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самобытность - Russian Word of the Day

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Февраль 24, 2005

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08:54 am - самобытность
This word was mentioned in a book I'm reading: самобытность, which means "originality" or "individuality". Here's what the book had to say:
Even in the early nineteenth century, when poets such as Pushkin tried to break away from the foreign hold on the language by inventing Russian words, they need to explain these to their salon audience. Hence in his story 'The Peasant Girl', Pushkin had to clarify the meaning of the Russian word 'samobytnost'' by adding in parenthesis its French equivalent, 'individualite'.

-Orlando Figes, Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia, p. 51
It doesn't say that the word was invented by Pushkin, but it seems to be implying it--or at least that it was a recent invention used by Pushkin. Does anyone know?

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Date:Февраль 24, 2005 03:45 pm
Interesting word! I have no idea whether it was contrived for the sake of literature, or what.

Literally, самобытность looks like "selfbeingness" ;)

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