Keywords: Konstantin Leontiev, “oriental stories”, South Slavs, Greeks, ethnography, ethnopsychologism, perception of Russia, Russian world, Orthodoxy.
For citation:

Fetisenko O. L. “Heirs of Byzantium” in the assessment of friends and foes: Russian sovereignty as a cross-cutting theme of “oriental stories” by Konstantin Leontiev. Two centuries of the Russian classics, 2020, vol. 2, № 4, pp. 250–259. (In Russ.) DOI 

Author: Olga L. Fetisenko
Information about the author:

Olga L. Fetisenko, DSc in Philology, Leading Researcher, Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkin House) of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Makarova st. 4, 199034, St. Petersburg, Russia

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Received: October 20, 2020
Published: December 8, 2020
Issue: 2020 Volume 2 No. 4
Department: Russian literature XVIII and XIX centuries
Pages: 250-259
UDK: 821.161.1.09"19"

Abstract: The article is devoted to the study of the geopolitical problems of the artistic works of Konstantin Leontiev, created during the years of consular service in the Greek and Bulgarian provinces of the Turkish Empire, as well as shortly after his retirement. Reviewing Konstantin Leontiev’s “oriental stories”, devoted mainly to the life of the Greeks, the author reveals the peculiarities of the poetics of the works of the cycle. The article proves that “oriental stories” go far beyond “ethnographism” or “ethnopsychologism”, giving the artist the opportunity to distinguish what is related to others, as well as to see Russia and Russians from the outside, to show its perception by the Greeks and the South Slavs. The “element of geopolitical analytics” is investigated as necessary in the artistic problems of the stories. Particular attention is paid to the consideration of the features of the perception of Russia by the older and younger generations of Greeks noted by Konstantin Leontiev. The author of the article states that the older generation unconditionally believed in Russia, considered the Russians to be the true heirs of Byzantium; while the young europeanised Greeks, for the most part, no longer looked at Russia or saw it as a hostile origin. This conflict of moods is viewed in the work as a kind of reflection of the spiritual processes taking place in the real, not idealised, Russian world. The author of the article states Leontiev’s hope for the high mission of the Russian Orthodox state, which reconciles various religious principles in itself and around itself.


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