Bogoslovskii, Oblastnaia reforma Petra Velikogo: Provintsiia
, 1719-27 gg.
Anne, focusing on Russia's supposed provinciality, explains the importance of the provintsiia
trope, in which Russia's provincial places are characterized by an ambiguous, mixed-up temporality that reveals Russia itself to be neither "modern" nor straightforwardly "backward.
Casanova's provincial/cosmopolitan opposition seems to recapitulate Russia's stolitsa/ provintsiia binary, but in fact provintsiia in the Russian tradition has a much more complicated and ambiguous resonance than does "la province" in French, or terms like "periphery" in English.
In Russian, provintsiia designates the non-exotic, non-borderland, "native" spaces that are outside of and symbolically opposed to Petersburg and Moscow, all those nameless Gorod N s that literature most often represents as devoid of life and meaning.
The noun provintsiia entered Russian from Polish with Peter the Great's reforms, when it was used to designate a large administrative and territorial unit of the empire.
This vision of provintsiia was to remain strikingly constant from Gogol through Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Sologub and even beyond; a full three decades after Dead Souls, for example, Dostoevsky's Demons presents us with another nameless city, another place characterized by the same overdetermined anonymity signaling the meaninglessness and indistinguishability of all provincial places.
I would contend that Russian literature's frequent focus on provintsiia and provintsial'nost' is related to this understanding: as I said above, the provinces as they are generally represented in Russian literature are not exactly behind the times.
Jahrhundert)/ Lithuania and Ruthenia: Studies of a Transcultural Communication Zone (15th-18th Centuries) (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2007), 7-33; Volodymyr Masliichuk, Provintsiia
na perekhresti kul'tur: Doslidzhennia z istorii Slobids'koi Ukrainy (Kharkiv: Kharkivs'skyi pryvatnyi muzei mis'koi sadyby, 2007); John Czaplicka, ed.
The term provintsiia
also seems worthy of use as a category of analysis, while Remnev makes the interesting point that the word "colony" was explicitly avoided in favor of "region" (krai, 403).
Krivonos, "Gogol': Mif provintsial'nogo goroda," in Provintsiia kak real'nost'i ob "ekt osmys" "leniia, ed.
Shcheboleva, Russkaia provintsiia (Moscow: Nash dom, 1997).
in Obshchestvo i vlast[acute]: Rossiiskaia provintsiia
, 1917-1980-e gody, 2, ed.