Larissa N. Reuer

The eighteenth-century Russian rhetorical tradition: V. K. Trediakovsky’s career and rhetorical views

Larissa N. Reuer

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 2000 pp: 296
  • Advisor: Lauer, Janice M.
  • Source: DAI-A 62/11, p. 3767, May 2002
  • Subjects: Language, Rhetoric And Composition (0681); Education, History Of (0520); Biography (0304)
  • ProQuest Document Number:
  • ISBN: 0-493-46229-5
  • UMI Number: AAT 3033153

Abstract:

    The purpose of the dissertation was to investigate Russian rhetoric in the second third of the eighteenth century through the example of Vasily Kirillovich Trediakovsky. The dissertation’s method allowed concentrating on a detailed investigation of issues involving the influence of power and ideology on the state and development of the discipline of rhetoric. Among these issues were the social, political, and ideological background of eighteenth-century Russia; education in general and rhetorical education in particular; the institutional background of the Russian Academy of Sciences; the history of the discipline of rhetoric before Trediakovsky; and the career and writings of the first Russian professor of Russian and Latin eloquence. Among this investigation’s findings is the role V. K. Trediakovsky played in the development of the discipline of rhetoric in Russia. Before he joined the Academy, professors looking for personal gains such as becoming close to the power elite populated the humanities department; they were little concerned with improving rhetoric’s status. The state’s active military interests, ideological shifts, and preference for the sciences in the country undergoing rapid economic development relegated rhetoric, just like the rest of the humanities, to a secondary role. During his tenure, Trediakovsky attempted to improve rhetoric’s status by promoting rhetorical education at the higher educational levels of secular institutions of learning. By the end of his career, two first Russian Rhetorics in the vernacular appeared, and rhetoric began to be taught as a secular discipline at Russia’s first learned society and its two Universities. Trediakovsky contributed to the development of rhetoric in Russia by being the first to argue for the development of rhetorical resources in the Russian language; becoming the first Russian professor of rhetoric; being the first to use Russian in his rhetoric class; being the first to unite rhetoric and Belles Lettres; and last but not least, educating his students and readers on rhetoric’s social applications.