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“The Honest Mirror of Youth…” published

15 February 1717

4 (15) February 1717, by decree of Peter I was published the book "The Honest Mirror of Youth, or Indications for worldly manners, collected from various authors" - Russian literary and pedagogical monument of the early 18th century.

An associate of Peter, James Bruce, contributed a lot to the creation of the textbook being also in charge of its publishing. "The Mirror" was published in accordance with the spirit of Peter's reforms, when the basis of the typographic products was all sorts of guides and manuals.

The first part of the book contained alphabet, tables of syllables, figures and numbers, religious instructions. This alphabet was one of the first textbooks on teaching a new, civilian font and Arabic numerals writing instead of their Church Slavonic signs.

The second part of the book presented the rules of behavior for boys and girls of the nobility. They required from the young nobleman to be proud not of his nobility, but of the particular deeds for the benefit of the fatherland; he was also obliged to obey elders, "to learn from books," to know foreign languages, to be able to fence, dance, ride a horse and behave in society. Humility, respect for parents, hard work and taciturnity were recognized as a girl’s virtues.

The writing regulated almost all aspects of public life: from the rules of table manners to the public service. Among other things, were specified the rules of treating the servants, "Not be tolerated from a servant that he snapped, as the servants always want to have more rights than the lord: they should not be allowed for it. …Those who serve properly, the lord should tend and faithful and assist them in their affairs, protect and love them, and pay them properly and in time..."

The book formed a new pattern of behavior of a man of the world, avoiding bad companies, extravagance, drunkenness, rudeness and adhering to secular European style ("the gentleman to be piously humble, courteous and polite. For the pride brings little good and who does not have these three virtues cannot be successful”).

The book was published in the "pocket" format, so that it could be carried along all the time. "The Honest Mirror of Youth..." for many years had been a guide for the rules of etiquette and behavior in society. In 1717 the book was released twice, in 1719 it was published in the fourth edition, and had been reprinted several times until the end of the 19th century.

Lit.: Алфёров А. Грузинский А. Русская литература XVIII в. М., 1918; Богословский М. Русское общество и наука при Петре Великом. Л., 1926; Быкова Т. А., Гуревич М. М. Описание изданий гражданской печати 1708 — янв. 1725 г. М.; Л., 1955; Горецкий В. Г., Горецкий Г. В., Карпюк М. От азбуки Ивана Фёдорова до современного букваря. М., 1974; Князьков С. А. С. Петербург и санкт-петербургское общество при Петре Великом. СПб., 1914; Лотман Ю. М. Беседы по русской культуре: Быт и традиции русского дворянства (XVIII — начала XIX века). СПб., 1996; Пекарский П. П. Наука и литература в России при Петре Великом. Т. 2. СПб., 1862; Чёрная Л. А. Русская культура переходного периода от средневековья к новому времени. М., 1999.

From the Presidential library materials:

Юности честное зерцало или Показание к житейскому обхождению : Собранное из разных авторов повелением Его Императорского Величества Государя Петра Великаго блаженныя и вечнодостойныя памяти. - И ныне пятым тиснением напечатанное. - В СанктПетербурге : при Императорской Академии наук, 1767.