Her Majesty Catherine II’s Self-Censorship

Angelina Vacheva

Abstract


This paper discusses the manifestations of self-censorship in the autobiography of the Russian Empress Catherine the Great. The article focuses on the changes made in the last edition of the text, known as Sobstvennoruchnye zapiski, compared to an earlier version dedicated to Baron Alexander Ivanovich Cherkasov. In the text under consideration, the empress avoids or moderates all uncomfortable issues, such as serfdom, negative attitudes to Moscow and the life of the Moscow nobility, and criticism of the court. Self-censorship is most consistent in the character of Empress Elizabeth. Catherine the Great abates the episodes of her predecessor’s dishonorable behaviour and softens her features. The Russian empress turns back to the ‘scenarios of power’ of the beginning of her rule, where the idea of compliance with Elizabeth’s policy played a central role. Thus, Catherine the Great tries to legitimate her own government by emphasising its strong connection to the dynasty and spiritual heritage of Peter the Great.


Keywords


Catherine the Great; autobiography; self-censorship; enlightened monarch; Romanov dynasty.

References


Anisimov, E. V. (1986). Rossiya v seredine XVIII veka. Bor’ba za naslediye Petra [Russia in the Russia in the middle of the XVIII century. The struggle for the heritage of Peter the Great]. 239 p. Moscow, Mysl’.

Baehr, St. L. (1991). The Paradise Myth in Eighteenth-Century Russia. Utopian Patterns in Early Secular Russian Literature and Culture. 308 p. Stanford, Stanford Univ. Press.

Ekaterina II (1989). Zapiski imperatritsy Ekateriny Vtoroy. Reprintnoye vosproizvedeniye izdaniya 1907 goda [Memoirs of Empress Catherine II. Reprint of the Edition of 1907]. 748 p. Moscow, Orbita.

Elias, N. (2002). Pridvornoye obshchestvo. Issledovaniya po sotsiologii korolya i pridvornoy aristokratii [The Court Society. Essays on Royal Sociology and Court Aristocracy]. 367 p. Moscow, Yazyki slavyanskoi kul’tury.

Favier, J.-L. (2003). Russkiy dvor v 1761 godu [Russian court in 1761]. In Ekaterina II. Put’ k vlasti. Moscow, Fond S. Dubova, pp. 193–206.

Finckenstein, K.-W. von (2000) Obshchiy otchet o russkom dvore [General Report on the Russian Court]. In Liechtenhan, F. D. Rossia vhodit v Evropu. Imperatritsa Elizaveta Petrovna i voyna za Avstriyskoye nasledstvo. 1740–1750. Moscow, OGI, pp. 289–326.

Griffiths, D. (2013). Ekaterina II i eye mir: stat’i raznykh let [Catherine II and Her World: Articles from Different Years]. 530 p. Moscow, Novoye Literaturnoye obozreniye.

Ibneyeva, G. V. (2006). Puteshestviya Ekateriny ІІ: opyt «osvoyeniya» imperskogo prostranstva [The Journeys of Catherine II: The Experience of the ‘appropriation’ of Imperial Space]. 252 p. Kazan, Kazanskiy GU.

Ibneyeva, G. V. (2009). Imperskaya politika Ekateriny ІІ v zerkale ventsenosnykh puteshestviy [The Imperial Policies of Catherine II in the Mirror of Crowned Travels]. 468 p. Moscow, Pamyatniki istoricheskoy mysli.

Ilcheva, R. (2007). Lapidarnost rossiyskogo XVIII veka (k razgadke odnoy nadpisi) [The Lapidarity of the Russian 18th Century (to the Solution of an Inscription)]. In Vacheva,

A., Chekova, I (Ed.). Rekata na vremeto. Sbornik v pamet na prof. Lyudmila Boyeva. Sofia, Universitetsko izdatelstvo “Sv. Kliment Okhridski”, pp. 174–182.

Johnson, N. R. (1978). Louis XIV and the Age of Enlightenment: the Myth of the Sun King from 1715 to 1789. 350 p. Oxford, Voltaire Foundation, 1978 (Studies on Voltaire and Eighteenth Century CLXXII).

Kryuchkova, M. A. (2009). Memuary Ekateriny II I ih vremya [Memoirs of Catherine II and Their Time]. 461 p. Moscow, Letniy sad.

Lavrov, A. S. (2000). Koldovstvo i religiya v Rossii 1700–1740 gg. [Witchcraft and Religion in Russia, 1700–1740 gg.]. 574 p. Moscow, Drevlekhranilishche.

Madariaga, I. de. (2002). Rossiya v epohu Ekateriny Velikoi [Russia in the Age of Catherine the Great]. 976 p. Moscow, Novoye Literaturnoye obozreniye.

Marasinova, E. N. (2014). “Nepremennyye gosudarstvennyye zakony” v Rossii vtoroy poloviny XVIII v. (Opyt Begriffsgeschichte)[The Indispensable State Laws in Russia in the Second Half of the 18th Century (The Experience of the Begriffsgeschichte)]. In Russian Literature LXXV , pp. 363–389.

Proskurina, V. (2006). Mify imperii. Literatura i vlast’ v epokhu Ekateriny II

[The Myths of the Empire. Literature and Power in the Age of Catherine II]. 323 p. Moscow, Novoye Literaturnoye obozreniye.

Ryan, W. (2006). Banya v polnoch’. Istoricheskiy obzor magii i gadaniy v Rossii [Going to the Bathhouse at Midnight: Magic in Russia]. 718 p. Moscow, Novoye Literaturnoye obozreniye.

Vacheva, A. (2015). Potomstvu Ekaterina II. Idei i narrativnyye strategii v avtobiografii imperatritsy [From Catherine the Great to Posterity. Ideas and Narrative Strategies in the Empress̕s Memoirs]. 714 p. Sofia, Universitetsko izdatelstvo “Sv. Kliment Okhridski”.

Vacheva, A. (2007). Mentor i printsessa. Obraz vospitatelya v autobiografii Ekateriny II [The Mentor and the Princess (The Image of the tutor in the Autobiography of Catherine II)]. In Vacheva, A., Chekova, I (Ed.). Rekata na vremeto. Sbornik v pamet na prof.

L. Boeva. Sofia, Universitetsko izdatelstvo “St Kliment Ohridsky”, pp. 199 – 207.

Vatcheva, A. (2006). “Ne sudite obo mne kak o drugikh zhenshchinakh...”: Memuary Ekateriny II i “Pisma miss Fanni Batler” g-zhi Riccoboni [“Ne me jugez point sur le commun des femmes…”/‘Don’t judge me as other women...’: Memoirs of Catherine II and Madame Riccoboni’s Novel Letters of Miss Fanny Butler]. In Novoye Literaturnoye obozreniye, Iss. 80, pp. 111–130.

Wortman, R. (2002). Stsenarii vlasti. Mify i tseremonii russkoy monarkhii. T. 1. Ot Petra Velikogo do smerti Nikolaya I [Scenarios of Power: Myth and Ceremony in Russian Monarchy from Peter the Great to the Death of Nicholas I]. 607 p. Moscow, OGI.

Zhivov, V. M. (2009). Zhivov. V. M. Distsiplinarnaya revolyutsiya i bor’ba s suyeveriyem v Rossii XVIII veka: “provaly” i ikh posledstviya [The Disciplinary Revolution and the Struggle against Superstition in Russia of the 18th Century: The ‘Failures’ and Their Consequences]. In Antropologiya revolyutsii. Moscow, Novoye Literaturnoye obozreniye, pp. 327–360.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15826/qr.2017.2.235

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


ISSN 2311-911X (Print)
ISSN 2310-757X (Online)

 

BASE Search eLibrary WorldCat