Napoleon Series Archive 2004

Russian Biographical Dictionary complete - sort of

For anyone who might have an interest in regard to the RUSSKII BIOGRAFICHESKII SLOVAR' and its biographies of military officers, I was able to examine some of the new volumes published by ASPEKT press in the late 1990s. The original RBS was interrupted by the 1917 Revolution, with letter Ye, M, and U not published, along with parts of other letters. It has been said that the work is now complete but I would have to qualify that. The new volumes that were recently published are indeed from galley proofs and drafts preserved in several locations in Russia, but one can see why they weren't published - they were very much incomplete. Take the new volume "M" - based on original RBS standards, it should be 500 to 800 pages long. It is actually about 250 pages. The second half of the letter "N", published for the first time by ASPEKT, is about 200 pages when I judge it should be at least twice that. And just three persons account for half of what is published (tsar Nicholas I, bishop Nikon, and the writer Novikov). The new ASPEKT volumes seem to me to reflect a work in progress. Apparently, the original RBS editors had information on religious persons and artists easily enough available, since that is what one mostly sees in the new volumes, but information on political and military types is much thinner. Still, better than nothing. And not all the new volumes are so thin, though, since the partial "G" volume looks complete enough.

So in my mind the RBS may now have volumes covering the whole alphabet, but a good part of the new volumes is much less than what the original RUSSKII BIOGRAFICHESKII SLOVAR' editors would have aimed for.

Mark C.

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Russian Biographical Dictionary complete - sort of
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