Shagi / Steps the Journal of the SASH


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When you, mortal, want to have a happy life in this world: A. T. Bolotovs philosophy of happiness

A. Yu. Veselova
Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkin House) of RAS (Russia, St. Petersburg)
M. P. Miliutin
Faddeev Academic Gymnasium of St. Petersburg State University (Russia, St. Petersburg)

DOI: 10.22394/2412-9410-2022-8-4-208-225

Keywords: philosophy of happiness, A. T. Bolotov, 18th century Russian literature, memoirs

Abstract: A. T. Bolotov, a Russian writer and memoirist of the second half of the 18th early 19th century, can be considered one of the main theorists and practitioners of happiness in Russian culture of his time. Firstly, he is the author of a three-volume work entitled A Guide to True Human Happiness, as well as the ode To a person who wants to be happy, and a number of short poems and essays on this topic. The concept of happiness outlined in these writings is largely a compilation and is based on several works by German philosophers whom Bolotov regarded as authoritative (primarily J. G. Sulzer and Ch. A. Crusius). But A Guide is the only major Russian-language work on happiness, published by the leading Russian printing house owned by N. I. Novikov, and taking into account the latest achievements of European philosophical thought. Secondly, in his memoirs and accompanying texts, Bolotov constantly leads the reader to the idea that, thanks to a correct life strategy, he himself is a model of a happy person and hopes to pass on this experience to other people, both his descendants and strangers. To a large extent this practical philosophy serves Bolotov as justification for offering the reader a description of his daily life. The proposed article discusses three main subjects: the essence of Bolotovs concept of happiness, its foreign sources, as well as examples of its practical application and dissemination. The article uses unpublished materials from the personal archival funds of Bolotov and his family.

Acknowledgements: The study was supported by grant from the Russian Scientific Foundation no. 22-28-01402, https://rscf.ru/project/22-28-01402, IRLI RAS.

To cite this article: Veselova, A. Yu., & Miliutin, M. P. (2022). When you, mortal, want to have a happy life in this world: A. T. Bolotovs philosophy of happiness. Shagi/Steps, 8(4), 208225. (In Russian). https://doi.org/10.22394/2412-9410-2022-8-4-208-225.