Institute of Scientific Information for Social Sciences
of the Russian Academy of Sciences
The Journal of Literary History and Theory
Peer-reviewed Academic Journal


Ranchin A.M.

Andrei M. Ranchin, DSc in Philology, Professor of the Department of the History of Russian Literature, Faculty of Philology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 1st building of humanitarian faculties, Lomonosov Moscow State University, GSP-1, Leninskie Gory, 119991, Moscow, Russia. ORCID ID: E-mail:


The article discusses the introductory chapter of the "History of One City" by M.Ye. Saltykov-Shchedrin and argues that the interpretation of the villainous Roman emperors (Caligula and Nero) by the fictional author of the introduction as a kind of symbolic figures – models for famous rulers – was inspired by the assessment of the “glorious” crimes of the French robber Cartush in the introduction of Matvei Komarov’s book "The Story of the Swindler Van’ka Cain". The author of "The History of One City", using the model of assimilating a morally flawed domestic historical personality to foreign criminals, replaces the ingenuous admiration characteristic of the pretext with an ironic one. The parallel with the book about Van’ka Kain is not the only echo with the works of Russian literature of the 18th century in the introduction to the chronicle of Saltykov-Shchedrin. The text of introduction also reveals a correlation with the Ode of 1747 by M.V. Lomonosov.


'The History of One City'; M.Ye. Saltykov-Shchedrin; irony; pretext; M.V. Lomonosov; Matvey Komarov.





For citation

Ranchin, A.M. “On the Question of the Pretexts of the History of One City by M.Ye. Saltykov-Shchedrin”. Literaturovedcheskii zhurnal, no. 3(53), 2021, pp. 164–174. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.31249/litzhur/2021.53.11

DOI: 10.31249/litzhur/2021.53.11


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