Metaphysics, Aesthetics, or Epistemology? The Conceptual History of tvorchestvo in Nineteenth-Century Russian Thought

Kåre Mjør


Slavic and East European Journal, vol. 62, no.1 (Spring 2018), pp. 4–25


This article analyzes the history of the Russian concept of tvorchestvo (“creation,” “creativity”) from its emergence and early usages in the early nineteenth century, in particular in the writings of Nikolai Nadezhdin, Nikolai Stankevich and Vissarion Belinskii, and up to and including the philosophy of Vladimir Solov’ev. While the concept later on became a key term and pivotal philosophical issue for thinkers such as Nikolai Berdiaev and Sergei Bulgakov, this article focuses on its early history, and more specifically on how it was coined in the translation of the ideas of Schelling, while subsequently becoming independent of the Schellingian origins. More specifically, while it initially was a metaphysical concept, corresponding to Schilling’s idea of “productivity” (of nature as well as of the human being), thinkers like Nadezhdin and Belinskii used it as an aesthetic concept, referring to the creative genius, while Solov’ev in turn applied it in order to emphasize the active role we play in cognition and perception (epistemology). The article demonstrates the importance of cultural transfer in the creation of a Russian philosophical discourse in the nineteenth century and expolores how processes of transfer and translation generate new philosophical issues.


Метафизика, эстетика или эпистемология? История понятия «творчество» в русской мысли XIX века

Коре Йохан Мьёр

Социалистический реализм получил широкое освещение в истории как русской, так и восточноевропейской литератур. Тем не менее, при использовании сложившегося в этих историях институционального и эстетического аппарата, представляется сложным объяснить существование левых текстов вне рамок государственного социализма. Настоящая статья посвящена мировому пролетарскому роману первой половины ХХ века и предлагает новый аппарат для рассмотрения таких текстов, во-первых, очерчивая границы Народной республики литературы (литературной подсистемы, соседствовавшей с политическими левыми и отличной от Мировой республики литературы Паскаль Казановы), внутри которой эти тексты циркулировали, а во-вторых, объясняя широкое использование религиозных нарративов и системы образов, посредством которых в таком романе были представлены революционные сообщества старых левых.


Kåre Mjør is a researcher of Russian intellectual history at the Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University. He is the author of Reformulating Russia: The Cultural and Intellectual Historiography of Russian First-Wave Studies, Uppsala (2011) as well as several articles on the history of Russian philosophy and ideas from the eighteenth century to the present.