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

«Chance, an instant instrument of Providence»: about the cultural and historical background and parallels of Pushkin’s aphorism

Dushenko K. V.


The convergence of chance and Providence was common in the literature of the eighteenth and first decades of the nineteenth centuries, however, Pushkin poses this problem in a historiosophical context. Pushkin’s aphorism «Chance, the mighty, instant instrument of Providence» had a number of parallels in French literature, including the works of conservative publicists of the 1800–1820 s. The opinion that Pushkin is polemicizing here with French historians of the Restoration era is not sufficiently substantiated. The expression «formula of history», which plays an important role in Pushkin’s notes, belongs to french traditionalist P.S. Ballanche, but the concept of «providential hasard», introduced by Ballanche, to Pushkin, apparently, was not known. The article also considers the most famous aphorisms from the close semantic series: «Chance is a nickname for Providence» (N. Chamfort), «Chance is the pseudonym of God» (T. Gautier) etc.


historiosophy; aphorisms; A.S. Pushkin; Boethius; Giovanni Paolo Marana; N. Chamfort; T. Gautier; T. de Quincey; J. de Maistre; P.-S. Ballanche.

DOI: 10/31249/litzhur/2021.51.04

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