REPRESENTATION OF RUSSIAN ANTHROPONYMS IN THE OXFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF WOMEN IN WORLD HISTORY

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Abstract. Over several decades imagology has yielded a vast number of studies on the image of “the other”, or different countries and cultures foreign for the agent that explores them. The sources of such works are multiple: fiction, folklore, history, political studies data, etc. While almost all dictionaries, except for terminological ones, can be regarded as a treasury of cultural information, reference books are not among the thoroughly studied sources in imagology. Recently, however, a number of dictionaries and encyclopedias have been scrutinized with the objective to analyze the image of Russia, namely Russian precedent names in the Longman Dictionary of Language and Culture, the image of Russia in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, the concept “The War of 1812” in English and American encyclopaedias, and the image of Russia in the New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know. The present paper focuses on the Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History issued in 2008 in four volumes. According to the Introduction to the encyclopedia, the edition covers the role women played throughout world history. It includes over 650 biographies of influential women and 600 articles on related concepts. The objective of the present research is to study the choice and presentation of the Russian female anthroponyms defined in the Encyclopedia. Special attention is also given to the character of the lexical items used within the selected entries. The study revealed 40 anthroponyms that belong to women of Russia, which makes up 6% of the whole body of biographies. They are mainly devoted to women who are characterized by an active stance on social issues, with a proportion of them being committed to the feminist cause. Statistically, the most represented groups are women’s rights activists, rulers and nobility members, and literary workers. The Encyclopedia presents a highly positive appraisal of lives and careers of the women under consideration while putting emphasis on some adverse conditions that they were forced to face in their lifetime in Russia.

Keywords: Imagology, Russia, history of women, axiological vocabulary, image

Elena A. Barsukova

Lomonosov Moscow State University
Moscow, Russia
e-mail: tbarsukova@rambler.ru

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