“You Don’t Belong to Yourself...”. Subject and Power in the Early Diaries of Alexander II (1826-1839)

Damiano Rebecchini

Abstract


This article analyses the personal journal of Aleksandr Nikolaevich (the future Alexander II) when he was heir to the throne from 1825 to 1839. Held at the Russian State Archive in Moscow (GARF), the journal has not yet received sig- nificant scholarly attention. The article examines Aleksandr’s journal in the context of a romantic culture of intimate journaling at the court of Tsar Nicho- las I, and, in particular, outlines four different models of journals available to the heir while composing his diary: (i) the diary of his mother, the Empress Aleksandra Fedorovna; (ii) that of his father, Tsar Nicholas I; (iii) that of his tutor Vasilii Zhukovskii; (iv) that of his governor Karl Merder. The author demonstrates how Aleksandr Nikolaevich’s journal in its design, language and its choice of subjects openly rejects the model of romantic journal embodied by his mother, while also rejecting Zhukovskii’s model, which treats the diary as a form of discovery and expression of the author’s intimate self. The author reveals how the heir’s diary is modelled after that of his father’s journal, who interpreted the diary as a tool of self-control and self-discipline.

Keywords


diary; court culture; nineteenth century; Russia; Alexander II; Romanticism

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.25430/2281-6992/v8-019-046

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AvtobiografiЯ
Journal on Life Writing and the Representation of the Self in Russian Culture

Dipartimento di Studi Linguistici e Letterari
Via Elisabetta Vendramini 13
35137 PADOVA

ISSN: 2281-6992
Registrazione del Tribunale di Padova 23-04-2013, n. 2326 Registro della Stampa,
Variazione: Tribunale di Padova 27-10-2014, n. 3197 Registro della Stampa.

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This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

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