Title of the article:



Marina D. Kuzmina

Information about the author/authors

Marina D. Kuzmina — PhD in Philology, Associate Professor, Book Publishing and Book Trade, The Higher School of The Press and Media Technologies, St. Petersburg State University Of Industrial Technologies And Design, Bolshaya Morskaya St., 18, 191186 St. Petersburg, Russia; Associate Professor of Department of the Russian Literature, Russian State Pedagogical University of A. I. Herzen, Moika River Emb., 48, 191186 St. Petersburg, Russia.
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1293-800X
E-mail: mdkuzmina@mail.ru


Philological sciences




Vol. 65


pp. 142–157


August 24, 2020

Approved after reviewing

October 15, 2020

Date of publication

September 28, 2022



Index UDK


Index BBK



The paper is to study the correspondence by A. D. Kantemir with his sister, M. D. Kantemir, in the context of development of the epistolary genre in Russian literature of the 18th century. It turns out that it began to advance to leading positions as early as the first third of the 18th century (as evidenced, in particular, by the writer of the time of Peter the Great “Annexes, how to write different compliments...”), a friendly letter plays a decisive role in the communication between the prince and the princess. This is a kind of family-friendly correspondence. Its character changes over time: in 1732–1740 it is mostly confidential and confessional, in 1741–1744 — business. Probably, such changes occurred under the influence of external factors: the state of health of Kantemir was steadily deteriorating, what he tried to conceal from his sister not to upset or frighten her, yet he did not want to lie to her either. At the same time, he had neither the strength nor the time to discuss anything, except the cases when he was in a hurry to arrange, feeling the approach of death. Obviously, for these reasons, personal topics were hushed up. But even transferred to the business register, the correspondence between brother and sister Kantemir remained invariably friendly. Whatever character it wore, it displays such features as empathy, sincere participation of one correspondent in the events of the life and experiences of another (hence the special warmth in appeals to the addressee, including in prescripts and clauses), the presence of friendly jokes, as well as its own kind of “secret writing”, an allegorical language, understandable only to the correspondents. Princess Maria suggested that Cantemir adopted nicknames for mutual acquaintances, and in the letters of Princess Maria these nicknames realize their literary potential. They are two-pronged (the Princess alternately actualizes the “human”, then the “animal” plan of content, long anticipating the method of switching the narrative from the “animal” to the “human” plane, characteristic for the satire of M. E. Saltykov-Shchedrin, including his tales) and are quite satirical. The presence of literary — first of all, poetic — insertions is considered to be one of the features of friendly literary writing, the appearance of which in Russian literature is traditionally dated to the second half of the 18th century. The correspondence between the Prince and Princess Kantemir is closely connected with the tradition of sentimentalism, thanks to its confidential, confessional and friendly tonality. The study demonstrates that this correspondence enriches academic understanding of the essence and history of formation of the friendly literary writing.


A. D. Kantemir, M. D. Kantemir, correspondence, epistolary genre, letter, friendly letter, Russian literature of the 18th century.


1 Antonova M. V. Drevnerusskoe poslanie XI–XII vv.: poetika zhanra [Old Russian message of the 11–13 Centuries: Poetics of the Genre]. Orel, Kursiv Publ., 2011. 357 p. (In Russian)

2 Bludilina N. D. Antiokh Kantemir i angliiskaia kul'tura [Antiochus Cantemir and English Culture]. Vestnik slavianskikh kul'tur, 2009, no 1, pp. 57–67. (In Russian)

3 Bludilina N. D. Antiokh Kantemir i ego literaturnye sviazi vo Frantsii [Antiochus Cantemir and his Literary Connections in France]. Vestnik slavianskikh kul'tur, 2010, no 3, pp. 60–68. (In Russian)

4 Voronin T. L. Istoriia russkoi literatury XVIII stoletiia [History of Russian Literature of the 18th Century]. Moscow, Saint Tikhon's Orthodox University of Humanities Publ., 2009. 303 p. (In Russian)

5 Ginzburg L. Ia. “Zastenchivost' chuvstva”. Po povodu pisem liudei pushkinskogo kruga [“Shyness of Feeling”. On the Letters of the People of Pushkin Circle]. In: Krasnaia kniga kul'tury [Red Book of Culture]. Moscow, Iskusstvo Publ., 1987, pp. 183–188. (In Russian)

6 Glariantova E. V. Zhanr kommentariev A. D. Kantemira k ego perevodu “Poslanii” Goratsiia [Genre of Comments by A. D. Cantemir to his Translation of the “Epistles” by Horace]. Problemy istoricheskoi poetiki, 2016, vol. 14, pp. 16–44. (In Russian)

7 Demin A. S. Russkie pis'movniki XV–XVII vekov. (K voprosu o russkoi epistoliarnoi kul'ture) [Russian Writers of the 15th–17th Centuries. (On the Issue of Russian Epistolary Culture): PhD Dissertation]. Leningrad, 1963. 454 p. (In Russian)

8 Klein I. Sluzhba, len', i “sladostnyi dosug” v russkoi dvorianskoi kul'ture XVIII veka [Service, Laziness, and “Sweet Leisure” in the Russian Noble Culture of the 18th Century]. In: XVIII vek [18th]. St. Petersburg, Nauka Publ., 2017, Coll. 29, pp. 156–175. (In Russian)

9 Kosilova A. D. Filosofskii diskurs pisem Kantemira k sestre Marii [Philosophical Discourse of Cantemir's Letters to Sister Mary]. In: Sovremennaia filologiia: metody, gipotezy, problemy, universalii. Sbornik nauchnykh statei po itogam NIR i NIRS kafedry filologii i massovykh kommunikatsii [Modern Philology: Methods, Hypotheses, Issues, Universals. Collection of Papers on the Results of Research and Research of the Department of Philology and Mass Communications], ed. by S. B. Kozinets. Samara, Samara Branch Moscow Pedagogical State University Publ., 2019, pp. 79–86. (In Russian)

10 Lazarchuk R. M. Druzheskoe pis'mo vtoroi poloviny XVIII veka kak iavlenie literatury [Friendly Writing of the Second Half of the 18th Century as a Literary Phenomenon: PhD Thesis, Summary]. Leningrad, 1972. 19 p. (In Russian)

11 Lazarchuk R. M. Druzheskoe pis'mo i ego mesto v literaturnom protsesse kontsa XVIII veka (G. P. Kamenev) [Friendly Letter and its Place in the Literary Process of the Late 18th century (G. P. Kamenev) ]. In: XXIV Gertsenovskie chteniia. Filologicheskie nauki. Kratkoe soderzhanie dokladov [XXIV Herzen Readings. Philological Sciences. Summary of the Reports]. Leningrad, Herzen State Pedagogical University Publ., 1971, pp. 53–55. (In Russian)

12 Lazarchuk R. M. Iz istorii druzheskogo pis'ma kontsa XVIII v. (N. A. L'vov) [From the History of Friendly Letters at the End of the 18th Century. (N. A. Lvov) ]. In: XXII Gertsenovskie chteniia. Programma i kratkoe soderzhanie dokladov [XXII Herzen Readings. Program and Summary of Reports]. Leningrad, Herzen State Pedagogical University Publ., 1969, pp. 93–95. (In Russian)

13 Lazarchuk R. M. Pis'ma G. P. Kameneva i ikh istoriko-literaturnoe znachenie [G. P. Kamenev's Letters and Their Historical and Literary Significance]. In: Problemy izucheniia russkoi literatury XVIII veka. Ot klassitsizma k romantizmu [Problems of Studying Russian Literature of the 18th century. From Classicism to Romanticism]. Leningrad, Herzen State Pedagogical University Publ., 1976, vol. 2, pp. 74–85. (In Russian)

14 Lappo-Danilevskii K. Iu. Druzheskoe literaturnoe pis'mo: spetsifika, istoki [Friendly literary writing: specifics, origins]. In: XVIII vek [18th]. St. Petersburg, Nauka Publ., 2013, coll. 27, pp. 121–153. (In Russian)

15 Maikov L. M. Kniazhna Mariia Kantemirova [Princess Maria Kantemirova]. Rusin, 2011, no 1 (23), pp. 81–154. (In Russian)

16 Makogonenko G. P. Pis'ma russkikh pisatelei XVIII v. i literaturnyi protsess [Letters from Russian Writers of the 18th Century and Literary Process]. In: Pis'ma russkikh pisatelei XVIII veka [Letters of Russian Writers of the 18th century]. Leningrad, Nauka Publ., 1980, pp. 12–13. (In Russian)

17 Perepiska kn. A. D. Kantemira s sestroi Mariei na ital'ianskom iazyke. 1732–1739. (Publ. D. Maiellaro) [Correspondence of A. D. Cantemir with his Sister Maria in Italian. 1732–1739. (Publ. D. Maiellaro]. In: Russko-ital'ianskii arkhiv. II. [Russian-Italian Archive. II], comp. by D. Ritstsi and A. Shishkin. Salerno, 2002, pp. 25–78. (In Russian)

18 Perepiska kn. A. D. Kantemira s sestroi Mariei na ital'ianskom iazyke. 1740–1744. (Publ. D. Maiellaro) [Correspondence of A. D. Cantemir with his Sister Maria in Italian. 1740–1744. (Publ. D. Maiellaro) ]. In: Russko-ital'ianskii arkhiv. IV. [Russian-Italian Archive. IV], comp. by D. Ritstsi and A. Shishkin. Salerno, 2005, pp. 149–201. (In Russian)

19 Polonskii D. G. Pervyi russkii pechatnyi pis'movnik i ego rol' v formirovanii epistoliarnoi kul'tury Novogo vremeni [The First Russian Printed Letter Writer and his Role in the Formation of the Epistolary Culture of the New Time]. In: Academia.edu. Available at: https://www.academia.edu/6378808 (accessed 29 July 2020). (In Russian)

20 Priklady, kako pishutsia komplimenty raznye na nemetskom iazyke, to est' pisaniia ot potentatov k potentatam, pozdravitel'nye i sozhatelel'nye, i inye; takozhde mezhdu srodnikov i priiatelei [Annexes, on how to Write Different Compliments in German, that is, Writings from Potentates to Potentates, Congratulatory and Conniving, and others; so much the same between Relatives and Friends], perevedeny s nemetskogo na rossiiskii iazyk. Napechatannye poveleniem blagochestiveishago velikogo gosudaria tsaria, velikogo kniazia Petra Aleksievicha vseia Velikiia i Malyia i belyia Rossii samoderzhtsa. Pri blagorodneishem gosudare tsareviche, i velikom kniaze Aleksii Petroviche. V tsarstvuiushchem velikom grade Moskve, April 1708. [trans. from German into Russian. Printed by the Order of the most Pious Great Sovereign Tsar, Grand Duke Peter Alexievich of All Great and Small and White Russia autocrat. Under the most Noble Sovereign Tsarevich, and Grand Duke Alexy Petrovich. In the Reigning Great City of Moscow, April 1708]. 210 p. (In Russian)

21 Pumpianskii L. V. Ocherki po literature pervoi poloviny XVIII veka [Essays on Literature of the first Half of the 18th Century]. In: XVIII vek. Sbornik statei i materialov [18 century. Collection of papers and materials], ed. by Academician A. S. Orlov. Moscow, Leningrad, AN SSSR Publ., 1935, pp. 83–132. (In Russian)

22 Frik T. B. Elegicheskie motivy v pis'makh N. M. Karamzina [Elegiac Motives in the Letters of N. M. Karamzin]. Vestnik Tomskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Series Filologiia [Philology], 2015, no 1 (33), pp. 159–168. (In Russian)

23 Frik T. B. Epistoliarii N. M. Karamzina skvoz' prizmu obrazov avtora i adresata [Epistolary of N. M. Karamzin in the Light of Images of the Author and Addressee]. Filologicheskie nauki. Voprosy teorii i praktiki, 2015, no 1–2 (43), pp. 198–201. (In Russian)