The immortal host of prince Igor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The attention of the author of this paper is focused on "The Tale of Igor's Campaign" (Slovo o polku Igoreve), a famous work of Russian literature. Before the revolution the text was included in the school curriculum, and within the period of 1850-1917 its separate editions exceeded 150. The early Soviet period was marked by a brief decline of the popularity of the "Tale", but since mid-1930s, the number of its separate editions started to grow, and the negative or indifferent comments on Prince Igor Sviatoslavich in Soviet encyclopedias were replaced by the favorable ones. The heroization of its characters during the Great Patriotic War also contributed to the popularity of the "Tale". After the war, "The Tale of Igor's Campaign" was effectively used again as a symbol of the unity of three brotherly nations - Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian. The celebrations of different anniversaries, such as the 750th anniversary of the "Tale" and 150th anniversary of its first publication were also typical of the Soviet era. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the "Tale" has become an object of rivalry between Russia and Ukraine. Each country claims to be the only true heir of the "Tale", actively contributing to its popularization via publications, the organization of commemorative events and the introduction of its text into school curriculums. However, further prospects of the "Tale" commemoration-wise are quite obscure - the article argues that the "Tale" (as well as many other literary works) does not constitute an effective tool for building of national past.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)883-903
Number of pages21
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2020

Scopus subject areas

  • History


  • Boian
  • Historical memory
  • Historical policy
  • Igor Sviatoslavovich Novgorod-Seversky
  • Literary works
  • Memorial places
  • the Old Russian book-learning
  • The Tale of Igor's Campaign
  • Yaroslavna
  • historical memory
  • historical policy
  • memorial places
  • literary works

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