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Josef Dobrovský and the Origins of the Igorʹ Tale

Josef Dobrovský and the Origins of the Igorʹ Tale

Edward L. Keenan

ISBN 9780916458966

Publication date: 03/08/2004

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.

Book Details

  • 576 pages
  • Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute