The article studies the reasons for the appearance of the first prosaic translation of the excerpt from «Metamorphoses» by Ovid in the March issue of the magazine «Hard-Working Bee». The «Hard-Working Bee» is a new type of monthly periodical press for the XVIII century.
This is a private journal, its editorial policy did not depend on the government or the Academic office. Sumarokov published it as a private enterprise for one year, from January to December 1759. March book of «Hard-Working Bee» is, like the previous two, a collection of texts of different genre nature. Prose and poetry, original works and translations were published there. Neither the translation repertoire, nor the language of the source, nor the genre, nor the personality of the translators can give even a hint at the reason for the appearance of specific texts in the early January, February and March issues of the «Hard-Working Bee».
In the article, the generally accepted interpretation of the Sumarokov journal’s appeal to the ancient texts as following the tradition of academic journalism or the General cultural context of secularization is questioned. Three probable reasons for the appearance of this passage in the March issue of the «Hard-Working Bee» are considered. One of them is the Masonic orientation of Sumarokov’s magazine. The second is criticism of domestic and foreign policy of Empress Elizabeth and her entourage. The third is the literary war declared by Sumarokov against Lomonosov on the pages of the magazine. The translation of the passage, made by the student Kramarenkov, became the semantic core of the whole March issue of the «Hard-Working Bee», and the myth of the Phaeton turned into a key element of the mythology of early Russian Freemasonry.

About the authors

A. V. Rastyagaev

Samara branch of Moscow Сity University

Author for correspondence.
Email: morenov@ssau.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7045-4310

Doctor of Philological Sciences, professor, head of the Department of Philology and Mass Communications

Yu. V. Slozhenikina

Samara branch of Moscow Сity University

Email: morenov@ssau.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1381-6992

Doctor of Philological Sciences, professor of the Department of Philology and Mass Communications


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