Title of the article:



Marina D. Kuzmina 

Information about the author/authors

Marina D. Kuzmina — PhD in Philology, Associate Professor, Higher School of Printing and Media Technologies, St. Petersburg State University of Industrial Technologies and Design, Bolshaya Morskaya St., 18, 191186 St. Petersburg, Russia; Doctoral student of the Department of Russian Literature, Herzen Russian State Pedagogical University, 48 Moika emb., 191186 St. Petersburg, Russia. ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1293-800X. E-mail: mdkuzmina@mail.ru


Philological sciences




Vol. 59


pp. 161–173


November 17, 2019

Date of publication

March 28, 2021



Index UDK


Index BBK



The paper attempts to identify the originality of epistolary genre against the background of other genres of Old Russian literature, which, as is known, was characterized by the interaction of genres, genre synthesis. The message stands out against the general background as the most “personal” genre. It articulates quite clearly the situation of communication of, as a rule, two specific personalities — addresser and addressee. It is thereby very targeted and situational, focused on the needs and goals of participants in the epistolary dialogue. It more or less actualizes the images of both communicants. The author of the letter enjoys freedom in choosing the self-characteristics and characteristics of the addressee, in choosing the forms of addressing the latter as well as choosing the composition of the text, etc. However in reality the “personality” of the epistolary genre is reserved and rather arbitrary. Addressers to addressees, widely varying in the whole body of messages, differ, in essence, only in form. In content, they are synonymous. They carry not so much personal as depersonalized, transpersonal characteristics, usual for ancient Russian literature, reflecting social situation, spiritual relations of the participants in correspondence (spiritual father / spiritual child, etc.), etc. They reflected in their own way the requirement of etiquette of epistolary communication established in the era of antiquity and involving complementarity of appeals to the addressee. Thus, the “personality” of the message, on the one hand, ensured its organic inclusion in the system of genres of ancient Russian literature. On the other hand, it allowed him to preserve and develop characteristic features that distinguished the epistolary genre from antiquity and could provide him with a future at a time when the genre system would lose its synthetics, each of them would have to defend its right to autonomy; but at the same time, “personality” was fraught with a danger of exclusion of the epistolary genre from literature.


epistolary genre, medieval personality, message, letter, epistolary dialogue, destination, author.


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