At The Origin Of Napoleon Theme: Hero In V.A. Zhukovsky’s Early Works


On researching the earliest Zhukovsky’s poems of 1797–1800, fundamental moral-philosophical landmarks for artistic reflection on Napoleon theme are highlighted. Zhukozsky’s early essays allow revealing the nature of his ideas about War, Peace, Glory, Humanitarianism, Heroic virtue. The essay «Peace and war» (1798) within the moral-philosophical aspect represents Peace as the ideal embodiment of Good while War is opposed to it as Evil. The essays «Real hero» (1799) and «Hero» (1800) demonstrate the refusal to glorify those people who achieve glory by means of cruelty, villainy and whose actions are interpreted as fornication renunciation of God and Nature for the sake of ghost glory. This way is undoubtedly regarded as death one. Zhukovsky exposes the myth of Alexander the Great’s heroism and military glory characterizing his motives and ambitions full of vanity and arrogance extremely egotistical. Here Zhukovsky creates a specific religious-philosophical cult of heroic virtue. Ethic-religious-philosophical foundations of Zhukovsky’s ideas about a virtuous Hero were realized in 1798 in his two poems «Virtue». Here the poet supposes that the primary value of a real hero is self-association with the virtue light. This declaration pre-determines the development of Napoleon theme in accordance with disclosure of Napoleon myth on the basis of Russian national and Christian moral ideology in Zhukovsky’s works. And it pre-empts the movement of Anti-Napoleon theme in Russian literature and it is certainly proved by creative works belonging to Alexander S. Pushkin, Mihail Y. Lermontov, Fedor M. Dostoevsky, Leo N. Tolstoy and others.

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31 March 2022

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Sadovnikov, А. G., Kolarkova, O. G., Bogacheva, A. V., Ipatova, I. S., & Savina, A. A. (2022). At The Origin Of Napoleon Theme: Hero In V.A. Zhukovsky’s Early Works. In & I. Savchenko (Ed.), Freedom and Responsibility in Pivotal Times, vol 125. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 462-467). European Publisher.