Vasilii Petrov and The Poetics of Patronage

Luba Golburt

Abstract


This article seeks to bridge the gap between sociohistorical and aesthetic readings of Russian occasional verse by arguing that patronage itself can be seen as engendering its own poetics. The author focuses on hitherto unanalyzed features of Vasilii Petrov's lyrics addressed to various patrons. The close readings of Petrov’s odes and epistles call attention to the poet’s coordinating syntax as structuring the subordinative relationships between poet and patron, and articulating discourses of friendship, community, and the public, of civic virtue, and of social and lyric interdependence. The essay ultimately arrives at a definition of the poetics of patronage, in which the poet claims agency without insisting on his autonomy (as would his successors in the Romantic period), and in which the lyric voice relies upon an other, drawing inspiration from conditions of relationship rather than isolation.

Keywords


patronage, poetry, occasional verse, lyric, apostrophe, literary history

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