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Das triumphierende Russland

Kriegslyrik im 18. Jahrhundert

Joachim Klein

Seiten 441 - 475

This article deals with a variety of lyric poetry that was extremely popular during the reign of Catherine II—the poetry of war. It was written almost always as occasional court poetry, celebrating Russian military successes in the numerous wars of the period: victories, favorable peace treaties, and annexations. The authors dedicated their poems mostly to the empress, but also to her victorious generals and to her troops. This poetry flourished in the general context of official and private festivities organized in celebration of the national triumphs: the writing of a war poem was an individual act of celebration; the style of such a poem was festive elation. For the poets, writing war poems provided a welcome opportunity to display their patriotism before the empress and other highly placed addressees. The poets’ patriotism came in two kinds; each one corresponded to a certain attitude to war. The first was a radical patriotism advocating the pursuit of national glory by the ruthless use of military power in foreign policy. The second kind was a moderate patriotism that saw war as a necessary evil; it obsessively strived to reconcile Catherine’s bellicose politics with the traditional ideal of a “just war.” The article closes with a discussion of war poetry in its relation to the peace-loving ideals of European Enlightenment.


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