Last year I posted about finding an online reproduction of the first issue of Современные записки [Sovremennye zapiski, the Parisian journal that published Nabokov’s Russian work in the ’30s]; now I’ve found the corresponding nineteenth-century journal, Отечественные записки [Otechestvennye zapiski], thanks to the infuriating (insert “Snippet view” rant) but invaluable Google Books. I was looking for something else and discovered one of the hits was to Sovremennik, a famous radical journal founded by Pushkin and shut down by the censors in 1866. The link was to the 1859 volume (which includes Dobrolyubov‘s famous article “Chto takoe oblomovshchina?”), but in the “Other editions” section there were links to other issues. It immediately occurred to me that there must be scanned volumes of Otechestvennye zapiski (closed in 1884 for similar reasons) as well, and so there are (1830, 1882, etc.). The second one I investigated is from 1848; on the flyleaf it bears the inscription (in a careful, slightly awkward hand, presumably that of a Crimean War soldier) “this book i found in the Great redan Sebastopol,” and below that is the stamp of the Taylor Institution, with the notation “Confined to library.” The physical (and doubtless crumbling) volume may be so confined, but the words are now available to all, thanks to the internet, Google, and Oxford University.


  1. Google books are indeed invaluable, but I think they’ve bent to the will of commerce lately. I’m sure you used to be able to cut and paste quotes from them, but that doesn’t seem to be possible now. Also, they didn’t always seem to cut just the really informative bits, enough to give you a smattering of new knowledge, but no more.
    Example: Carol Justus wrote a very interesting article on the early stages of Indo-European numbering in “The Emergence of the Modern Language Sciences: Studies on the Transition..” which omitted the crux of her argument that Szeremenyi got it wrong in thinking PIE had fully formed decades.
    I recently tried to contact her to see if she had a copy of the full article she could send me, but found that she had died last August, and her successor at U Texas was not interested in her research or in numbers.

  2. I’m sure you used to be able to cut and paste quotes from them
    I don’t remember ever being able to do this. Are you sure you’re thinking of Google Books and not JSTOR or something?
    That’s a shame about Carol Justus.

  3. zena musadaq says

    I want to send comment to Mr Omran Feili but i cant send it i dont know what is the problem.

  4. I don’t either. Sorry.

  5. I am speechless with gratitude. And to think that I have been waiting for ILL to get me microfiche of OZ when Google has already digitized many issues. This is really going to speed along my MA thesis.

  6. Kenny: I’m delighted! This is one of those posts about which I thought “Probably nobody else gives a damn, but this is my blog, and dammit, I’m going to write about it.” You never know what seeds will fall on receptive soil.

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