Vyatka La Fontaine, or the Lost Page of Russian Fables History

2019. № 2, 49-57

Alexei A. Pautkin, Moscow State University (Russia, Moscow), apautkin@yandex.ru


The article discusses the fables of a little-known provincial poet of the second half of the XVIII century G. S. Shutov. Works of Vyatka Archpriest, who graduated from the local theological Seminary and taught there “Poetics” for several years, were saved in the manuscript of the early nineteenth century. Some of them were published only in 1897 by the local historian A. S. Vereshchagin. Developing the tradition of the poetic translations of the Aesop fables, popular in Russia, Shutov was simultaneously solving educational and methodical tasks. His texts were created half a century before the fables of the same title by I. A. Krylov. They could be chronologically comparable with the works of outstanding representatives of Russian classicism V. K. Trediakovsky and A. P. Sumarokov. However, in the poetic
manner and language, they became innovative for that time. The fables by Shutov are characterized by laconism and conversational ease. Among the currently available texts belonging to the Vyatka poet, the fable “Cat in
beer” has a special place. The story is about a cat, rescued by mice, who had easily forgotten his promises made at that critical moment. This plot has not been found in the works of other authors. Therefore, this fable should
be considered as original.