It might seem that Saint Petersburg is overfilled with sculptural monuments. However, compared to other capital and major cities of the world, they are not so numerous. But what matters is that the monuments of Peter’s city possess a special quality of memorability, they are forever ingrained in the mind of anyone who sees them (and probably even of those who have never seen them in person) and in the Russian national spirit. That is why their second birth and immortalizing, not in stone but in spirit, often seems so natural.
Pushkin in his eponymous poem has figuratively cast The Bronze Horseman anew and gave the monument to Peter the Great the name that has become symbolic. The «Alexander Column» has become known thusly from Pushkin’s verse as well…
When people came to think, at last, of the necessity to immortalize Pushkin in the form of a monument, the Moscow unveiling of the sculpture made by A.M. Opekushin in 1880 appeared the moment of the highest and truly spiritual nature – a moment (alas, then only a moment) of national settlement and peace. The «Pushkin Festival» that accompanied the inauguration of the monument also became a spiritual stadium of sorts with the participation of such outstanding Russian public figures as Ivan Turgenev, Ivan Aksakov and Alexander Ostrovsky. The absolute winner was Fedor Dostoevsky who presented his famous revelation – the «Pushkin Speech».
That is why when in the process of preparations for the centenary anniversary of the great Russian poet’s birth (1899) they raised an issue of putting a new Pushkin monument in St. Petersburg. It became clear that there was hardly any sense in competing with Moscow in the field of traditional sculptural commemoration. The modest monument to the poet placed on Pushkinskaya Street in Petersburg served only to highlight this fact. While M.Y.Villiye, professor of the Academy of Arts expressed it in a rather reserved way, saying that this figure is not adequate either to the poet or to the capital city, A.I.Kuprin, the writer, gave way to his rage, «We must tell the truth: this is not a monument but a shame. They managed to put the most philistine, pitiful, cachetic monument imaginable to the greatest poet of the enormous country, its ardent, noble, pure heart, its best son, our primary pride and our justification. The offense is not in its small size. The problem is its moral pettiness».
There was in the air the idea of some absolutely different and novel tribute to the poet that would correspond not only to his constantly increasing significance in Russian life but might itself have a potential for growing.
A Committee for the organization of the celebrations in honor of the centenial anniversary of Pushkin’s birthday was formed under the aegis of the Academy of Sciences. It was headed by the president of the Imperial Academy of Sciences the Great Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich – a poet, known under the pseudonym K.R., one of the best educated people of his time, a refined connoisseur of art, musician and translator. The Committee also included writers, (D.V.Grigorovich), composers, (N.A.Rimsky-Korsakov), state figures, (S.Y.Vitte), academicians, (A.N. Veselovsky, A.A.Shakhmatov), along with representatives of the Academy of Arts, St. Petersburg University and other institutions.
«We must design an institution unprecedented in Russia, an institution to which all Russian reading public could contribute, that would be adequate to the sublime role of the great poet. I would say this could be an Odeon bearing the name of Pushkin. A new building constructed specifically for this purpose in the central part of Petersburg. In the future it could become the location of annual competitions at which poets would present their verses in the face of the whole nation and receive their awards. It could be the stage for dramatic performances of Pushkin’s works», wrote in December 1898 the warden of the Orenburg educational region I.Y.Rostovtsev to the member of Pushkin Jubilee Committee academician L.N.Maikov.
Poet K.K.Sluchevsky, also a Committee member, put forward the idea of necessity «to attend to institution of something that in its specificity and unity would not only remain the eternal memory of the celebration but would also have potential for development».
«I do realize my importunity», wrote another member of the Committee V.A.Ryshkov to the famous singer L.V.Sobinov. «I do realize that I can provoke vexation, but the issue that forces me to bother the people who stand above the crowd is so high and noble! This reason would protect and justify me in your eyes. Naturally I am talking about our greatest Pushkin … The idea of Pushkin House, the house of the coryphae of literature that would concentrate everything refering to these leading figures, fascinates me immensely…»
This idea also fascinated Leonid Sobinov who gave several concerts for the benefit of Pushkinsky Dom. And he was not alone – among those who performed for this case were Fedor Shaliapin, Vera Komissarzhevskaya, Konstantin Varlamov and many others.
So the idea of the House of Pushkin was from its very beginning organically linked with the Academy of Sciences, with Russian intellectual elite.
Many years later Alexander Blok commemorated this event for posterity in his famous verses «To the Pushkin House» that have become a poetic formula:
||The name of Pushkin House
In the Academy of Sciences!
The clear and familiar sound,
Not an empty sound for one’s heart!<...>
Pushkin! Secret freedom
We sang following you!
Give us a hand in the foul weather,
Help us in our mute struggle!
Was not it the sweetness of your sounds
That inspired us in those years?
|Was not it your, Pushkin, joy
That lent wings to us then?
That is why this is such a familiar
And native sound for the heart –
The name of Pushkin House
In the Academy of Sciences.
That is why in the sunset hours
Heading into the night darkness
С From the white square of the Senate
I quietly bow to it.
This poem, the last one written by Blok, appeared prophetic. The poet greeted the Pushkin House from the «white square of the Senate» (now Decembrists Square), because that is where it was then located, in the main building of the Academy of Sciences. A short time would pass, and Pushkin House would accept into its depository Blok’s archive – manuscripts and library, that became memorial items.
The process of setting the institution that was to become the proper Pushkin House proceeded consistently and gradually, so to say, historically. Its pre-history includes, first of all, Pushkin Exhibition organized and carried out by the Academy of Sciences. The exhibition was opened in the large conference hall of the Academy of Sciences main building in May of the jubilee year 1899. The abundant exhibition material comprising documents, books, diverse iconography and memorabilia, elicited from numerous institutions and private collections, professionally organized and represented (under the guidance of academician L.N.Maikov and B.L.Modzalevsky), made it possible to see more clearly the future outlines of Pushkin House. And naturally everybody then felt the urge to preserve this grandiose collection, essential for the study and dissemination of Pushkin heritage.
Alas, these dawning contours of the new institution were then diffused and eroded; after the exhibition was closed, the exhibits were returned to different places. However, this initial though temporal realization of the idea of a unified Pushkin center that could encompass all this wealth grew stronger in the minds of different people. As a famous Pushkin scholar N.V.Izmailov correctly remarked Pushkin House had been practically formed even before the initial idea of the house-monument was realized, and this fact served an indication of organic vital public necessity to create such a permanent institution.
In the jubilee year of 1899 another committee was formed, also under the aegis of the Academy of Sciences, headed by its president, the Great Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich. This time it was the Committee for the erection of the monument proper to the poet, and it also eventually arrived at the idea of a new, uncommon Pushkin monument.
Initially there was a plan to erect a monument that would be a peculiar combination of sculpture and building placed at the embankment, between Troitsky and Sampsonievsky bridges, also there was an idea to give this part of the Neva embankment Pushkin’s name. However, the City Hall declined the proposal and the embankment was named Petrovskaya (after Peter the Great). There was also another eventually unrealized idea to erect the monument in the corner Kamennoostrovsky prospect and Peter the Great embankment, in the vicinity of Troitskaya Square.
It was clear even then that an extraordinary monument to Pushkin as a forefather of new Russian literature would also become a monument in honor of Russian literature as a whole and the center of its study. Pushkin House, as M.D.Belyaev, its future curator wrote, «realized its specific essence in the context of other academic institutions as an Institute of new Russian literature». These words were pronounced long before Pushkin House acquired the status of such an institution.
The House of Pushkin was established only in 1905. The Committee for the erection of the monument (that had already begun to raise the funds) at last addressed the Russian public with a question, «Would not it be better to construct a monument to Pushkin not in the form of a statue but by building a special museum? This museum that should be given the name of Pushkin, the fore-father of our bélles- léttres, will concentrate everything referring to our outstanding literature artists, i.e. manuscripts, objects, editions of books, and so on». The proposal was supported by Russian press and public. The universally agreed issue was finally settled on the Committee session on December 15, 1905. In February 1907 the same Committee changed the nearly accepted name The House of Pushkin for Pushkin House (Pushkinsky Dom) and signed a Statute that declared that Pushkinsky Dom is «a state property and is subjected to the authority of the Imperial Academy of Sciences».
However, due to the efforts of such enthusiastic workers like B.L.Modzalevsky the creation of Pushkinsky Dom had begun even before it was officially established. As early as in the jubilee year 1899 the vice-president of the Academy of Sciences, an outstanding Pushkin scholar academician L.N.Maikov proposed the idea of acquiring Pushkin’s library. In 1900 it was Modzalevsky who studied this book collection and brought it from the village Ivanovskoe of Moscow region, where it had been kept in the estate of the poet’s grandson Alexandr Alexandrovich, to Petersburg, to the Library of the Academy of Sciences. Then the purpose of the transition was just to preserve it in a safe place.
«The acquisition of the poet’s library», wrote in February 1906 one of the organizers of the future museum V.A.Ryshkov to count I.I.Tolstoy, «into the property of the museum would make its precious foundation, worthy of Pushkin’s great name. On the one hand, we will thus secure the future of this valuable collection and, on the other hand, this would allow the poet’s grandson to escape the uneasy situation, into which he had been thrown, among other reasons, as a landowner, this act would give him a feeling that, in spite of the hardships and notwithstanding other profitable offers that he, according to his attorney, had received from foreign book-sellers, his grandfather’s library will forever remain the property of Russian society».
In April 1906 the government allocated the necessary funds, and quite a fair amount – 18,000 rubles – for the purchase of the library, that was given to Pushkinsky Dom and in fact financed its initial foundation.
Now the priceless book collection consisting of 3,700 volumes (1523 titles) in 14 languages is preserved at the Manuscript Department of Pushkinsky Dom (while the famous house on 12 Moika, the poet’s last apartment, exhibits the duplicates).
In 1907 the Minister of Finance Count V.N.Kokovtsev initiated the idea of acquisition of the famous A.F.Onegin’s Paris collection-museum. There are speculations that Onegin, whose social status according to his passport was a «Petersburg’s petty bourgeois», was in fact an illegitimate offspring of a dynastic family. He was brought up by his godmother and, although she did not adopt him officially, he had borne her name – Otto until 1890, when by the decree of Emperor Alexander III he was given the right to call himself Onegin. However, unofficially and alluding to Pushkin he had called himself so since 1866.
Since 1879 when he left Russia for good, A.F.Onegin devoted his whole life to creation of Pushkin Museum. His Paris flat became a kind of Pushkin House in France. He collected literally everything pertaining to the great poet’s life and art – from rare autographs, books, memorabilia to all sorts of calendars, postcards, perfumes, textbooks and the like.
In the early 1880s his friend, son of Vasily Andreevich Zhukovsky, Pavel Vasiljevich presented Onegin with sixty Pushkin’s manuscripts: the first redaction of «Count Nulin», fragments of «The Egyptian Nights», Boldino autograph of «To Voevoda» and some other items. Later he also moved to Onegin’s flat the papers concerning the history of Pushkin’s duel and death, a great number of documents and abundant Pushkin iconography. Pavel Vasilijevich Zhukovsky also donated his father’s archive and 400 volumes from his library. Little by little different people who possessed and kept valuables referring to Russian and European cultures transferred them to the collector. Onegin’s collection included autographs of Lermontov and Gogol, Gertsen and Turgenev, I.Aksakov and Y.Polonsky.
There were also many items that Onegin discovered and purchased himself. The museum, which occupied all the three rooms of his Paris apartment, was preserved in perfect order. For many emigrants in the first years after the Revolution of 1917 it served a spiritual refuge and a symbol of Russia. The whole life of A.F.Onegin was selflessly devoted to creation and supporting of his unique collections.
V.N.Kokovtsev negotiated with Onegin about the possibility of the Imperial Academy of Sciences purchasing the collection. The collector reserved for himself the right to have unlimited access to his collection for life. According to the signed agreement he received 10,000 gold rubles in a lump and 6,000 annually for the stocking of his collection. These links were severed by the Revolution of 1917, but were re-established in 1919. Onegin passed away in 1925. After complicated judicial issues were settled, his collection began to be transferred to Pushkinsky Dom of the Academy of Sciences in dozens of containers: furniture, books, bronze, canvases, and plasters. Part of the collection, primarily Pushkin’s manuscripts, was even sent with diplomatic couriers.
However, in defiance of the will of the collector and of Pushkinsky Dom staff, it began to be dispersed (and at the same time plundered). Many items never reached the destination and were taken over by other museums. At present a number of memorial and fine arts exhibits are in the All-Russian A.S.Pushkin Museum. The Hermitage received the collection of coins. Pushkinsky Dom keeps the manuscript collection and the library. In 1997 the materials from A.F.Onegin’s museum formed the exhibition entitled «Pushkin’ shadow adopted me…».
It should be noted that Soviet government protected, took care of and financially supported Pushkinsky Dom. Among its directors we see the names of famous state figures and writers – A.V.Lunacharsky, L.B.Kamenev. Maxim Gorky… For many years Pushkinsky Dom was headed by well-known Soviet literature scholars –academician A.S. Bushmin, fellow-correspondent of the USSR Academy of Sciences V.G.Bazanov. The latest major state acquisition was Pushkin’s letters to his bride Natalia Nikolaevna, nee Goncharov, from Serge Lifar’s collection. According to Lifar’s testament, they were, prior to going to the auction, offered to Pushkinsky Dom.
Let us return to history. In 1918 according to the Decree of the Conference of Russian Academy of Sciences Pushkinsky Dom as a «national museum of a special kind» was given the formal status of an academic institution. However, because of wars, devastation and disorder the idea of the construction of a new building, the Odeon, was never realized. The sub-commission for establishing Pushkinsky Dom (it was created within Committee for erection of the monument to the poet that included, apart from «file and rank» workers, also V.A.Ryshkov and B.L.Modzalevsky, academicians S.F.Oldenburg, A.A.Shakhmatov, N.A.Kotlyarevsky) expressed a wish that Pushkinsky Dom in its dominant features would be constructed in Empire style and would have special rooms allocated for collections, a large hall for public meetings and enough space for research staff.
It was only in 1927 that Pushkinsky Dom, after long wanderings all over the city, found its permanent place – the building erected according to the design of architect I.F.Lukini with a classic eight-column portico and bronze sculptures of Mercury, Neptune and Ceres over the pediment, the former building of main Naval Customs House (Russian Empire style, the 1830s). The legend says that Pushkin has been in this house.
In terms of scale and structure this building on Makarov Embankment even surpassed the original idea. Collections, that had been previously dispersed and broken, were at least fused into some sort of a unified whole. This made it possible to structure the exposition according to a historic principle, with natural accents motivated by the specifics and volume of the materials available. Gradually this aspect of the project came to the fore in the museum – the general literature process ceased being the main theme of the exposition. Now it acquired primarily what may be called monographic character.
In the jubilee year 1999 in front of Pushkinsky Dom there was erected or, to be more exact, restored the classic bust of the poet, created by sculptor I.N.Shreder, which once had stood on Kamennoostrovsky Avenue in front of the building of the Tsarskoselsky, later Alexandrovsky Lyceum. Also in the court there was constructed a modern archive building. It cannot be seen from the façade part which is linked to the main house with a glass-covered passage.
In 1930 Pushkinsky Dom was named the academic Institute of Russian Literature (abbreviated as IRLI), retaining its first-born name – Pushkinsky Dom. The institution became a unique example of a complex museum-research structure.
* * *
The Literature Museum of Pushkinsky Dom – the first and the largest national literature museum of all-encompassing quality – is one of the three whales on which the source study of the research and publication activity of the Institute and, naturally, not only of the Institute, rests. The Museum preserves more than 200,000 items of fine arts, documentary, historical and of everyday nature referring to Russian literature of the XVIII - XX centuries.
Alongside Pushkin’s library, which had put foundation of Pushkinsky Dom and practically simultaneously with its acquisition, there began to be formed general collections reflecting the multifaceted literature everyday life of the epoch, that is museum exhibits per se. Among the first acquisitions was the portrait of Anna Petrovna Kern, donated to Pushkinsky Dom by her grand-daughter A.A.Kuluzhinskaya, and two portraits of N.I.Gnedich, famous for his Russian translation of Homer’s «Iliad», that were presented by P.P.Gnedich. There followed a veritable flow of acquisitions and presents: separate items and whole collections, pictures and sculptures, books and manuscripts… A.P.Kern’s footstool on which Pushkin used to sit – from her granddaughter A.A.Kaluzhinskaya, a number of relics – from A.A.Bakhrushin and A.F.Koni, papers – from the Literature Fund, materials from the Board of Directors of the Imperial Theatres, from Brokgaus & Efron Publishing House.
From the early years of Pushkinsky Dom existence as a literature museum its creators encountered the total impossibility to separate literature from the everyday life forming its context. That forced them to expand within certain necessary limits the literature-historic collections not only with the writers’ portraits and illustrations to their works, but also with different material items that belonged to them and could serve as their characterization, and also, if it appeared possible, with the furniture surrounding the everyday literature life and work of certain epochs. This consideration led to allotting within the museum collection of Pushkinsky Dom a special department of relics, and to a certain extent, of the items of everyday life (cf.: «Pushkinsky Dom pri Rossijskoi Akademii Nauk». Leningrad, 1925, p. 109).
The flow of manuscripts and various memorabilia was growing wider. The museum got into its possession family relics of the Vrevsky, Pletnev, Arapov, Vyazemsky, Raevsky, Longinov families. Numerous valuable materials were donated by the Trust of Tolstoy Museum, by the Department of Language and Philology of the Academy of Sciences. While the exhibition of 1899 planted in the society a seed of the idea to create Pushkinsky Dom, the first major Pushkinsky Dom exhibition, that was unveiled in 1913 in the main building of the Academy of Sciences, certified to the successful implementation of this idea. However, World War I influenced the life of Pushkinsky Dom – its halls were taken over by the war hospital.
After 1917 Puskinsky Dom received the status of an academic research institution and so began to develop rapidly through the mediation of the State Museum Fund. Its collection was enriched with various materials from different private collections. In general it was after 1917 that our Institute started to acquire not only separate relics but whole collections. It became possible because the state, in spite of its meager financial funds, allocated considerable sums for new purchases. Among the major acquisitions of the period one should first of all mention the collections of the Pushkin Museum at Alexandrovsky Lyceum and of the Lermontov Museum at Nikolaevsky Cavalry School, where everybody knows, these two great poets spent their student years.
The museum collection was considerably enlarged at the expense of the memorial heritage of A.F.Koni, a well-known lawyer and public figure, of baron N.N.Vrangel, a distinguished art critic, of the poet Y.P.Polonsky, of Count S.S.Abamalek-Lazarev, of the Great Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich. The range of the museum activity was growing ever wider that was reflected in organization of literature exhibitions, devoted to individual figures - I.S.Turgenev, N.A.Nekrasov, F.M.Dostoevsky - all timed to the jubilee anniversaries of these writers.
Rare materials were so abundant that it allowed to allot special historical-cultural museum subjects within general exhibitions, like, for example, watercolor portrait of Pushkin’s time; Russian portrait of the XIX century; the world of Russian album drawing (Pushkinsky Dom has a wonderful selection of Russian albums); paintings and graphics of Russian writers; Moscow and Petersburg iconography; landscapes and genre scenes of Petersburg’s everyday life in prints and lithographs; Russian estates of the XVIII - XIX centuries and its inhabitants; the history of Russian photography; Russian literature circles and salons of XIX – early XX centuries, and others.
The museum store-rooms make it possible to put on display temporary exhibitions that are sometimes quite special, like those devoted to the Great Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich (the poet K.R.) or to the theme «Pushkin and Russian Orthodoxy».
Permanent exhibitions are more on a monographic side. For example, Turgenev «theme» is presented on the basis of Pushkinsky Dom collections of A.F.Onegin, of the famous collector of antiquities P.Y.Dashkov, of a literary man F.A.Vitberg, and of a historian of literature and bibliographer S.A.Vengerov. Turgenev iconography is also very rich, it includes works by A.A.Kharlamov, V.A.Bobrov, N.D.Dmitriev-Orenburgsky and such sculptors as A.N.Belyaev, M.M. Antokolsky, and Z.A.Polonskaya. The museum also has in its possession numerous photos of the writer. The museum collection of photo materials pertaining to literature in general is literally enormous. The same can be said about the collection of works of fine arts, executed by writers themselves, many of whom were excellent graphic artists and painters. The views of Turgenev places in sketches and watercolors painted by the poet Yakov Polonsky say much not only about Turgenev but also about Polonsky himself. Turgenev-the writer is supplemented with Turgenev-the painter, with his self-illustrations «Kasiyan from Krasivaya Mecha», «Small-Holder Ovsyannikov», «Hamlet of Schigrovsky Uezd».
Dostoevsky-the graphic also adds to Dostoevsky-the writer.
Pushkinsky Dom exhibitions in some way compensate to the fact that many great Russian writers do not have their personal museums in St. Petersburg. Thus, part of the furniture from the flat of Ivan Alexandrovich Goncharov on Mokhovaya Street was moved to Puskinsky Dom, including the desk, items of everyday life, exotic souvenirs brought from the world expedition on the frigate «Pallada».
The Lev Tolstoy museum collection is of special importance. In fact it forms, like Pushkin or Lermontov collections, a separate museum in itself. The Tolstoy fund began to be formed during the writer’s lifetime. In 1909 in Petersburg there was a jubilee exhibition on the occasion of his 80 birthday that served as a foundation for the Tolstoy museum, which was practically started in 1911. M.A.Stakhovich donated two L.N.Tolstoy portraits painted by I.E. Repin, sculptor I.Y.Gintsburg – all his sculptural representations of Tolstoy. In this museum fund there are canvases by N.N.Ge, N.P.Bogdanov-Belsky, L.O.Pasternak, and sculptures by P.P.Trubetskoi. Exclusive collections of photographs and documents were donated by V.G.Chertkov, Tolstoy’s friend and publisher, and by S.A.Tolstaya, the writer’s widow.
As a result the Tolstoy fund has accumulated materials of rare artistic value. The writer’s son S.L.Tolstoy considered, for example, that Lev Tolstoy’s portrait by N.N.Ge was the best and the most accurate, because Lev Nikolaevich had not posed for it specially – he had been so absorbed in his work that he simply had forgotten about the painter’s presence. V.V.Stasov, on his part, considered Repin’s canvas «Lev Tolstoy in the arched room in Yasnaya Polyana» as one of the best, but not so much for its physiognomic likeness, as for «ideological» reasons, that is because it made visible the great artist’s sublime soul.
The collection of Tolstoy’s private things is also quite vivid – here we can see, for example, next to a cup with saucer … boots hand-made by Tolstoy himself.
The museum is proud of its Lermontov collection, the most extensive in this country. It was received, as already mentioned, from the Lermontov Museum that had existed since 1883 at the Nikolaevskaya Cavalry School. Lermontov, who from his childhood was fond of drawing and later took professional lessons on painting, left a vast graphic and pictorial heritage – portraits, canvases and sketches, battle scenes and landscapes. To a large extent these oils, as well as drawings, offer parallels to his poetry and also reflect facts and events of his biography – primarily episodes of his Caucasian period. These are «The Caucasian View with a Saklya» and «Reminiscences of the Caucasus», and «The Caucasian View with Camels». The collection of Lermontov’s self-portraits is also quite unique. Besides, the museum possesses practically all the portraits of the poet made during his lifetime: from his representation as a child (made by an unknown artist) and including portraits painted by A.I.Klyunder, K.A.Gorbunov, and R.Shvede. Among the portraits created by Lermontov himself, one should especially mention the portrait of Duke Lerma, whom the family legend considered the poet’s ancestor. In his features as reproduced by Lermontov one can see obvious likeness to the poet himself. Lermontov pictorial collection is accompanied with reflections of Lermontov’s poetry in the works of such artists as V.A.Serov, M.A.Vrubel, B.M.Kustodiev, V.D.Zamirailo (represented, as practically all Pushkinsky Dom exhibits, in originals). Numerous personal things that belonged to Lermontov help to reconstruct the whole image of his short, but impetuous and romantic life: dagger, sabre, the Caucasian belt, first officer epaulettes… and a pencil, found in his pocket after the fatal duel.
Materials from the museum are exhibited now not only on permanent and temporary exhibitions at Pushkinsky Dom, but also add to the exhibitions held in different other cultural centers of this country. Pushkinsky Dom had a hand in creating the Dostoevsky Museums – both in Petersburg and in Semypalatinsk, the Garshin Museum in Bulgaria, and the Gleb Uspensky Museum in Chudov, among others. Some of Petersburg’s literature museums are, in fact, branch institutions to Pushkinsky Dom: for example, Alexander Blok Museum, the exhibits of which – furniture, drawings and other items - had been temporarily transferred there from Pushkinsky Dom. Practically all of the Pushkin museums in this country were created by Pushkinsky Dom and till certain time constituted its part, only later they were expanded and emancipated. To give one example: in 1925 the poet’s apartment on 12 Moika was given to Pushkinsky Dom, and in a year a tradition was founded, still alive today: at 2.45 p.m. – the hour of Pushkin’s death - they play Chopin’s «Funeral March» and Mozart’s «Requiem». The hour of memory and grief… When in 1934 Mikhailovskoe, Trigorskoe and the Svyatogorije were turned over to Pushkinsky Dom, it was our institute that drew major outlines of the future reserve work. By the way, the famous Nekrasov Museum on Liteiny Avenue was created by Pushkinsky Dom too. Our exhibits also served the foundation of the All-Russian A.S.Pushkin Museum.
Manuscript Department of Pushkinsky Dom is one of the largest archive depositories, indispensable for all researches in the field of Russian literature and cultural life. After 1918 (before that it had no clear functional aim and constituted part of the library) and till 1930, when the academic research institute was founded, this department played the leading role. It provided other sub-Departments and departments of the Institute with materials, consultations and references.
However, the first writer’s manuscripts to appear in Pushkinskij Dom were not Pushkin’s but A.N.Plescheev’s letters from exile, addressed to V.D.Dandeville. They were donated in 1908 by the poet’s son A.A.Plescheev.
Practically immediately after its creation Pushlkinsky Dom launched a veritable struggle to acquire all available outstanding collections; this battle proceeded with variable success, depending on financial circumstances. Among the largest acquisitions was the collection of a famous bibliophile and publisher P.A.Efremov († 1907), remarkable for its unity and wholeness. It comprised more than 20,000 volumes. All of them - editions of Russian writers of the XVIII-XIX centuries, almanacs and collections, dating from XVIII century, abundant systematically collected materials on the history of Russian literature, bibliographical reference books, rich, primarily Pushkin’s, iconography and a great number of valuable autographs. The authoritative commission including, among others, academicians A.A.Shakhmatov and S.F.Oldenburg, certified that the collection was worth 30,000 rubles asked by Efremov’s widow. However, the necessary sum was not raised and the valuable collection was sold (for 26,000 rubles) to the book-seller Felten and was broken. Only some time later Pushkinsky Dom raised 5,000 rubles and managed to ransom from the book-seller some of the rare materials of the XIX century – most importantly, manuscripts and letters of A.S.Pushkin, G.R.Derzhavin, N.M.Karamzin, A.S.Griboedov, N.A.Nekrasov and others.
Soon afterwards Pushkinsky Dom received a most valuable book and manuscript collection of the poet, literature critic, editor, rector of Petersburg University P.A.Pletnev, who had been closely associated with all major figures of Russian literature world, including Pushkin. It was his collection that brought to Pushkinsky Dom many autographs of A.S.Pushkin, N.V.Gogol, V.A.Zhukovsky, I.S.Aksakov, F.I.Tyutchev and others.
Not only separate autographs, but whole archive funds of Russian writers and public cultural figures came to Pushkinsky Dom within the enormous collection of a famous collector P.Y.Dashkov. Alongside with thousands of manuscripts of A.S.Pushkin, L.N.Tolstoy, A.F.Pisemsky, A.Grigorijev, A.N.Gertsen, A.A.Fet, I.S.Turgenev and others, it brought archives of N.I.Grech, N.S.Leskov, P.I.Melnikov-Pechersky, 65 volumes of V.P.Zotov’s archive, the 85-volume A.V.Starchevsky’s fund. All in all Dashkov’s collections consists of 525,000 volumes – dozens of thousands of pages.
In terms of its chronological structure the pre-Pushkin epoch is represented within Pushkinsky Dom Manuscript Department both with whole archive complexes, that had formed in the funds of the later times (of the journalist and publisher N.I.Grech, historian M.I.Semevsky, historian and archeographer P.I.Bartenev) and with personal funds. In 1999 we prepared and published the annotated index «Personal Funds in the Manuscript Department of Pushkinsky Dom» (naturally, it does not include the numerous funds that have not been processed and subjected to proper inventory yet). These are, to list the most important ones, G.R.Derzhavin’s archive: the poet’s manuscripts, materials for the Dictionary of Russian Academy, documents concerning the time of his rule in Olonetskaya Region, in Kommerz-Kollegium, papers on Derzhavin’s estates. Letters of N.M.Karamzin, G.R.Derzhavin, V.V.Kapnist, and A.S.Shishkov are collected in D.I.Khvostov’s archive.
I.A.Krylov’s fund is also worth of attention – it comprises dozens of manuscripts of his fables and various documents, letters addressed to the fabulist by his contemporaries (M.N.Zagoskin, I.I.Lazhechnikov, A.N.Olenin and others). A major collection of materials is kept in the fund of a Russian writer and encyclopedic scholar of the XVIII century A.T.Bolotov – his diaries, essays of scholarly nature, daily notes and journals. And, naturally, different redactions of his memoirs «Life and Adventures of Andrej Bolotov, Described by Himself for the Progeny».
Worth of interest is also the fund of A.P. and E.P.Shuvalovs. Alongside with letters of A.P.Shuvalov it also contains 84 letters from J.-F.Lagarpe, as well as letters addressed to E.P.Shuvalova by such figures as A.V.Suvorov, P.I.Bagration, Emperor Alexander I.
Pushkin fund has naturally always been the privileged sphere of interest. Its foundation was put in 1911, with the letter of the poet to his future wife N.N.Goncharova that was donated by V.B.Bertenson. Later it also included autographs and documents from other collections – of P.A.Pletnev, P.Y.Dashkov. Y.K.Grot, Countess Z.I.Yusupova and, of course, A.F.Onegin. After the government decree of 1938 and the decision of the Presidium of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1948) practically the whole of Pushkin’s manuscript heritage was concentrated in Pushkinsky Dom. Not it comprises 7,734 items, including 1,773 items (that is more than 12,000 pages) of Pushkin’s autographs per se. More than 50 of the poet’s autographs (marginalia, notes, underlines) can be found in the volumes of his book collection.
This fund also includes drafts and final versions of manuscripts of Pushkin’s short and long poems – «The Gypsies» and «The Bronze Horseman», «Eugene Onegin», prosaic and historic works, like «The History of Pugachov» and «The History of Peter the Great», Pushkin’s letters (627) and letters addressed to Pushkin (over 500), his diary, sketches, etc. The collection also comprises, in the form of separate funds, documents concerning the poet’s life and artistic career – information referring to his ancestors, his stay in the Lyceum and of his Lyceum friends, business papers dealing with his public service, police intelligence, duel with Dantes, the case on trusteeship over his children and estate after his death, materials on the Pskov Pushkin reserve, translations of his works, art and musical materials, bibliographical indexes, and so on. Naturally, this fund also includes all the materials concerning perpetuation of his memory.
All these materials are subjected to description, commentary and publication in general, special and serial editions. In fact the fund to a large extent provides material for study not only to Russian but also to the world Pushkin scholarship.
Pushkin epoch in general is also well-represented: especially important are the funds of V.A.Zhukovsky, K.N.Batyushkov, and the archive of E.A.Baratynsky. It is also the locus of concentration of a considerable portion of Lermontov heritage, including manuscripts of «Mtsyri», «The Demon», «The Spaniards», numerous short poems, as well as materials concerning his biography, military service, duels with de Barant and Martynov.
The value of N.V.Gogol’s manuscripts is growing ever higher as there are very few of them still existing – however, the collection of his letters is quite abundant; in includes more than 300 letters addressed to A.S.Pushkin, S.P.Shevyryov, A.V.Nikitenko and other addressees.
Literally colossal are archives of the Aksakov family – Sergei Timofeevich and his sons Konstantin and Ivan, of the Bakunins – the father Alexandr Mikhailovich and the son, a famous anarchist Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin.
In general Pushkinsky Dom archives are not limited exclusively to literature matters. In fact the whole public and cultural Russian life of several centuries is represented in the collection of historians D.N.Bantysh-Kamensky and P.G.Butkov, the cellist and musical public figure M.Y.Viljegorsky and others.
Remarkable acquisitions were the archive of A.A.Blok and his library, donated to Pushkinsky Dom according to the will of L.D.Mendeleeva-Blok, as well as M.A.Voloshin’s archive, given in its totality by his widow.
Naturally, the scale of archive representation of different writers and public figures is not equal. Enormous are the funds of Y.P.Polonsky, the poet of the second half of the XIX century (nearly 3,000 items), of F.M.Dostoevsky (around 1,500 items), V.M.Garshin, N.S.Leskov, I.S.Turgenev, P.I.Melnikov-Pechersky and others. However, we do not have in our possession manuscripts funds of A.P.Chekhov and L.N.Tolstoy, concentrated in other archives, though the study of life and art of these writers would have been complicated without the access to some of Pushkinsky Dom funds. In fact this can be said about the study of practically all major public figures of several epochs of Russian life. Pushkinsky Dom collections are indispensable for the reconstruction of the whole landscape of life and art of such outstanding cultural figures of the end of the XIX – early XX centuries as composers A.S.Arensky, M.A.Balakirev, P.I.Chaikovsky, sculptor I.Y.Gintsburg, artist E.G.Guro…
There are funds that are still being intensively replenished – they include archive funds dealing with life and art of such poets and prose writers of the XX century, as Vyacheslav Ivanov, A.L.Volynsky, M.A.Bulgakov, M.M.Zoschenko, A.A.Prokofiev. V. Sayanov’s archive is enormous. The large archive of P.N.Luknitsky was acquired piecemeal, it includes materials concerning primarily and most importantly M.I.Tsvetaeva, A.A.Akhmatova, N.S.Gumilev. Our contemporaries have also donated their personal archives, and are still doing this – among them are Y.V.Bondarev, A.G.Bitov, V.I.Belov and others.
Pushkinsky Dom collection abundantly represents not only literature but also literature scholarship, first of all within collections of major figures of the Academy of Sciences of XIX -XX centuries. These include archives of the Academy president, the Great Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich (K.R.), its Vice-Presidents Y.K.Grot and L.N.Maikov. Among the academicians’ archives – of A.N.Pypin, A.A.Shakhmatov, V.N.Perets and others - especially important is the enormous fund of the outstanding Russian philologist academician A.N.Veselovsky, materials from which have only recently become the subject of a number of publications prepared in Pushkinsky Dom and devoted to the great scholar. There are also many archive collections of the scholars who were not directly connected with the Academy of Sciences, like, for example, M.K.Lemke.
Manuscript Department possesses collection of its founding fathers – academician N.A.Kotlyarevsky, P.N.Sakulin, N.K.Piksanov, V.P.Adrianova-Perets, M.P.Alexeev. We have recently received academician D.S.Likhachev’s archive that is already being researched.
The Manuscript Department material can tell a lot about the connections that Russian literature has established with the world, mainly Western, culture. First of all, there is abundant epistolary exchange. Major complexes of foreign documents, like, for example, epistolary exchange of Romaine Rolland with «Vremya» Publishing House, are rather scanty. However, collections of autographs are quite numerous. These are autographs of English writers, including G.Byron, W.Scott, C.Dickens. H. Wells, B. Shaw; of French writers – Voltaire, Diderot, O. de Balzac, G.Verne, G. de Maupassant, of great German men of letters – J.-W.Goethe, F.Schiller, H.Heine, J.-H.Herder, F.Shloegel… There are autographs and other materials concerning major figures of world science (Ch. Darvin, H. Helmholts, F. Nansen, S. Sismondi…) and world political figures (Napoleon I, G.Garibaldi, O.Bismarck, B. Disraeli, A.Tier…).
Europeen musical culture is represented with materials reflecting life and work of L. van Beethoven, R.Wagner, F.Schubert, G.Rossini and others. There also are autographs of J.-S. Bach and W.-A. Mozart.
A special department within Manuscript Department is formed by Collection of Old Russian Relics («Drevlekhranilische») that covers literature heritage of the XII - XVII centuries.
This part of Pushkinsky Dom, the face of which is turned to the old times, is at the same time one of the most recently founded, it bears the name of an outstanding devotee of Russian culture Vladimir Ivanovich Malyshev. Malyshev and his team took great pains and devoted enormous efforts to create a vast collection of hand-copies of the works of the great Old Russian writer Avakum, his letters and petitions. The collection is crowned with the autograph of his famous «Life».
It is not by chance that archeographical expeditions have carried their research work primarily in the region of Russian North. The reason is that there, specifically in the communes of Old Believers, Old Russian books were piously preserved, passed over from one generation to another, copied by hand with special care and exactitude. Every year over 200 new and unknown manuscripts were added to the funds of Collection of Old Russian Relics.
Among the numerous existing book collections dating to the epoch of Old Russia – belonging to the tsars, princes and monasteries – Collection of Old Russian Relics of Pushkinsky Dom occupies a special and absolutely exclusive place. It possesses such monuments of Old Russian book culture as the parchment New Testament of XIV century or the New Testament copied by hand by tsarevna Sofia, richly illustrated with miniatures, made by masters from the Kremlin Armoury; «The Pinega Chronicle» of the XVII century containing data on Russian explorers of Siberia; Patriarch Nikon’s autographs and so on. But what important is not only that Collection possesses such rarities of the high book culture (they are well represented in other archives of Moscow and St. Petersburg as well). The main issue is that it is a collection of popular culture that is a remarkable selection of books that belonged to peasants’ inhabiting in the North of Russia. Thanks to Malyshev and his followers there was made a phenomenal discovery – the book world of peasant life. It turned out that book – printed or copied in hand – was a necessary element of popular life. Peasant, hunter, seaman always carried it around with him. This sort of literature is represented in Collection of Old Russian Relics in all its wealth and variety. It includes chronicles, spiritual verses, works on medicine and geography, stories of travels to other countries, legends of Kiev epic heroes. Peasants from the regions of the North Dvina, the Mezen, Vologda and Karelia were equally literate in Church Slavonic and in civil reading and writing.
A special place within the funds of Collection of Old Russian Relics is held by materials that form a specific context of book culture – peasants’ letters, diaries, documents from family archives – taken together they present a picture of rich spiritual popular life. Probably it was this special character of Collection of Old Russian Relics that attracted to it attention of many people having donated not only separate books and manuscripts (it should be noted that Collection funds, with several rare exceptions, were formed on the basis of donations), but also whole private collections – of academician V.N.Perets, historians and students of local lore M.I.Uspensky, K.P. and A.G.Temp, I.N.Zavoloko and many others, whose names and priority right are preserved with great care. It was I. N.Zavoloko who donated «The Pustozersky Collection» with autographs of the works of Archpriest Avakum and monk Epifany, this unique gift was later followed with his whole collection of books and manuscripts of the XVI - XVIII centuries.
The All-Russian conferences – «Malyshev Readings» (there have already been held 25 of them) – concentrate and develop primarily the experience of study of archives held at Collection of Old Russian Relics.
During World War II, when many of the Institute employees went to the front, the work of the Institute was not terminated – it continued both in the besieged city and in the places of evacuation. Already by July 1941 the manuscripts of Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol and others were taken away to Novosibirsk. Pushkin’s library and materials of the Phonogram Archive were in Ekaterinburg. Kazan housed numerous museum exhibits and the most valuable part of book collections.
In the result of the research workers’ selfless efforts, first of all, due to the efforts of the person in charge of the evacuation and preservation of the funds L.M.Dobrovolsky, all these evacuated items had safely returned to the Institute by the end of 1945.
During the siege a tiny group of workers that stayed in the city, headed by V.A.Manuilov, preserved everything that could not be evacuated. As for Manuscript Department (headed by M.I. Steblin-Kamensky) it was even enlarged at the expense of numerous private collections saved by Pushkinsky Dom scholars. Already in 1944 they unveiled the exhibition devoted to the 100th anniversary of I.A.Krylov’s birth, and by 1946 all the main museum exhibitions had been restored to their original condition.
More than sixty years ago within Manuscript Department there was formed a folklore archive. The foundation was made by materials brought from expeditions held in the 1920s by the folklorists of the State Institute of the History of Arts. Later they were supplemented by the expedition notes taken by researches from the Leningrad and Gorky Universities, Leningrad Conservatory and other research centers from Leningrad, Petrozavodsk and Novgorod that traveled to Northern and Central regions of the USSR. Pushkinsky Dom also became the place of concentration for numerous folklore collections and archives, both personal and institutional. Now this department comprises about 300 funds – this is the most important collection of materials on Russian popular art in this country and in the world. However, it covers not only Russian art. The folklore archive of Pushkinsky Dom preserves notes brought from Byelorussia, Georgia, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Yakutia, Slovenia and other places. Among personal collections one should specially note collections of E.E.Lineva, O.E.Ozarovskaya, S.S.Nekhorosheva and others.
The research work with these funds is to a large extent supplemented with reference system of the folklore archive, extensive collection of photographs and selection of cheap popular prints («luboks»).
The folklore department also includes the Phonogram Archive, one of the richest in the world that preserves, among other valuable things, recordings of S.I.Taneev, A.S.Arensky, the voice of L.N.Tolstoy and the recently found recording of P.I.Chaikovsky’s voice.
One should specially note the reference-bibliographical sources of Pushkinsky Dom that to a certain extent supply researchers of Russian as well as world culture. First of all, these are card indexes of S.A.Vengerov that cover Russian literature of the XVIII - XX centuries and contain information from magazines, newspapers and books, mostly of the bibliographical nature. All these materials were received by Pushkinsky Dom in 1932 from the Institute for Book Study and later were supplemented with data referring primarily to XIX - XX centuries.
Card indexes of B.L.Modzalevsky and L.B.Modzalevsk, V.I.Saitov and others are priceless. Materials from these and other card indexes, bibliographies and catalogues regularly add to publications of Manuscript Department, both of general and special character.
As it was already mentioned, Pushkinsky Dom began with Pushkin’s library. It had so to say attracted book rarities of the XVIII - XX centuries that in the course of time formed a collection unique in its way – the library. In the very beginning the library was located in the main building of the Academy of Sciences. It was formed as a collection of rarities. As early as in 1906 S.P.Kuvshinnikova presented to the library a copy of «The Duel» with A.P.Chekhov’s inscription: «From the disgraced, but invariably true author» («disgraced» is put here because Kuvshinnikova was the heroine of «The Fidget», that provoked a wave of rumors and re-trials concerning the «triangle»: S.P.Kuvshinnikova, her husband and the painter I.I.Levitan).
On occasion of A.S.Suvorin’s birthday Chekhov wrote one act to add to the play composed by this famous publisher, «Tatiana Repina». The manuscript was lost. Of the three copies only one survived till our times, and it is preserved in Pushkinsky Dom.
Since 1907 the library has been supplemented mostly with whole collections. One of the first was the collection of book lover and founder of the famous Museum of Theatre in Moscow A.A.Bakhrushin. This is a collection of magazine and journal clippings and the jubilee (1899) books devoted to Pushkin. The library was considerably enriched with books and periodicals (mainly dating to the first half of the XIX century), that came with that part of P.A.Efimov’s collection which Pushkinsky Dom managed to outbid.
In 1911 the Academy of Sciences purchased for Pushkinsky Dom P.A.Pletnev’s book collection comprising 3,000 volumes, and at the same time, according to the testament, it received 1,500 volumes-collection of writer I.L.Leontiev-Schegolev. In 1914 S.B.Vrevskaya donated the library of Trigorskoe village. These books, particularly the French ones, Pushkin had read, namely he turned to the famous work in many volumes by I.I.Golikov «The Deeds of Peter the Great».
During its formative period the library was replenished mainly with donations. In 1913 the structure, sources of acquisition, scientific specialization (with a focus on Pushkin and post-Pushkin epochs and translations of Russian writers into foreign languages) were subjected to a certain regulation with «Temporary Statute about Library, Collected for Pushkinsky Dom». The library gradually turned from a museum-archive into a scientific-research center. Some improvements were also made in terms of outer comfort. The library was given three not too large halls in the main building of the Academy of Sciences and… a staircase landing. The First World War of 1914 and the hospital, which was housed in the Academy building, forced the library as well as all other collections, to move to a garret.
In 1917 the library was brought back into the halls of the main building of the Academy of Sciences. During the Civil War and economic dislocation its employees saved private collections and libraries that were left in the empty apartments, abandoned mansions, neglected warehouses, shops and publishing houses. Thus several valuable collections were added to Pushkinsky Dom library, among them libraries of Dukes Meklenbourgskiye, Great Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich, his son Prince Oleg, who had perished at the front in 1914. The library of the young prince contained interesting editions, like «Day by Day» - selection of Lermontov’s works for every day of the year. These books were compiled by the Great Duke’s daughter Olga, a spouse of the Greek King George I. On the copy of the book belonging to Prince Oleg (he was, by the way, a devoted Pushkin scholar, who managed to publish in 1911 a facsimile edition of Pushkin’s manuscripts from the Alexandrovsky Lyceum archive) there was an autograph of 5-year old Tsarevich Alexei.
K.R.’ collection is also noteworthy for its selection of books by poets-autodidacts, whose work he followed with special attention. One of these simple little books bears a pathetic inscription from its author, a veteran soldier «To His Imperial Majesty Great Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich from the author, who is writing these lines with his teeth, as he has neither arms nor legs, Niktopoleon Svyatsky. Hospital of the Chesma military almhouse. Year 1901, March 27».
The Library employees discovered and brought together rich collections of historian M.I.Semevsky and library of S.V.Panina, a founder of the Public House in Petersburg. A real treat was discovery of books, manuscripts and personal things of F.M.Dostoevsky that were found in a pawnshop warehouse. Among them there was the Dostoevsky’s family relic – patrimonial New Testament, and also «The Tale of Wonderings and Travels over Russia, Moldavia, Turkey and the Holy Land» by monk Parfeny (Moscow, 1856) with drawings made by Dostoevsky. In May 1920 B.Y.Polonsky, son of the poet Y.P.Polonsky, donated his father’s library that had been kept in his apartment.
Pushkinsky Dom specialists carefully followed various book collections from the province. They brought Nakrasov’s books from Karabikha, in 1921 Garshin’s books and the archive were shipped in a special train carriage provided by the Petrograd’s Soviet.
Considerable book acquisitions were made due to connections with famous figures of art, like, for example, artist Nataliya Goncharova.
It took Pushkinsky Dom considerable efforts to save the books that were becoming rarities as their authors came out of favor with the new power, like N.S.Gumilev, L.N.Andreev, V.S.Mirolyubov, F.K.Sologub.
Maxim Gorky played an important role in the library acquisitions, primarily concerning books of Russian writers in translation especially because towards the end of his life Gorky had become director of Pushkinsky Dom. In the 1920s the library collection was considerably expanded, especially after it gained access, in 1927 - 1928, to the libraries of P.V.Annenkov, A.F.Koni, B.L.Modzalevsky. In 1928 the library of A.F.Onegin at last arrived – 3,420 books, brochures, almanacs and magazines. Three major names serve as major structural points of this collection and divide it into three blocks: Pushkin, Zhukovsky, and Turgenev. Besides this Onegin’s book collection possesses unique copies of other books – «Praise to Folly» by Erasmus of the Rotterdam (1685), «Dialogue about Honor» by Posevino (1558), «War of Gods» by Parni, «The Virgin of Orleans» by Voltaire (XVIII century) and some others. A major part of the collection is formed with editions of Russian free print. This part of the collection makes Onegin’s library similar, though this comparison might seem strange, to the collection of famous Russian collector and bibliophile M.N.Longinov, which was donated to Pushkinsky Dom by his daughter A.M.Kozlovskaya. The point is that while being the head of the Main Department of the Matters of Print (1871-1875), Longinov managed to add to his collection a large number of books and magazines that were banned by censorship, removed and destroyed.
It is quite characteristic that relatives and friends of deceased writers wanted to donate the inherited collections specifically to Pushkinsky Dom. M.M.Shatelen brought the library of her grandfather – the famous dramatist A.N.Ostrovsky. A.A.Blok’s widow, as it was already mentioned, added to the donated archive and personal things of the poet his library – about 2,000 volumes.
Immensely important for the researchers are book collections of literature scholars, among them S.A.Vengerov (18,000 volumes), academician V.V.Vinogradov (10,000 volumes, including the books that had been absent from IRLI funds), and the library of N.K.Piksanov that had been collected for 70 years and comprised the unique Griboedov collection.Due to these personal book collections that bear the imprint of their great owners, users and curators the library, one of the largest specialized book collections, acquired a specific character of a cultural monument.
A special issue in the life of Pushkinsky Dom is organization of rooms. The first to be created in 1934 was Pushkin room, which, as one of the directors of the Pushkinsky Dom library A.N.Stepanov wrote, was supposed to concentrate in one place all books devoted to Pushkin and thus make them accessible to Pushkin scholars. The dominant feature of the room was its ramified system of catalogues, that follow not only all editions of the poet’s works, both published in his lifetime and posthumous, but also the variety of Pushkin scholarship. At present this room serves as a main source base for researches of Pushkin’s work both from this country and foreign.
In fact centers for the study of Old Russian literature and Russian Folk Art also became rooms of sorts; they possess unique specialized independent libraries. One of the largest collections of books on Old Russian literature was created on the basis of the personal library of the Department’s founder academisian A.S.Orlov (later it also included the library of V.P.Adrianova-Perets). Collection of Old Russian Relics was built around books on archeography and paleography that had belonged to V.I.Malyshev.
In the course of its existence Pushkinsky Dom has given rise to a number of academic collectives, schools of philology that can also be given the status of national property.
In terms of chronology the primary place here belongs to Department of Folklore, or oral public art, that has at its disposal a unique collection of materials on Russian folk art.
Here the outstanding students of the Russian Middle Ages academicians A.S.Orlov, V.N.Perets put foundation to the study of Russian Literature of this period. For many years the Department had been headed by D.S.Likhachev.
Throughout the time of Pushkinsky Dom existence its researches have were invariably oriented towards fundamental elaborations in the fields of source-study, bibliography, text study.
The Department of Source Study and Bibliography helps to make numerous thematic personal and collective bibliographical indexes that have received wide recognition in the world philological practice. Pushkinsky Dom produced the first Soviet textological studies that played a major role in development of this academic discipline. These studies were made by leading national textologists B.V.Tomashevsky, B.M.Eihenbaum, N.V.Izmailov, D.S.Likhachev.
Both historically and organically Pushkinsky Dom throughout the long years of its active life never lost or sold any of its possessions, but only accumulated, collected, brought and preserved them. We might suppose that the name of Pushkin overhanging the place played a beneficial role as from the early years of Pushkinsky Dom existence it had shared the universal character of Pushkin’s art. The main aim of Pushkinsky Dom research work is Russian literature in its full scope, diversity and interaction with foreign literature. Major contributions in this field are made by the efforts of all the Institute Departments – of New Russian Literature (beginning with XVIII century), Modern Literature (XX century), and Comparative Literature Department.
In the times of revolutionary shocks and cruel wars, crazy reforms and senseless reorganizations Pushkinsky Dom had served as a last refuge for numerous cultural treasures that were not recognized as such in their times, for destroyed collections, ownerless libraries threatened with ravage and destruction.
Pushkinsky Dom has passed with dignity through the difficult events of the XX century that became part of its history. In 2005 Pushkinsky Dom celebrates its 100 anniversary. It is a century of devoted service to Russian literature and culture. Let us remind the words said by Maxim Gorky that Russian literature is the best that was created by us a nation – this gives us a reason to call Pushkinsky Dom one of the best phenomena of Russian humanitarian science.
Nowadays Pushkinsky Dom employees continue to perform their historic mission with zest and consistence – they preserve, study and present to the world one of the greatest achievements of humanity – Russian literature – the best that was created by us as a nation: from the remote old centuries to the topical modern questions.
The idea of preservation and publication of popular wisdom and national memory dates back to the late XVII – early XIX centuries. Recently Pushkinsky Dom has begun to publish the complete «Code of Russian Folklore». The first part – «Bylinas» is opened with two volumes of «Pechora Bylinas» (300 variants of records, including over 100 new and 80 with music notations). They all are accompanied with rich illustrative material (photos of rare Pechora Old Russian monuments, ethnographical sketches, etc.) and supplemented with CDs, that carefully reproduce, with the help of modern technical means, the performance of the bylinas by the best narrators.
The success of the 13-volume collection of monuments of Old Russian Literature prepared by the Pushkinsky Dom specialists in Russian Middle Ages induced a new edition with a thorough commentary, comprising 20 volumes.
One of the major book events of 1997 of both national, European and even world level was the facsimile edition in 8 volumes of Pushkin’s working textbooks – the heart of the poet’s manuscript heritage preserved at Pushkinsky Dom. It was made possible due to the help of the Forum of Leaders of European Business and under the aegis of the heir to British throne Charles, Prince of Wales. The copies of this edition, presented by Pushkinsky Dom to all major library, university and museum centers of Russian and the former Union of Independent States countries, made Pushkin’s manuscripts available for a wide range of connoisseurs, both professional researches and interested amateurs.
In the not-too remote past a group of scholars headed by academician G.M.Friedlender, struggling the tough ideological grip and following the scholarly principles managed to carry out a truly unique complete edition of works and letters of F.M.Dostoevsky that had gained world recognition. After 20 years of hard work we have published 15-volume (in 22 books) edition of the complete N.A.Nekrasov, we are still working on Complete Works of I.S.Turgenev, I.A.Goncharov, A.A.Blok, A.M.Remizov, some volumes of which have already been published… This is practical result of fundamental scholarship. The point is not the editions per se – what matters most is that from now on they will serve a reference point for the whole world practice of editing Russian classics. In the similar fashion the world of Slavic studies is oriented towards Russian, and among them Pushkinsky Dom, scholarship, as it is presented in monographs, collections, at exhibitions, conferences, seminars and readings. The whole philological world demand such Pushkinsky Dom publications as «Russian Literature» magazine, «The Works of Old Russian Literature Department», «The Yearly Book of Manuscript Department», «Pushkin. Materials and Studies», «Dostoevsky. Materials and Studies», etc.
The great Russian writer and thinker Apollon Grigoriev once said a phrase that was to enter the reading books: «Pushkin is our everything».
As a matter of fact this aphorism was the principle on which Pushkinsky Dom, a living monument to the great poet, was and is still being erected.
Both its library and museum collections, diverse archives and research schools in their mutual interaction, collaboration and support strive to embrace, preserve and make available to the whole humanity «our everything» of the national culture!
Nikolai N. Skatov