Slovar’ knizhnikov i knizhnosti Drevnei Rusi. Vyp. 4. Ukazateli. S.-Peterburg: “Dmitrii Bulanin”, 2017. 896 pp. ISBN 3-02-027977-3. ISBN 978-5-86007-833-8 (vyp. 4).
With this, the ninth volume and several thousand pages later, one of the most valuable reference works we have, inaugurated back in 1987, seems to have been completed. Or has it? (See below.) Of course I need not elaborate on the contents of the whole, as I have to imagine most readers of this list have had occasion to consult it. Certainly it is the first place I now turn if I need information about an author or work of literature produced in or circulated in pre-modern Rus’. Over the years the Slovar’ has moved down through the 17th century in coverage and has included various supplements not only to fill in things that were missed earlier but also to add the ever-expanding new scholarship and editions. As a reminder, we have Vyp. 1 for the 11th-first half of the 14th century; vyp. 2, now in three parts, for the second half of the 14th century through the 16th century; vyp. 3 in four parts for the 17th century; and finally, vyp. 4, the current index volume.
The first three volumes are already available in re-formatted and easily accessible electronic form on the website of Pushkinskii dom http://lib.pushkinskijdom.ru/Default.aspx?tabid=2048. All but the last most recent volume (vyp. 2, ch. 3) and the current vyp. 4 can be downloaded in pdf format from “Biblioteka cheloveka metamoderna” https://vk.com/wall-67308657_2647. One assumes that digitizing what has not yet been included will eventually make the entire content freely accessible on-line, at least on the first of these sites.
The current volume contains several indexes: personal names (listing both authors of the historic texts and scholars who have written about them and are cited in the entries); titles of the historic texts (both those found in them and those assigned to them) ; shelf numbers of manuscripts cited; incipits; and authors of the entries in the Slovar’. In the index of names, one notes that for many of the non-Russians, where one might first go to the Romanization of their names, one then is directed to look instead under the Russian transcriptions in order to find the page references. Hence, to cite one example close to my heart, details for Waugh are to be found under Uo in Cyrillic.
This volume also includes (pp. 446-482) a section entitled “Kommentarii k ‘Ukazateliu imen’,” which is, more or less, yet the latest supplement to what was published in the earlier volumes. I say more or less, because the introduction to these “commentaries” makes it clear the entries which follow, arranged alphabetically by name of the author of the early text, are merely for correction and indicating some really important studies or publications not cited earlier, but should not be taken to represent a full attempt at updating all that had gone before.
Of course as one realizes, what this tells us is the obvious, that just as we thought we had reached the top of the beanstalk, it is continuing to grow and we still can’t quite see the top of the head of the Jolly Green Giant. Bibliographies and their relatives by and large can never be complete, unless they relate to a totally dead subject. Thank goodness that is not the case in our “field”. Blessings upon those who over the years have invested so much labor in giving us this magnificent Slovar’, even as what it has accomplished so well is always going to need to be updated until the last Early Slavist is in his/her grave or drowned in the rising seas from the melting of the polar ice.