Slavonic world. Here originated the first approach to romance of that time, its Golden Legend, the first effort of the imagination towards the ideal which is so seductive to every human soul. Then came the chronicles of wars, and of their attendant and consequent evils. Nestor, the father of Russian history, noted down his impressions of what he saw, in a style similar to that of Gregory of Tours.
From the thirteenth to the fifteenth century, these feeble germs of culture were nearly crushed out of existence by the Tartar invasion; and even the translation of the Bible into the Slavonic language was not accomplished until the year 1498.
In 1518, Maximus, a Greek monk, who had lived in Florence with Savonarola, came to Moscow, bringing with him the first specimens of printing. He reformed the schools, and collected around him a group of men eager for knowledge. About this time the so-called civil deacons, the embryo of future tchinovnism, began to assist the students of Latin and Greek in their translations.
Father Sylvester also wrote the "Domostroi," a treatise on morals and domestic economy; a practical encyclopædia for Russians of the sixteenth century.
In the second half of this century Ivan the Terrible introduced printing into Russia. A part of the venerable building he erected at Moscow for a printing establishment is still standing. He tried to obtain from Germany skilful hands in the new art, but they were refused him. Each sovereign jealously guarded every master of the great secret, as they did good alchemists or skilful workers in metals.
A Moscow student, Ivan Fedorof, cast some Slavonic characters, and used them in printing the Acts of the Apostles, in 1564. This is the most ancient specimen of typography in Russia. He, the first of Russian printers, was accused of heresy, and obliged to fly for his life. His wretched existence seemed a prophetic symbol of the destiny reserved for the development of thought in his native country. Fedorof took refuge with some magnates of Lithuania, and printed some books in their castles; but his patrons and protectors tore him from his beloved work, and forced him to cultivate the land. He wrote of himself : — "It was not my work to sow the grain, but to scatter through the earth food for the mind, nourishment for the souls of all mankind." He fled to Lemberg, where he died in extreme poverty, leaving his precious treasure to a Jew.
The seventeenth century produced a few specimens of secular literature. But it was an unfavorable time, a time of anxiety, of usurpations; and afterwards came the Polish invasion. When intellectual life again awoke, theological works were the order of the day; and even up to the time of Peter the Great, all the writers of note were theologians.
The development of general literature in Russia was precisely analogous to that of Western Europe, only about two centuries later, the seventeenth century in Russia corresponding to the fifteenth in France. With popular literature, or folk-lore, however, the case is quite otherwise; nowhere is it so rich and varied as with the Slavonians.
Nature and history seem to have been too cruel to this people. Their spirits rise in rebellion against their condition, and soar into that fantastic realm of the imagination, above and outside the material world; a realm created by the Divine Being for the renewal of man's spirit, and giving him an opportunity for the play of his fancy. According to the poet Tutschef, "Our earthly life is bathed in dreams, as the earth by ocean's waves." Their songs and myths are the music of history, embracing their whole national life, and changing it into dreams and fancies. The Cossack fisher-folk have sung them upon their mighty rivers for more than eight centuries.
When, in the future, Russia shall produce her greatest and truest poets, they have only to draw from these rich sources, an inexhaustible store. Never can they find better material ; for the imagination of that anonymous author, the people, is the more sublime, and its heart more truly poetical, because of its great faith, simplicity, and many sorrows. What poem can compare with that description of the universe in a book, written in the fifteenth century, called "Book of the Dove " ? —
"The sun is the fire of love glowing in the Lord's face ; the stars fall from his mantle. . . . The night is dark with his thoughts ; the break of day is the glance of his eye. . . ."
And where can the writers of the modern realistic Russian novel find tenderer touches or more sharply bitter allusions than in the old dramatic poem, "The Ascension of Christ"? Jesus, as he is about to rise to heaven, thus consoles the sorrowing crowd clustered around him : —
"Weep not, dear brethren! I will give you a mountain of gold, a river of honey ; I will leave you gardens planted with vines, fruits, and manna from heaven." But the Apostle John interrupts him, saying : —
"Do not give them the mountain of gold, for the princes and nobles will take it from them, divide it among themselves, and not allow our brothers to approach. If thou wishest these unfortunates to be fed, clothed, and sheltered, bestow upon them Thy Holy Name, that they may glorify it in their lives, on their wanderings through the earth."
The song of " The Band of Igor," an epic poem, describing the struggle with the pagan hordes from the south-west, and supposed by some authors to have been inspired by Homer, is the most ancient, and the prototype of all others of the Middle Age. The soul of the Slavonic poet of this time is Christian only in name. The powers he believes in are those of nature and the universe. He addresses invocations to the rivers, to the sea, to darkness, the winds, the sun. The continual contrast between the beneficent Light and the evil Darkness recalls the ancient Egyptian hymns, which always describe the eternal contest between day and night.
Pushkin says of the "Song of Igor," the origin of which is much disputed among scholars : " All our poets of the eighteenth century together had not poetry enough in them to comprehend, still less to compose, a single couplet of this 4 Song of Igor.'"
This epic poetry of Russia strikes its roots in the most remote antiquity of Asia, from Hindu and Persian myths, as well as from those of the Occident. It resembles the race itself in its growth and mode of development, oscillating alternately between the east and the west. Thus has the Russian mind oscillated between the two poles of attraction. In this period of its growth, it remembers and imitates more than it creates ; but the foreign images it receives and reflects assume larger contours and more melan- choly colors ; a tinge of plaintiveness, as well as of brotherly love and sympathy.
Not so with the period we now enter. Literature is now reduced to a restricted form, like the practice of an art, cultivated for itself and following certain rules. It is an edifice constructed by Peter the Great, in which the author becomes a servant of the state, with a set task like the rest of the government officials. All must study in the school of Western Europe, and must accomplish in the eighteenth century what France did in the sixteenth. Even the Slavonic language itself must suffer innovations and adopt foreign terms. Before this, all books were written in the Old Slavonic language of the church, which influenced also all scientific and poetical productions.
The change which came about naturally in France, as the result of an intellectual revolution, for which the minds of the people were already ripe, was in Russia brought about by a single will ; being the artificial work of one man who aroused the people from slumber before their time.
A new style of literature cannot be called into being, as an army can be raised, or a new code of laws established, by an imperial order or decree. Let us imagine the Renaissance established in France by Philippe le Bel ! Such an attempt was now made in Russia, and its unsatisfactory results are easily accounted for.
Peter established an Academy of Science at St. Petersburg, sending its members abroad for a time at first to absorb all possible knowledge, and return to use it for the benefit of the Russian people. This custom prevailed for more than a century. The most important of these scholars was Lomonosof, the son of a poor fisherman of the White Sea. Having distinguished himself at school, he was taken up by the government and sent into Germany. Returning to supplant the German professors, whom he found established at St. Petersburg, he bequeathed to his country a quite remarkable epic poem on Peter the Great, called "La Petriade," for which his name is revered by his countrymen.
The glorious reign of Catherine II. should have added something to the literary world. She was a most extraordinary woman. She wrote com- edies for her own theatre at the Hermitage, as well as treatises on education for the benefit of her grandchildren, and would gladly have been able to furnish native philosophers worthy to vie with her foreign courtiers ; but they proved mere feeble imitators of Voltaire. Kheraskof wrote the " Rossiade " and Sumarokof, called by his contem- poraries the Russian Racine, furnished the court with tragedies. But two comedies, " Le Briga- dier," and "Le Mineur," by Von Vizin, have more merit, and are still much read and highly appreciated. These form a curious satire on the customs of the time. But the name of Derzhavin eclipses all others of this epoch. His works were modelled somewhat after Rousseau and Lefranc de Pompignan, and are fully equal to them.
Derzhavin had the good-fortune to live to a ripe old age, and in court life through several reigns; thus having the best of opportunities to utilize all striking events. Each new accession to the throne, victories, anniversaries, all contributed to inflate his national pride and inspire his muse.
But his high-flown rhetoric is open to severe criticism, and his works will be chiefly valued as illustrative of a glorious period of Russian history, and as a memorial of the illustrious Catherine. Pushkin says of him: —
"He is far inferior to Lomonosof. — He neither understood the grammar nor the spirit of our language ; and in time, when his works will have been translated, we shall blush for him. We should reserve only a few of his odes and sketches, and burn all the rest."
Krylof, the writer of fables in imitation of La Fontaine, deserves mention. He had talent enough to show some originality in a style of literature in which it is most difficult to be original ; and wrote with a rude simplicity characteristically Russian, and in a vein much more vigorous than that of his model.
Karamzin inaugurated a somewhat novel deviation in the way of imitation. He was an enthusiastic admirer of Rousseau. He was poet, critic, political economist, novelist, and historian; and bore a leading part in the literature of the latter part of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth; a time including the end of Catherine's reign and the early part of Alexander's. It was a transition period between the classic and romantic schools of literature. Karamzin might be called the Rousseau and the Chateaubriand of his country. His voluminous history of Russia is of great merit, although he is sufficiently blinded by his patriotism to cause him to present a too flattering picture of a most cruel despotism; so that his assertions are often challenged by later writers. But the work is of great value as a most conscientious compilation of events and quotations, and the only one written up to the last twenty years ; and in this respect Karamzin has no rival.
He owed his renown, before writing his history, to a few little romances of a sentimental turn. The romantic story of "La pauvre Lise" especially was received with a furor quite out of proportion to its merit. Its popularity was such that it became the inspiration of artists and of decorators of porcelain. Lakes and ponds innumerable were baptized with the name of Lise, in memory of her sad fate. Such enthusiasm seems incredible; but we can never tell what literary effort may be borne on to undying fame by the wheel of fashion!
The successive efforts of these secondary writers have contributed much to form the language of Russian literature as it now exists; Karamzin for its prose, Derzhavin for its poetry. In less than one hundred years the change was accomplished, and the way prepared for Pushkin, who was destined to supply an important place in Russian literature.
Karamzin's part in politics was quite at variance with his position in the world of letters. Although an imitator of Rousseau, he set himself against the liberal ideas of Alexander. He was opposed to the emancipation of the serfs, and became the champion of the so-called Muscovitism, which, forty years later, became Slavophilism. He lived in Moscow, where the conservative element was strongest, acting in opposition to Speranski, the prime minister.
In 1811, Karamzin wrote a famous paper, addressed to his sovereign, called, "Old and New Russia," which so influenced Alexander's vacillating mind that it gave the death-blow to Speranski. In this paper he says: "We are anticipating matters in Russia, where there are hardly one hundred persons who know how to spell correctly. We must return to our national traditions, and do away with all ideas imported from the Occident. No Russian can comprehend any limitation of the autocratic power. The autocrat draws his wisdom from a fountain within himself, and from the love of his people," etc.
This paper contained the germ of every future demand of the Muscovite party.
Karamzin is the pioneer of the Slavophile party, which would do away with all the reforms of Peter the Great, and reconstruct the original Russia as an ideal government, entirely free from any European ideas. As this political programme became a literary one, it is important to note its first appearance.
Freemasonry, that embodiment of the spirit of mysticism, worked its way into Russia, brought from Sweden and Germany, during the reign of Catherine ; and was at once taken up by the literary world, then led by Novikof. The greater part of the distinguished scholars and statesmen under Alexander, Karamzin among them, were interested in it, and spread through the country the philosophical works which deluged Europe.
The French Revolution now broke out ; and Catherine, becoming alarmed at the rapid spread of the new philosophy, ordered the lodges closed, had the suspicious books seized, and Novikof tried and condemned.
But the new doctrines assumed greater force under Alexander, who encouraged them. The infatuation for this mysticism spread among all intelligent people. The state of mind of the upper classes has been faithfully depicted in the character of Pierre Bezushof, in "War and Peace," the historical novel of Leon Tolstoï. (See the chapter which describes Pierre's initiation into Freemasonry.) This condition of mind is not peculiar to the Russians. All Europe was obscured by it at the end of the eighteenth century ; but in Russia it found free scope in the unsettled and confused state of affairs, where the thinking mind struggled against the influx of rationalism, while unwilling to accept the negative philosophy of the learned class. On this account, among others, the reign of Alexander I. presents a curious subject for study and contemplation. It offered a point of meeting for every new current of thought which agitated Russia, as well as for everything that had been repressed throughout the reign of Nicholas. The Masonic lodges insensibly became a moving power in politics, which led to the liberal conspiracy crushed out in 1825. A horror of the revolutionary ideas of France, and the events of 1812, had produced a great change in the Russian mind; besides, Russia, now temporarily estranged from France, became more influenced by Germany ; which fact was destined to have a considerable effect upon their literature. During the whole of the eighteenth century, France tutored the Russian mind in imitation of the classics. It now became inculcated with the romanticism of Germany.