The Significance of Old Russian Literature of the Eleventh to Seventeenth Centuries
Old Russian literature contains works that the Russian people rightly cherish irrespective of the extent to which they influenced the subsequent development of Russian literature. Such works, which are of great value, include, first and foremost, The Tale of Bygone Years— the first Russian chronicle, the Instruction of Vladimir Monomachos, The Lay of Igor’s Host, The Lay of the Ruin of the Russian Land, The Tale of Batu’s Capture of Ryazan, The Trans-Doniad, The Tale of Peter and Febronia of Murom, Afanasy Nikitin’s Voyage Beyond Three Seas, the Life of Archpriest Avvakum and The Tale of Woe-Misfortune. This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the fine works that Russian literature produced in the first seven centuries of its existence.
The significance of Old Russian literature lies in the fact that it helps us to understand the achievements of Russian literature of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Old Russian literature is the source of the civic spirit and ideological content found in Russian literature of the modern period. Old Russian literature passed on to Russian literature of the modern and most recent period its noble ideals, vast experience, and rich flexible language and imagery.