Message from ESSA President

As I write these lines, the recent death of Dmitrii Likhachev is much on my mind. One of the last of his generation to succumb, Dmitrii Sergeevich did not live an easy life: like far too many others, he "sat" in Solovki, then helped dig that other monstrosity of early Soviet power, the Belomor Canal. These experiences left their mark on his health, but Likhachev managed to overcome them, and emerged as one of the greatest students of medieval and early modern Russian culture ever.

One would be hard put to identify a single work which best represented Dmitrii Sergeevich's scholarly contribution. My own particular favorite, however, is his essay on individualism in seventeenth-century Muscovite culture. The ideas so lucidly and compassionately developed there integrated different genres of literature and the arts with a historical context familiar to me from other evidence. Although today's American students might have difficulty empathizing with the likes of Avvakum, in Likhachev's hands the indignant archpriest and other "individuals" of seventeenth-century Muscovy emerge as authentic, complex human beings rather than "ideal types." Avvakum, Shemiaka, and Frol Skobeev all had deep flaws, and yet Likhachev sensed in their characters a complexity with which any reader could identify. Perhaps just as important, these "individuals" stood out from the dominant values of the world around them, even if, as in Avvakum's case, they later had to pay a high price for their independence. What makes the essay enduring, it seems to me, is that the theme speaks not only to a remote seventeenth century, but also to modern Russia. Written in the depths of the period of "stagnation," the essay describes an emergent idea of self counterposed to official authority, which allowed Likhachev to celebrate individual conscience and integrity in the face of state power. In this way, the essay must have resonated powerfully with Soviet readers who could discern in seventeenth-century "individuals" the forebears of better-known "individuals" of a later time. Radishchev, Herzen, or any of dozens of other men and women of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries are hardly conceivable without the precedent that Likhachev's essay revealed in seventeenth-century Russia. From this vantage point, then, Likhachev's essay is more than a brilliant study of a remote era; it represents as well the first chapter in the history of civil society in Russia. Of course, there is considerable irony in this, since Likhachev himself could sometimes be as resistant to alternative interpretations as Soviet power ever was. One thinks with some sadness about the role that Likhachev played in the discussion of the Igor' Tale that Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Zimin initiated with his controversial claim about its authenticity. But then Dmitrii Sergeevich was surely as complicated as Avvakum or any of the rest of us; capable of great good, but sometimes victimized by banality and mean-spiritedness. And it would be unfair, I think, to linger on those occasions when he gave in to the very impulses that so much of his writing implicitly condemned. For my part, I shall remember instead the occasions when he stood up to authority, for example, on the heels of the 1988 fire at the Library of the Academy of Sciences and demonstrated how individuals can make a difference. Although he himself was a victim of state authority, Dmitrii Sergeevich nevertheless embraced tightly the humanistic tradition that informs so much of what we study, and to Russia's advantage he carried that passion into the world around him.

When we convene our business meeting on Friday, November 19, we will elect a new slate of officers. Therefore I should like to take this opportunity to thank Ann Kleimola for her enthusiastic and unfailing support and advice over the last two years; she will bring to her presidency, I know, uncommon wisdom, and I wish her well. I am also grateful to Isolde Thyret, who has managed the association's business with enviable skill and thoroughness. We are fortunate that she is willing to continue to serve. And I also deeply appreciated the contribution that David Prestel has made, editing the association's newsletter now for many years. Other duties now call him away from this task, but I am sure that all of you join me in thanking David for the countless hours he has invested in keeping us in touch with one another. I also want to thank the many persons on whom I've called for advice, or whom I've asked to serve in other ways. Without exception they all executed these tasks with generosity and a high level of competence. Finally, I thank all of you for the honor you did me in making me president of ESSA. Even if I have not always done what you might have wished me to have done, I can assure you that I always felt great pleasure and distinction in having had the chance to tend to the association's business.

Daniel Kaiser


ESSA Annual Business Meeting and Dinner

Our annual gathering will take place on Friday night, November 19 in St. Louis. Due to a conflict in the schedule, our annual business meeting will be held in conjunction with the round table discussion, "Church and State in Muscovy," which includes, among other members, our treasurer, Isolde Thyret. The business meeting and the panel (6-07 in the preliminary schedule) will meet 4:15 - 6:15 in Director's Row 26.

Our social event will follow the business meeting. We have a reservation for 8 p.m. at the Morgan Street Brewery. For those interested in a vegetarian option, linguini primavera will be available in addition to the items on the standard printed menu.

The Morgan Street Brewery is within walking distance of the convention hotel. When leaving the hotel, walk toward the arch, then turn left on Memorial Drive to Washington, right on Washington to Second and Morgan (Morgan Street Brewery is located at 721 North Second).

If you plan to attend the dinner, I would appreciate your letting me know (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). The restaurant staff would like some advance notice, if possible, on how many places to set.

Ann Kleimola


Nominations for Officers of ESSA

Last spring I asked Daniel Collins (Ohio State University), Priscilla Hunt (University of Massachusetts), and Janet Martin (University of Miami), to solicit nominations from the membership and to propose a slate of officers to be voted on at the annual business meeting in St. Louis. I am pleased to report that the committee has done its job, and done it very well. Janet, who chaired the committee, reported to me the following slate of nominations to be presented to the membership for election at our business meeting in November: Vice- President/President-Elect: David Prestel (Michigan State University) Secretary-Treasurer: Isolde Thyret (Kent State University) Newsletter Editor: Robert Romanchuk (UCLA)

Daniel Kaiser


British Medievalists Meet

The UK-based Slavonic and East European Medieval Studies Group will hold its autumn meeting on Saturday 6 November in the Thirkill Room, Clare College, Cambridge. The following papers will be read: Dr. L. Pekarska, 'Medieval Hoards from Kiev'; Prof. L. Hughes, 'Landmarks of the Visual Arts in Early Russia'; Prof. F. Thomson, 'Early Russian Intellectual Silence Revisited: The Present State of the Question'.


Remembering Academician Dmitrii Sergeevich Likhachev

[The following remembrance of D. S. Likhachev was written for the autumn issue of the REECAS Newsletter at the University of Washington by ESSA member Daniel Waugh. Given Professor Waugh's personal relationship with Dmitrii Sergeevich, the editor felt that his essay makes a good companion piece to ESSA President Daniel Kaiser's remarks printed above. Professor Waugh has kindly given his permission to reprint the essay. DP]

The death of Academician Likhachev on September 30 at age 92 deprives us of one of the last of the traditional intelligentsia and one of the most eloquent defenders of old Russian values. He experienced the worst consequences of the Revolution when he barely survived incarceration in the Gulag on the Solovki Islands in the White Sea. Even after he was rehabilitated and had launched a distinguished academic career, his open profession and practice of Orthodox Christianity played a role in delaying receipt of honors he deserved. With the end of the Soviet era, he became something of an icon in his own right as a kind of cultural consience of the nation. Unlike Solzhenitsyn, who may be seen as an unwanted Old Testament prophet in a country not wanting to listen to his message, Dmitrii Sergeevich was widely hailed as one of the most respected Russians in an era when, it seems, few merited or in any event received respect. His career can be followed in other accounts (for example, the obituary in the New York Times on October 1, 1999). My comments here are primarily a personal perspective, since I was fortunate to have had some personal interaction with Dmitrii Sergeevich.

My first meeting with Dmitrii Sergeevich was in 1968, when as a rather green exchange graduate student in Leningrad I was invited to attend the regular meetings of the Division of Early Russian Literature which he headed in the Academy of Sciences Institute of Russian Literature. For me, those meetings were and essential part of my education regarding study of old Russian culture and, perhaps more importantly, the often contentious scholarly traditions involved in that study. It seemed that Dmitrii Sergeevich possessed a unique understanding of those traditions, intertwined as they were with his own long career. He could, for example, evoke the tragedy of circumstances in which personal relations among scholars prevented their effective communication on the eve of the siege of Leningrad, which he lived through but they would not survive. Where his colleagues in the late 1960s might become strident over differences that probably were much deeper than purely academic principle, he would attempt to mediate. Presentations which might have seemed arcane somehow became important in the clarity of Dmitrii Sergeevich's lucid summaries that closed each session.

His passion in defending what he valued as the "texts" defining old Russian culture might at times lead him to positions with which I could not necessarily agree. He played a key role in orchestrating what was really a vicious and unequal battle to condemn the views of the otherwise much respected historian Alexander Zimin, whose sin was to question the authenticity of the famous medieval epic, the "Igor' Tale." A few years later Andrei Tarkovskii's film "Andrei Rublev" provoked controversy. I happened one day to see a Stengazeta (bulletin board "newspaper") in the Institute of Russian Literature, in which various of its scholars expressed their opinions about the film. Dmitrii Sergeevich was unhappy about the film, at least in part because he could not accept its depiction of so much filth (griaz' -I think this was to be construed both literally and morally) in the Russia of Rublev, who was one of his cultural heroes. And a few years after that, he was uncompromising and brusque in his dismissal of Edward Keenan's heretical views about the authenticity of the "Correspondence" between Tsar Ivan IV and Prince Andrei Kurbski. Although Dmitrii Sergeevich wrote the "Bible" of textual criticism for old Russian literature (in the second edition of which, I noted with some pride, he added material with reference to a small contribution I had made), it seemed nonetheless that he was willing to violate his own rules where it served his purpose of strengthening Ivan's credentials as an author.

On the eve of my departure from Leningrad after a second year there in 1972, I visited Dmitrii Sergeevich at his dacha, near which his remains have been laid to rest under the birches and pines. He was genuinely grieved by the fact that the poet Joseph Brodsky, who would later receive the Nobel Prize, had just been exiled from the Soviet Union. And he used the occasion to lament more generally the way in which Old Russian culture had suffered under the Soviet regime. I was very much touched by his willingness to share with me some of his deepest concerns. I felt privileged that while in Leningrad as a mere graduate student, he had accepted me as a colleague among scholars whose accomplishments to this day are beyond my grasp. When later I published my first book, he agreed to write a foreword to it that was overly generous in its praise.

In 1975, when I was on a brief visit to Leningrad, I met him in his office at the Institute of Russian Literature. This was the first time, I believe, that I had noticed on his desk a plaque indicating that it had previously been the desk of the greatest student of Russian chronicles, A. A. Shaxmatov. In a very real way Dmitrii Sergeevich laid claim to Shakhmatov's legacy, since he himself was a prominent student of Russian chronicles. This served as yet one more reminder of the depth of the scholarly and personal traditions which we must understand if we are to appreciate the human context for the often complex academic life of the Soviet era. During that visit, even though I had no "official status," merely by picking up the phone Dmitrii Sergeevich was able to gain unprecedented access for me to the inner sanctum of one of the local archives. He had faith that my project would contribute in important ways to our knowledge of old Russian manuscript collections; in fact his influence may well account for its publication by the Academy of Sciences Library at a time when foreigners were rarely published in the Soviet Union.

One might wonder whether Dmitrii Sergeevich's intense nationalism was always compatible with the traditions of scholarship which he fought to maintain in often difficult circumstances. Yet he left a remarkable legacy both in the cultural breadth of many of his own writings and in the stimulation and support of others whose work might otherwise have languished without strong advocacy. I found him to be a gracious and generous host who had the ability to inspire aspiring young scholars and, as we now know, a much broader public. His death is a loss to all of us.

Daniel C. Waugh


Russia Mediaevalis

The editors of Russia Mediaevalis, Edgar Hoesch, Ludolf Mueller and Andrzej Poppe, have announced that the editorial work of the journal, after many years in Tübingen and Munich, will now be centered in Warsaw at the Institute of History (University of Warsaw). It is hoped that the move will foster close cooperation with Kiev and Moscow. All ESSA members who have articles ready for publication are invited to send them to RM. The bibliographical work of the journal will continue at the Osteuropa Institut in Munich. Manuscripts may be sent to any of the editors at the following addresses:

Edgar Hoesch Institut für Geschichte Osteuropas und Südosteuropas der Universität München Wagmüllerstrasse 23, 8O530 München,Germany e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ludolf Mueller Denzenbergstrasse 38/1 , 72074 Tübingen, Germany

Andrzej Poppe Gdanska 2, m.79, 01-633 Warsaw, Poland tel. 833-63-28 e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


New Publications from the Sektor istorii drevneishikh gosudarstv

The Sektor istorii drevneishikh gosudarstv, founded by V.T.Pashuto (1918-1983) at the Institut istorii SSSR in Moscow, during the 1970s and 1980s established itself as a leading group of scholars of Kievan Rus'. The members of the group (most them are now affiliated with the Institut vseobshchei istorii) continue their two main publishing projects. These projects are critical edition of primary sources, in a series now entitled Drevneishie istochniki po istorii Vostochnoi Evropy (formerly Drevneishie istochniki po istorii narodov SSSR), and an annual collection of monographs and articles, Drevneishie gosudarstva vostochnoi Evropy (formerly Drevneishie gosudarstva na territorii SSSR). The publisher of the most recent volumes is Glavnaia redaktsiia vostochnoi literatury (103051 Moscow, Tsvetnoi bulvar, d. 21). In addition, the following related books are now available. A collection of 34 essays, Vostochnaia Evropa v istoricheskoi perspektive: k 80-letiiu V.T.Pashuto, is a tribute to the memory of the group's founder. It contains studies of Old Russian and foreign sources, essays on political, economic, ecclesiastical and cultural history of Old Rus' and its neighbors, as well as memoirs about Pashuto. The book has been published by Iazyki russkoi kul'tury (129345, Moscow, Oboronnaia 6-105, telephone (7-095) 207-86-93; for the catalogue and ordering details see Drevniaia Rus v svete zarubezhnykh istochnikov, ed. E.A. Mel'nikova, is an overview of foreign sources on the history of Rus' (until 1300) and its predecessors in Eastern Europe. Though it is advertised primarily as a university textbook, it will be useful as a reference book to professional medievalists as well. It includes sections on Greek and Roman antiquity (by A.V. Podosinov), Byzantium (M.V. Bibikov), Islamic sources (I.G. Konovalova), "Latin" Europe (A.V. Nazarenko) and Scandinavia (G.V. Glazyrina, T.N. Dzhakson, and E.A. Melnikova). The book's publisher is Logos (105318, Moscow, Izmailovskoe shosse, d. 4).

Leonid Chekin


Information Exchange

  1. Please take note that forms, directory corrections and dues payments should be sent to: Prof. Isolde Thyrêt, History Department, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44242.

  2. For back Newsletters, announcements, news from members and information about the ESSA, readers are directed to the ESSA website: The webmaster Professor Cynthia Vakareliyska of the University of Oregon may be contacted at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  3. Professor Mark E. Tkachuk has informed us of the availability of the following issues of Stratum Plus: No. 4 - Time "Che". The Epoch of Great Migrations. Toward a Centenary of Discovery of Chernyakhov Culture; No. 5 - Non-Slavic Elements in the Slavic World; No. 6 Time of Money. Numismatics and Epigraphy. Stratum Plus is an international archaeological journal which is published by the University "High Anthropological School" in Kishinev, Republic of Moldova. The journal is in Russian with English summaries, and comes out six times a year. For information write to: MD 2024, Republic of Moldova, Kishinev, Zimbrului St. 10/a, High Anthropological School, Stratum plus journal, tel/fax: (3732) 438-342.



Samuel Baron (University of North Carolina) has recently published "Technology Transfer to Seventeenth-Century Russia in Comparative-Historical Perspective," Forschungen zur osteuropäischen Geschichte, 54 (1998 and "Russia and Central Asia" in The Purchas Handbook: Studies of the Life, Times and Writings of Samuel Purchas 1577-1626. Vol. I (London, 1998).

Walter K. Hanak (Shepherd College) has published Acts, 18th International Byzantine Congress, Selected Papers: Main and Communications, Moscow, 1991. Editor-in-chief: Ihor Sevcenko and Gennady G. Litavrin; Corresponding Editor: Walter K. Hanak. 4 vols. (History, Archaeology, Religion, Theology, Art History, Iconography, Architecture, Music, Literature, Sources, Numismatics and History of Science). Shepherdstown, 1996 and Nestor-Iskander: The Tale of Constantinople (Of Its Origin and Capture by the Turks in the Year 1453), trans. and annotated by Walter K. Hanak and Marios Philippides. New Rochelle, NY, Athens and Moscow, 1998.

Valerie Kivelson (University of Michigan) has published "The Souls of the Righteous in a Bright Place: Landscape and Orthodoxy in Seventeenth-Century Russian Maps", Russian Review 58 (January 1999): 1-25 and has "Cartography, Autocracy and State Powerlessness: The Uses of Maps in Early Modern Russia", Imago Mundi forthcoming.

Ingunn Lunde (University of Bergen, Norway) successfully defended her thesis entitled "Verbal Celebrations: Cyril of Turov's Homiletic Rhetoric and its Byzantine Sources" in June 1999. She is now revising it for publication, and has recently published "Khvaliti i peti i proslavliati: Epideictic Rhetoric and Cyril of Turov's Metadiscursive Reflections", Scando- Slavica 44, 1998, pp. 97-113 She is also preparing an article collection on Cyril of Turov, with several ESSA members among the contributors.

Horace G. Lunt (Harvard University) and Moshe Taube (University of Jerusalem) have recently published in the Harvard Series in Ukrainian Studies of HURI, The Slavonic Book of Esther: Text, Lexicon, Linguistic Analysis, Problems of Translation, Cambridge, 1998), 331 pages.

Don Ostrowski (Harvard University) has recently published "City Names of the Western Steppe at the Time of the Mongol Invasion," Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, vol. 61, 1998, pp. 465-475 and "Toward Establishing the Canon of Nil Sorsky's Works," Oxford Slavonic Papers, vol. 31, 1998, pp. 35-50.

Günter Prinzing (University of Mainz) recently published Byzanz und Ostmitteleuropa zwischen 950-1453. Beiträge zu einer table-ronde des XIX Congress of Byzantine Studies, Copenhagen 1996. Ed. by Günter Prinzing and Maciej Salamon (=Mainzer Veröffentlichungen zur Byzantinistik Bd. 3), Wiesbaden: Harrasowiz 1999, ISBN 3-447-04146-3. The collection contains fifteen articles in German, French and English on political, cultural, ecclesiastical and art history. He has also published Bizantynczycy wobec obcych, (=Xenia Posnaniensia. Series altera V), Poznan: Ksiegarnia sw. Wojciecha, 1998, 46 pp. ISBN 83-7015-475-1. This work is a translation by K. Ilski of G. Prinzing's contribution: "Vom Umgang der Byzantiner mit den Fremden, in: Chr. Lüth/R. Keck/E. Wiersing (ed.), Der Umgang mit dem Fremden in der Vormoderne. Studien zur Akkulturation in bildingshistorischer Sicht.. Köln: Bühlau, 1997, 117-143.

Daniel Waugh (University of Washington) has recently co-edited (with M. Holt Ruffin), Civil Society in Central Asia (University of Washington Press, 1999). He also wrote the "Introduction," pp. 7-10, and an article, 'K izucheniiu Fal'sifikatsii pis'mennykh istochnikov po istorii srednevekovoi Rossii," to the Zimin Festschrift volume of Russian History, 25/1-2 (1998), and has published "The Mysterious and Terrible Karatash Gorges": Notes and Documents on the Explorations by Stein and Skrine," The Geographical Journal, 165/3 (Nov. 1999) and "Novoe o 'Povesti o strane Viatskoi'," in Evropeiskii Sever v kul'turno-istoricheskom protsesse (K 625-letiiu goroda Kirova). Materialy Mezhdunarodnoi konferentsii. Ed. V. V. Nizov (Kirov, 1999), pp. 350-380.



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Early Slavic Studies Association

Daniel Kaiser-President Ann Kleimola-Vice President

Isolde Thyrêt-Secretary-Treasurer David Prestel-Newsletter Editor

Early Slavic Studies Association
History Department
Kent State University
Kent, OH 44242