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Genre System of Russian XVIII Century Satirical Magazines

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Satirical magazines are a unique form of the XVIII century literature. Standing outside the dominant in the XVIII century normative poetics, they share its didactic intent. They develop a specific genre system consisting of short literary forms. The research aims to create a structural model of this system. It involves multiple factors: the literary forms it includes are defined on several irredundant criteria. Its main genres are the editor’s essay, the reader’s letter, and parodies. The editor as the subject of an essay is a fictional character. Readers’ letters, whoever their real authors might be, coexist with editor’s essays in a common fictional space. Such genres as newspaper articles, recipes, dictionaries are objects of parody. A character sketch is the basic element of the system. Compressed or extended, it can appear as a description or a narrative. A character sketch as well as other genre modes may take the shape of essays, letters, parodies. Many short forms show a tendency towards cyclization. The magazine as a whole is a literary unity held together with the help of several mechanisms: the editor’s and readers’ personae, formal and thematic parallels between texts, sometimes a common constructive principle or even a single plot. The diversity of simultaneous structuring principles makes the genre system of the satirical magazines complex and flexible, so as to vary aesthetic impressions for the sake of a common didactic goal.

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