This controversial and groundbreaking book revisits the origins of one of the most beloved works of East Slavic literature, the Slovo o polku Igoreve (The Igorʹ Tale). Edward Keenan delves into the history of the publication of the Tale and produces a meticulous analysis of its language in order to demonstrate that the text is not an authentic twelfth-century document. Rather, Keenan argues that it is a product of the late eighteenth century, created by the Bohemian scholar Josef Dobrovský. Keenan’s thought-provoking insights into the creation and publication of the Tale will spark scholarly debate for many years.
Edward L. Keenan was Andrew W. Mellon Professor of History at Harvard University and Director (1998–2007) of the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection.