Ippolit Bogdanovič, a Court Translator of Catherine II: An Episode from His Biography of “The Lira” period (1773)

Publication type Article
Status Published
Affiliation: News agency “Fergana”
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameRusskaya Rech’
EditionIssue 1

The article includes Ippolit Bogdanovič’s humble petition of 1773 to the Empress Catherine II, where the poet reminds about his diligent services and askes to help him with clearing his 3000 ruble debt. His translations of poems devoted to Catherine II by Michelangiolo Gianetti and by Jean-François Marmontel (the latter poem was inspired directly by the Imperial Court) gave him the moral right for this request. Bogdanovič shortened Marmontel’s poem by half and edited what was left. The autocracy criticism was transformed into lamentations on the lack of artistic freedom, which, in turn, was mitigated by the translator’s note. Moreover, the text was placed in panegyric context in Bogdanovič’s collection of poems “Lira” (1773) along the line with the translations of eulogistic poems to Catherine The Great by Voltaire and Michelangiolo Gianetti, an Italian doctor who did not seem to have any wish to lecture monarchs. 1000 rubles, which Bogdanovič had received, can be seen as a payment for this job. This collaboration allows us to revise the prevailing outlook on Bogdanovič’s creative evolution as a history of compromises of “latent oppositionist” with a “secret liberty of beliefs” from the circle of the Count Nikita Panin.

KeywordsI. F. Bogdanovič, biography, translation, M. Gianetti, J.-F. Marmontel, Catherine II
Publication date19.03.2021
Number of characters19361
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