Poor Liza Character in 20th Century Russian Literature Essay

September 10, 2017 Religion

It is no accident that the name that is attributed to the heroine in a figure of Russian novels of the late eighteenth and 19th centuries is named after some derivation of the name Elizabeth. Karamzin is the first to idolize this name in his work Poor Liza and it is this work that sets off a concatenation reaction that causes the happening of subsequent characters in Russian literature. This character can peculiarly be found in plants such as Pushkin’s Queen of Spades. Griboyedov’s Woe from Wit. and even briefly in Gogol’s Dead Souls. At the clip that Karamzin published Poor Liza. Russia had late seen the reign of Queen Elizabeth I ( 1741-1761 ) who played a great function in determining Russia’s individuality and civilization. Through a close reading of those Russian texts which include the Elizabeth character. an apprehension of this name’s historic function in Russian literature can be achieved and its analogues to the sovereign that this name evokes. Before following the Liza name in the Russian texts. it is of import to better understand the character traits and lives of the empresses after whom this name takes.

The more important of these being Queen Elizabeth of Russia as it was non long after her reign that Karamzin wrote Poor Liza. Elizabeth was born to Peter I of Russia and Catherine I of Russia ; nevertheless due to the fact that her parents’ matrimony was non publicly acknowledged at the clip of her birth. this would be a item used to dispute her legitimacy to the throne by political oppositions ( Antonov. 104 ) . In her outward visual aspect. Elizabeth delighted everyone. “with her extraordinary beauty and vivacity. She was normally known as the taking beauty of the Russian Empire” ( Antonov. 104 ) . Politically. Elizabeth was seen as the heroine of the Russian cause as was attributed to her. “steady grasp of Russian involvements. and her finding to advance them at all hazards” ( Rice. pg 121 ) . Russia under Elizabeth’s regulation reasserted her power over foreign repression as the state had been under way of a figure of German favourites and force per unit area from the West.

It was upon her enthronement that a royal edict was issued saying. “the Russian people have been moaning under the enemies of the Christian religion. but she has delivered them from the degrading foreign oppression” ( Antonov. 109 ) . Elizabeth is besides remembered for defending the humanistic disciplines and scholarship through the huge support she poured into undertakings such as the Moscow State University. the Winter Palace. and the Imperial Academy of Arts ( Antonov. 106 ) . The image of Elizabeth is besides painted by her deep devotedness to faith in that she disengaged many of the statute laws that her male parent had done to restrict the power of the church ( Rice 149 ) . In many ways. Elizabeth I becomes the perfect root from which the image of the heroic Russian adult female springs from every bit is subsequently manifested in Russian Literature following her reign. The first clip that Russian is introduced to the Liza character is in Karamzin’s Poor Liza which was published in 1792. following Elizabeth I’s regulation.

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The chief heroine. Liza’s. features can be attributed to those of Elizabeth herself. The first of these similarities can be found in both of the female’s male parents. Liza’s male parent is described as. “a instead comfortable colonist. for he loved work. tilled the land well” ( Karamzin. 80 ) . The industrious nature of the male parent can besides be seen in the traits of Elizabeth I’s male parent. Peter the Great who’s restless work made Russia into an imperium. However the greater similitude lies in the negative effects caused by each of the women’s father’s deceases. In Poor Liza. shortly after Liza’s father’s decease. “his married woman and girl grew poor…and they were forced to lease out their land for a pittance sum” ( Karamzin. 80 ) . Similarly. after the decease of Peter I. “no royal tribunal or baronial house in Europe could let a boy to pay tribunal to Elizabeth. as it would be seen as an unfriendly act to the Empress Anna” ( Coughlan. 59 ) .

The lowering of stature for both Liza and Elizabeth made it hard for both to happen a fitting hubby. In Liza’s instance. lest she ends up get marrieding person she does non love. When Erast and Liza are discoursing the matrimony agreements that are being made for her to be married to a peasant male child and Erast asks if she would get married him alternatively. she says to him. “but you can ne’er be my hubby! … I am a provincial girl” ( Karamzin. 87 ) . Since Elizabeth I was shunned from the royal tribunals after her father’s decease and at the same clip she could non get married below her so as non to lose the royal rubric. the empress died single. as did Liza. However. this is non the merely shared experience of the Russian heroines. Another analogue between the empress and Karamzin’s peasant miss can be found in their educational background. For a queen. Elizabeth I was considered lacking of the solid instruction needed for her function.

This could largely be blamed on Peter I’s focal point on province personal businesss and her mother’s illiterateness and laissez-affair attack to her daughter’s surveies ( Antonov. 104 ) . A comparable trait can be drawn in Liza. specifically when she is stating good-bye to Erast and she says. “Oh! Why do I non cognize how to read or compose! ” ( Karamzin. 89 ) . And so. both adult females were undereducated for the function they had come to make full. a swayer and a worried-sick lover. Taking a closer expression at Elizabeth’s and Liza’s personalities it becomes apparent that they portion commonalties. For case. when Karamzin foremost introduces his Liza character. he says that. “to soothe her female parent she tried to conceal the heartache in her bosom and appear at easiness and gay” ( Karamzin 81 ) . This homosexuality can be besides found in Elizabeth I as she was good known for her merriment and gaiety as was evidences by the cross-dressing balls that she held at her tribunal ( Rice 136 ) . Another illustration of their similar characters can be found in the virginal beauty and pious image created by both.

Karamzin describes Liza as being a “rare beauty” ( Karamzin. 80 ) and Elizabeth in her young person was as already mentioned the premier beauty of Russia in her twenty-four hours. It is besides of import to observe the purity in the aura created by Liza as she is unspoiled by the pettinesss of high-society. The colour white can be found in a figure of images in connexion with Liza. the first being the lilies of the vale which Liza sells at the market in Moscow ( Karamzin. 81 ) . These flowers are typically little and white in nature and by Christian are attributed to the cryings of the Virgin Mary during the crucifixion of Christ. therefore by holding Liza the seller of such flowers. she is placed into a wholesome and sanctum visible radiation ( Krymow. 18 ) .

Another topographic point in which the colour white and pureness is shown in connexion to Liza is when Erast visits her place and says. “I am really tired. Would you hold any fresh milk? ” ( Karamzin 82 ) . Liza. “ran to the basement. brought back a clean earthenware pot. washed it and dried it with a white towel. poured and handed the glass through the window” ( Karamzin 82 ) . Even when Liza falls in love she is described as holding a. “pure. and unfastened heart” ( Karamzin. 85 ) and there are more images of pureness and whiteness as is seen when the two lovers meet at dark and. “they embrace – but chaste. diffident Cynthia did non conceal from them behind a cloud ; their embracings were pure and sinless. ” ( Karamzin. 86 ) .

Karamzin besides describes Liza through Erast’s eyes as a shepherdess. once more arousing an image of pureness ( Karamzin. 86 ) . Even when Liza gives up her virginity to Erast. Karamzin still evokes images of pureness when he says. “like a lamb she submitted to his will in everything” ( Karamzin. 89 ) . These holy referents in Karamzin’s Poor Liza. make a sacred image out of the Liza character which is similar to the character traits of Elizabeth I. Part of the ground that the empress Elizabeth built so many churches was that at one point she was sing going a nun. For this ground The Convent was built and erected by her order ( Bain. 138 ) .

She is besides attributed to constructing the most figure of churches as compared to any other Russian sovereign. the most celebrated being the Smolny Catherdral ( Bain. 138 ) . In her spiritual devotedness. and her single life lie some of the stronger analogues to Karamzin’s Liza character from which the spring the line of descent of the Liza characters. Following Poor Liza. other authors besides began arousing the image of Elizabeth I in their authorship. The following one being Griboyedov’s in his Lizzie character in Woe from Wit. Again the Liza character. in this instance being Lizzie. is painted as a image of pure virginal beauty. Lizzie’s outer visual aspect is described by Molchalin: There’s one thing I’m thought of:

These cheeks. these venas and all
Have non yet seen the flower of love. ( Griboyedov. IV. twelve. 4-6 )

In the last line. Mochalin particularly points out the lividness of her tegument which shows her virginity. Another similarity between Elizabeth I Liza. and Lizzie. is that they all reject or lovers who rank higher or equal to them. Lizzie for illustration pushes away Molchalin when he tries to encompass her ( Griboyedov. IV. twelve. 51-52 ) and alternatively loves person of lower or equal rank: So unusual these people seem to be!

She craves for him. he craves for me.
And I’m… the merely one who’s scared of love.
Barman Petrusha. my sweetest dove. ( Griboyedov. I. xiv. 4-6 )
Lizzie besides rejects Famusov when he corners her in the hall and embracings. She is austere with him and shows small involvement. despite his rank: It’s you who’s frivolous. allow travel. will you?
Compose yourself. old adult male.



This is corresponds with the relationship kineticss of Elizabeth I in that she was one time betrothed to Prince Karl Augustus but he died before they could be married ( Coughlan. 23 ) . Alternatively of seeking a hubby of equal stature. which proved hard because she was non welcome in baronial circles she pursued lovers in the military and service. finally settling on a Ukrainian provincial in a church choir by the name Alexis Razumovsky ( Coughlan. 59 ) . Yet there are more similarities that can be traced between Elizabeth and Lizzie’s characters.

Elizabeth I’s regulation was marked by the excessive balls and events who would throw. On norm. her hebdomadal balls would host about 800 invitees and she would besides frequently throw smaller parties for her tribunal members ( Rice. 135 ) . Lizzie. like Elizabeth. besides enjoys a jubilations and parties. For this ground when she is speak with Sofia she reminds her. “the vacation is coming! Time for merriment! ” ( Griboyedov. I. v. 1 ) . Lizzie is mentioning to the get together that will go on in the drama as it will give her a opportunity to see her darling Petrushka. Following Lizzie’s character. the Liza image carried over following to Pushkin’s work. Queen of Spades.

The Lizaveta character in Queen of Spades is evocative of the immature Elizabeth I who was unpopular at the royal tribunal. Lizaveta is foremost described to the reader as the “martyr” of the house as she was ever being scolded and blamed for everything ( Pushkin. 348 ) . This once more evokes the saintly images created by Karamzin and Griboyedov. Particularly similar to the immature queen is Lisaveta in the undermentioned transition: “She had a fixed wage. but it was ne’er paid in full ; at the same clip she was expected to dress like everyone else. that is. like the few. In society she played the most pathetic function. Everybody knew her. but nobody took any notice of her ; at the balls she danced merely when an excess spouse was needed for a vis-a-vis. ” ( Pushkin. 349 ) This image is similar to that of Elizabeth in that she had royal blood and for this ground was expected to dress and move a certain manner ; nevertheless she was non accepted by the society she was a portion of. In add-on to the manner in which the immature Elizabeth tantrum into society. Lisaveta is besides similar to Elizabeth in her ulterior age.

When Elizabeth I was turning old she began holding complications with her wellness that caused giddy enchantments. She grew progressively down and disallowed the word ‘death’ to be spoken in her presence ( Antonov. 109 ) . This fantastic can besides be seen in the actions of Lizaveta in her interactions with Tomskii: “By the manner. methinks she must be acquiring on. Princess Daria Petrovna? “ What make you intend acquiring on? ” Tomskii answered absently. “She’s been dead for these seven old ages. ” The immature lady raised her caput and signaled to him. He remembered the old Countess was ne’er informed of the decease of any of her coevalss. and he bit his lip. ” ( Pushkin. 345 ) . In this case the image of Elizabeth I gets slightly muddled since it is ill-defined whether the countess disallows the topic of decease to be brought up in forepart of her or if it is Lisaveta who does non like the thought.

The old Countess herself mirrors Elizabeth I in that she cares a great trade about her outer visual aspect as the countess dressed in a manner. “strictly following the manners of the 1770s. disbursement merely every bit much clip on and paying merely every bit much attending to. her toilette as she had 60 old ages before” ( Pushking. 345 ) . In similar manner. Elizabeth I in her older age. had a monstrous aggregation of vesture. holding owned 15. 000 frocks and would alter outfits two to six times a twenty-four hours ( sAntonov. 107 ) . Like the immature Elizabeth and Lisaveta. the countess did non rather fit into the society she was a portion of. “she participated in all the fiddling events of high society life. dragging herself to balls. where she would sit in a corner. …the invitees. as they arrived. would travel up to her bowing low…but afterwards would pay no attending to her” ( Pushikin. 348 ) .

If the relationship between Lisaveta and the Countess is farther explored their dynamic can be seen as the countess being an old Elizabeth I and Lisaveta being the immature Elizabeth I. Pushkin plays fast ones on the reader with the images of Lisaveta and the countess. Possibly the most dramatic illustration of this is that when Hermann is go forthing the old Countess’s house and he. “pressed her cold. unresponsive manus. kissed her bowed caput. and went out” ( Pushkin. 362 ) . It is non crystalline here whether Hermann had merely kissed the Lisaveta or the dead countess. which could be done by Pushkin on intent. Possibly the ground for the two Elizabeth-like characters is so that the old one can hold the immature one avoid get marrieding a individual of above or of her ain category and alternatively get married down. This is because the matrimony of the countess is what brings the countess the cursed secret she has to maintain since the old count refused to pay her debts and she had to seek outside aid ( Pushkin. 342 ) .

For this ground. when the phantom of the old countess comes to Hermann. she tells him. “I will forgive you my decease under the status that you marry my ward. Lizaveta Ivanovna…” ( Pushkin. 365 ) and so the Elizabeth I image is put away by Lizaveta. The concluding image of the Liza character appears in Gogol’s Dead Souls. in the signifier of Manilov’s married woman Lizenka. Here the Elizabeth character is portrayed in a disgustingly sweet signifier. The relationship between Manilov and his married woman are described as invariably feeding one another small tid-bits and confects. In the Lizenka character. Gogol is finally poking merriment at the sentimentalist nature of the Liza character which can be contrived from Elizabeth I’s ain character.

Gogol does non take Karmzin’s romanticist composing as true literature and for this ground names Karamzin in the undermentioned case: “Nor were his colleauges a humor inferior to him in enlightenment. For case. one of them made regular pattern of reading Karamzin. another of victimizing the Moscow Gazette. and the 3rd of ne’er looking at a book at all. ” ( Gogol. 142 ) Here Gogol takes on a sarcastic tone in depicting the “great works” that the collegues indulge in. For this ground. Gogol pick of the bantam signifier of Elizabeth. Lizenka is farther support that her character her sweetie pie character is a lampoon to Karamzin’s Liza.

This drama on the the Liza character can be seen as a commentary on. Elizabeth I’s character as she was described as “kind and warm-hearted for the emotions sake alone” ( Rice. 135 ) . Gogol sees this type of personality as stupid and makes merriment of Lizenka’s schooling which is slightly similar to Elizabeth I’s in that Lizenka merely learned French. the piano. and housewifery ( Gogol. 22 ) . However. regardless of her schooling. Lizenka through her relationship with Manilov is in charge of the psyche which is possibly a position he takes on Elizabeth I’s regulation of the Russian people.

By following the character traits and life events of Elizabeth I of Russia in Russian Literature following her regulation. the outgrowth of the heroine Liza becomes apparent. Get downing with Karamzin who evokes many of the sanctum and pure images that surround Elizabeth I’s and every bit good as Gribodev who shows the virginal beauty of the empress in his authorship. Their literature is so followed by Pushkin. who focuses more on the friendless member of society that Elizabeth I was turning up under her Cousin Anne’s regulation. And so the Liza character. heroine of Russian literature is created in jubilation to Elizabeth I merely to be ridiculed by Gogol in his brief apostrophes to Karamzin’s original work. So Liza’s character becomes an mystery in Russian literature history in that it is ill-defined whether her name is finally venerated or ridiculed in the heads of the readers of these great plants.

Plants Cited
Antonov. B. I. . and Kenneth MacInnes. Russian Czars: [ the Rurikids. the Romanovs. St. Petersburg: Ivan Fedorov. 2005. Print.

Coughlan. Robert. Elizabeth and Catherine: Empresss of All the Russias. London: Macdonald and Jane’s. 1975. Print.

Gogol? . Nikolai Vasil?evich. Constance Garnett. and Clifford Odets. Dead Souls. New York: Modern Library. 1936. Print.

Griboyedov. Aleksandr Sergeyevich. Aleksandr Griboedov’s Woe from Wit: A Commentary and Translation. Lewiston. New york: Edwin Mellen. 2005. Print.

Karamzin. Nikolai Mikhailovich. and Henry M. Nebel. Selected Prose of N. M. Karamzin. Evanston: Northwestern UP. 1969. Print.

Krymow. Vincenzina. Mary’s Flowers: Gardens. Legends & A ; Meditations. Cincinnati. Ohio: St. Anthony Messenger. 1999. Print.

Pushkin. Aleksandr Sergeevich. and Paul Debreczeny. The Captain’s Daughter and Other Narratives. London: David Campbell. 1992. Print.

Rice. Tamara Talbot. Elizabeth. Empress of Russia. New York: Praeger. 1970. Print.

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