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Tod und Freundschaft in Nikolaj Karamzins „Blume für das Grab meines Agathon“

Joachim Klein


Pages 253 - 267



Death and Friendship in Nikolai Karamzin’s “Flower on the Grave of My Agathon”

Nikolai Karamzin’s “Flower on the Grave of My Agathon,” which belongs to the European genre tradition of funeral poetry, can be classified as a sentimentalist epicedium in prose. It is also, however, a manifesto of the incipient Russian cult of friendship. As such, it expresses a strongly worded protest against the rigidly structured society of estate and rank in post-Petrine Russia. The friendship of the lyrical subject with Agathon represents an island of infinite moral superiority amid this society, an island of social equality, fraternal love, and profound conversations. With its uncompromising idealism Karamzin’s prose poem exemplifies the radical potential of Russian sentimentalism.

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