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2023 Vol. 14 №1

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Idyll, history, rationality: city images in “Real Journey to Germany in 1835” by Nikolay Gretsch



The article explores the images of the German cities, Lubeck and Hamburg, presented in Nikolay Gretsch’s travelogue “The real trip to Germany in 1835”. The author determines the link between the images of the two cities and the tradition of describing Germany as an idyllic place. This tradition was widespread in Russian literature at the end of the 18th century — first half of the 19th century. In Gretsch’s text, Lubeck and Hamburg are depicted as idyllic but to different degrees. The locus of Lubeck is a homogeneous, patriarchal and achronous idyll, a static space that seems to have frozen in the Middle Ages. In contrast to Lübeck, the city of Hamburg is depicted as a large, contemporary, and dynamic city — in other words, as a modern type of idyll. Moreover, its orderliness goes beyond the idyll and is defined by the rational organisation of space, which is characterised by heterogeneity. Firstly, the idyllic subloci are distinguished, where the key role belongs to the demi-natural images of the garden, the park and the promenade. Secondly, the utilitarian-rational subloci of the stock exchange, quay, and canals are described. Subloci, which are marked by both idyll and rationality, have been identified (e. g. an orphanage, an almshouse). Finally, the third spatial type identified marginal sublocations of seafarers’ establishments associated with the motives of disorderli­ness — drunkenness, debauchery, etc.


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