MAIDEN ON MAN’S LAPS From the History of Russian Rousseauism

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The concept of romantic love directed towards a young bride is an ideological construction in the history of European culture as manifested in works of Rousseau, Novalis, and Edgar Allan Poe. Any given author's modification of this form of love is an important indication of his religious, ethical, and aesthetic beliefs, which are in turn indicative of his cultural trend and which reflect the fears and ideals of the given author's contemporary society. Here, I will trace the transformation of this topic in the late work of Vasily Zhukovsky in its intersection with the Rousseauist topos of the last or "twilight" love. I will also analyze the transformation of the image of the girl-bride, previously canonized by the patriarch of Russian Romanticism, in the poetry of Pyotr Vyazemsky, Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, and Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita-works which represent different literary-ideological programs which respond in different ways to Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Confessions (1769, published 1782).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-67
Number of pages28
JournalDostoevsky and World Culture. Philological Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Literature and Literary Theory


  • confessions
  • devil
  • Dostoevsky
  • laps
  • maiden
  • Nabokov
  • parody
  • rib
  • Romanticism
  • Rousseau
  • Vyazemsky
  • Zhukovsky
  • “natural man”
  • “twilight love”


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