Nikolai Mikhailovich Karamzin in Germany: Fiction as Facts
The book consists of four studies on the famous Russian writer and historian, who lived from 1766-1826, and his connections with Germany. In 1789 Karamzin did not only visit various German towns and monuments, but also interview philosophers and men of letters like Kant, Nicolai, Herder or Wieland. The episodes from his LETTERS OF A RUSSIAN TRAVELER have been widely dismissed as fictional. However, as this author can show, archival records and even contemporary newspapers prove that Karamzin did not invent anything. On the contrary his epistles turn out to be an invaluable source of knowledge, for instance on the conditions of Russians, temporarily or permanently living at the time in Prussia, in particular Berlin and Potsdam. By a strange twist of history, several of Karamzin's autographs have found their way back to Germany, above all to the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin, the very library the young Karamzin had borrowed a volume from more than two centuries before. These papers (aside from an earlier autograph of 1789 in Nurnberg) range from 1806 till 1821 and are commented upon in the last part of the present publication.
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