In this article, I discuss the ambitious Internet project The Fundamental Electronic Library of Russian Literature and Folklore (FEB), which was launched in 2002. In contrast to the Russian online libraries of the 1990s, which were based on social networking, the purpose of the FEB is to create a “cultivated,” scholarly library consisting of reliable digital editions of Russian classic literature. While its explicit programme is to present texts as “historical facts,” i.e., with philological and historical accuracy, and as virtually neutral sources of information, it turns out, however, that it is mainly oriented towards the traditional Russian literary canon, and thus embodies the normativity represented by this canon. Its historicist programme and alleged emphasis on the historical context are consequently undermined by its interest in canonicity, and such inherent contradictions have often led to misunderstandings among its users in the post-Soviet and post-totalitarian situation as to the historicity of its texts.

Language of contribution: English

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