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Terror and GreatnessIvan and Peter as Russian Myths$
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Kevin M. F. Platt

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801448133

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801448133.001.0001

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(p.13) Chapter One Liminality
Terror and Greatness

Kevin M. F. Platt

Cornell University Press

This chapter investigates how Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great served during the first half of the nineteenth century to articulate conceptions of collective selfhood in foundational texts of Russian historiography—Nikolai Karamzin's monumental History of the Russian State and Nikolai Ustrialov's textbook Russian History—as well as in the historical novels The Last Novice by Ivan Lazhechnikov and Prince Serebriannyi by Aleksei K. Tolstoi. Although dominant conceptions of Russian history of this period adopted Peter as a transcendent, heroic “father of the fatherland” and Ivan as a depraved tyrant, each ruler functioned in his own way as a liminal figure, serving to demarcate the boundaries of collective selfhood in Russian ideological formulations.

Keywords:   Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, collective selfhood, Russian historiography, Nikolai Karamzin, Nikolai G. Ustrialov, Ivan Lazhechnikov, Aleksei K. Tolstoi, liminal figures

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