The Legislator in Her Debut
ASCHOLARLY HISTORY of the reign of Catherine II remains yet to be written. We have several extremely valuable monographs on specific questions of the period, but we have no comprehensive analytical survey of the entire period. In his History of Russia from Earliest Times, S. M. Solov’ev1 covered only a little more than the first decade of Catherine’s reign. Death cut short his monumental work just as he was preparing the volume which was to have ended with an account of the Pugachev rebellion. Brückner’s History of the Reign of Catherine 112 was inadequate even for the author’s own time. Bruckner had distributed his attention very unequally between Catherine’s domestic and foreign policies, giving much more space to the latter. At present, his book is entirely obsolete in view of the monographs and the new archival materials that have been published since. Bil’bassov’s opus, conceived so broadly and so many years in preparation, never reached the public and is shrouded in some sort of mystery. It was to have been published in twelve volumes and rumor had it that the whole manuscript had been completed. Yet only four volumes ever saw light:3 the first and second, covering Catherine’s life before she ascended the throne and the very first years of her reign, and the eleventh and twelfth, comprising the Russian and foreign bibliography on the period. The remaining volumes have disappeared without a trace, supposedly destroyed by their author. Whether that rumor is true, I cannot say, but, be that as it may, only small fragments of Bil’bassov’s History of Catherine II have come down to us.
KeywordsOriginal Draft Peasant Uprising Earliest Time Movable Property Russian Peasant
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