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  • To the Editors
  • Edward L. Keenan

You have quite kindly suggested that I register a brief response to the remarks of Professor Norman Ingham on, among other things, my recent monograph.1

Professor Ingham and I have been friends since the time—now nearly a half-century ago—when we both studied the Igor´ Tale (IT) at Roman Jakobson's knee. Our opinions about the origins of that text—and, probably, about Roman Osipovich—have diverged over the years. Leaving details aside, these divergences may perhaps be explained, as Professor Ingham suggests, by the traditional practices and thought-patterns of our different disciplines. Professor Ingham, like our teacher, considers himself a filolog (Jakobson even wanted the Russian word on his tombstone, which I have not seen); I fancy myself a historian.

I speak in my own review of my conviction that the question of how and when a text appeared is essentially a historical one.2 I would now add only that the late John L. I. Fennell, a distinguished Oxford historian and philologist, long ago provided one of the most cogent treatments of the "textological triangle" embracing the IT, the Zadonshchina, and the Hypatian Chronicle, concluding (pace Likhachev and Jakobson) that both of the latter influenced the IT.3 Fennell's own lingering suspicions seem also to have found expression in his later Early Russian Literature, where the treatment of the Slovo is found at the very end of his otherwise chronological survey.4 (A chapter by Antony Stokes on the 17th century follows.)

I must conclude, however, with an expression of my gratitude to Professor Ingham for the flattering last few words of his review.

Edward L. Keenan
P.O. Box #99
Deer Isle, ME 04627 USA


1. Edward L. Keenan, Josef Dobrovský and the Origins of the Igor´ Tale (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, 2003). For Professor Ingham’s remarks, see Norman W. Ingham, “Historians and Textology,” Kritika 8, 4 (2007): 831–39, esp. 838–39.

2. Edward L. Keenan, “The Long-Awaited Book and the Bykovskii Hypothesis,” Kritika 8, 4 (2007): 817–30, esp. 822.

3. J. L. I. Fennell, “The ‘Slovo o polku Igoreve’: The Textological Triangle,” Oxford Slavonic Papers, n.s., 1 (1968): 126–37.

4. J. L. I. Fennell and Antony Stokes, Early Russian Literature (London: Faber and Faber, 1974).



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