An historiographical appraisal of the writings of Nicolas M. Zernov
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Barrett, Roby C.
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Purpose of the Study; The purpose of this study is to place the writings of Nicolas M. Zernov in their proper relationship to Russian historical and protest literature, and to provide a synthesis of Zernov's numerous publications that deal with Russian history. With the exception of the family chronicle, no work on Zernov has been published, and the chronicle does not include an analysis of his writings or the place of those writings in any Russian literary tradition. Procedure: The author examined all of the available references, both primary and secondary, which pertained to Zernov and Russian historiography. The references included Zernov's writings, both articles and books, and an interview with Zernov at Oxford in March,1975. The works on Russian historiography came, primarily from the Staatsbibliothek, the library of the Seminarfuer Geschichte Osteuropas, the library of the Seminarfuer Slavische Philologie, and the Universitaetsbibliothek Muenchen, all of which are located in Munich, West Germany. Other libraries used included those at Baylor University, Southern Methodist University,and the University of Texas at Austin. The private collections of Dr. Wallace Daniel and myself were also researched. Findings: Zernov's approach to Russian history has been basically different from that of other Russian historians. For him, the historical narrative was the medium through which he presented a moral approach to politics and socia lrelationships. Using the social and political institutions of Kiev as the ideal, Zernov compared and criticized the subsequent periods of Russian history. Zernov's descriptions reflected his consistent criticism of Western secularism and his belief in the spiritual mission of Russian Orthodoxy. Such pronouncements place Zernov squarely within the protest tradition of Russian literature. Conclusion; Zernov's writings represented a marriage of the political traditions of Western democratic liberalism and the spiritualism of the Slavophiles and Russian Orthodoxy. Zernov gave a moral and ethical interpretation of the political and social institutions of Russian history. He called for the union of Russian Orthodox spirituality and morality and the democratic political institutions of the West.