Tale of Avraamy Palitsyn

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The Tale of Avraamy Palitsyn is one of the earliest, most popular and widely diffused (over 200 manuscript copies are known to exist) narratives about the Time of Troubles. Although the author was a monk, he took part in many important events of the period such as the negotiations with the Poles in 1610. He used eyewitness accounts and official documentation to compose the tale some time around 1617. The first six chapters, which some scholars attribute to another author, narrate the onset of the Troubles from the time of Ivan IV to the reign of Vasily I. Shuisky. The core of the tale (in chapters seven through fifty-two) is comprised of an epic, eyewitness description of the siege of the Trinity St. Sergius monastery between 16081610 by Polish forces. The last chapters are devoted to the liberation of Moscow, the process of electing Mikhail Fyodorovich Romanov, and the end of the conflict with the Poles. The text emphasizes the important role played by the Trinity monastery in stopping the Polish advance and organizing resistance. Avraamy also stresses the role he played in inspiring the liberation movement and assisting it with his deeds and prayers. The tale exists in several versions, but scholars disagree over the extent to which variations represent authorial interventions. Like other works of the period, the tale displays both stylistic and structural innovations. It has long been appreciated by scholars for its range of linguistic registers, use of direct speech, rhythmic prose, and rhetorical skill.

See also: ivan iv; romanov, mikhail fyodorovich; shuisky, vasily ivanovich; time of troubles; trinity st. sergius monastery

Brian Boeck