You are here

‘The notes will be entertaining and not useless’. On the ‘Road comments’ by S. Usov

Научные исследования: 


For citation: Klyuchkovskaya L. ‘The notes will be entertaining and not useless’. On the ‘Road comments’ by S. Usov // Mediascope, 2021. 4. Available at:

DOI: 10.30547/mediascope.4.2021.4


 © Larisa A. Klyuchkovskaya

Senior lecturer at the Chair of History of Russian Literature and Journalism, Faculty of Journalism, Lomonosov Moscow State University (Moscow, Russia),



The article analyzes the little-known scientific and economic travelogue by S. Usov ‘Road comments’, published in 1843-1844 in ‘Posrednik, gazeta promyshlennosti, khozyaistva i realnykh nauk’ (Mediator, newspaper of industry, economy and real sciences – ed.)

The author of the travel notes, Stepan M. Usov (1797-1859), was a scientist in agriculture, professor at St. Petersburg University, member of the Imperial Free Economic Society, editor of the departmental newspaper ‘Zemledelcheskaya gazeta’ (Agricultural newspaper – ed.) (1834-1853), as well as an editor and publisher of his own newspaper ‘Posrednik’ (Mediator – ed.) (1840-1856). ‘Posrednik’ was a syncretic publication, which had features of digest, abstract scientific collection and universal economic newspaper.

The cycle ‘Road comments’, published in sixteen issues of ‘Posrednik’, is one of the most voluminous and interesting materials of the editor and publisher. In his travel notes, S. Usov (signed by IZD.) acquainted readers with impressions of his visit to 23 provinces of Western and Southern Russia in 1842.

The article considers the official history of the journey – business trip of S. Usov assigned by the Ministry of State Property. A detailed description of the documentary basis of the travel essay is provided, as well as its artistic features.

Special attention is paid to the diversity of the author’s strategy. The travelogue’s creator poses as a narrator, researcher, communicator, as well as an educator seeking his practical recommendations to affect the audience and the state of affairs in certain areas of agriculture. Thus, it can be declared that the Usov’s essay has both scientific-cognitive and utilitarian significance.

It is also emphasized in the article that ‘Road comments’ are a valuable historic and ethnographical source providing a panorama of the economic life in Russia in the early 1840-s and the rich local factual evidence]


Key words: scientific agricultural travelougue, S. Usov, 1840-s, authors’ strategies, newspaper ‘Posrednik’



Istoricheskiy vestnik [Historical bulletin] (1887) Vol. XXVIII. P. 195. (In Russian)

Khodnev A.I. (1865) Istoriya Imperatorskogo Vol'nogo ekonomicheskogo obshchestva s 1765 do 1865 goda [History of the Imperal Free Economic Society from 1765 to 1865] St. Petersburg: Tip. Tovarishchestva «Obshchestvennaya pol'za». P. 651. (In Russian)

Klyuchkovskaya L.A. (2016) Tridtsat' let s «Severnoy pcheloy». (S.M. Usov – avtor gazety F.V. Bulgarina i N.I. Grecha) [Thirty years with ‘Severnaya pchela’ (Northern bee – ed.). (S. Usov – an author in the newspaper of F. Bulgarin and N. Grecha)]. Mediascope 2. (In Russian) Available at:

Posrednik [Mediator]. 1843 No. 10. P. 74.

Posrednik [Mediator]. 1843. No. 10. P 75.

Posrednik [Mediator]. 1843. No. 10. P. 73.

Posrednik [Mediator]. 1843. No. 10. P. 74.

Posrednik [Mediator]. 1843. No. 15. P. 113.

Posrednik [Mediator]. 1843. No. 51. P. 401.

Posrednik [Mediator]. 1843. No. 51. P. 405.

Posrednik [Mediator]. 1844. No 48. P. 379.

Posrednik [Mediator]. 1844. No. 20. P. 156.

Posrednik [Mediator]. 1844. No. 20. P.158.

Posrednik [Mediator]. 1844. No. 25. P. 198.

Posrednik [Mediator]. 1844. No. 27. P. 209.

Posrednik [Mediator]. 1844. No. 32. P. 250.

Posrednik [Mediator]. 1844. No. 4. P. 26.

Posrednik [Mediator]. 1844. No. 4. P. 29.

Posrednik [Mediator]. 1844. No. 4. P. 29.

Posrednik [Mediator]. 1844. No. 4. Pp.25−26.

Posrednik [Mediator]. 1844. No. 45. P. 356.

Posrednik [Mediator]. 1844. No. 45. P.353.

Posrednik [Mediator]. 1844. No. 48. P. 379.

Posrednik [Mediator]. 1844. No. 48. P. 379.

Posrednik [Mediator]. 1844. No. 50. P. 393.

Posrednik [Mediator]. 1844. № 25. P. 199.

RGIA [RSHA (Russian State Historical Archive – ed.)]. F. 398. Op. 1. D. 1961.

Trudy Imperatorskogo vol'nogo ekonomicheskogo obshchestva [Works of the Imperial Free Economic Society]. 1843. Issue. 76. (In Russian)



Afiani V.Yu., Khoroshilova L.B. (1993) Poznanie Rossii (puteshestvie kak fakt kul'tury i istoricheskiy istochnik) [Comprehension of Russia (travelling as a fact of culture and a historical resource)]. Russkaya provintsiya. Kul'tura XVIII-XX vv.: sb. st. [Russian province. Culture of XVIII-XX cent.: collection of articles] Moscow. Pp. 120–124. (In Russian)

Bekasova A.V. (2010) Izuchenie Rossiyskoy imperii ekspeditsiyami 1760–1780 gg.: «vzglyad» estestvoispytateley i formirovanie predstavleniy o gosudarstvennykh bogatstvakh [Comprehension of the Russian Empire by the expeditions in 1760-1780: ‘view’ of natural scientists and formation of ideas of state wealth]. Istoriko-biologicheskie issledovaniya 2 (4): 13–34. (In Russian)

Gogol' N.V. (1985) Mertvye dushi. Vol. 2. Pozdneyshaya redaktsiya [Dead souls. Volume 2. The latest edition]. Sobr. soch. v 7 tt. [Collection of works in 7 vol.] Vol. V. Moscow. Khudozhestvennaya literatura. (In Russian)

Grech N.I. (1990) Zapiski o moej zhizni [Notes about my life]. Moscow: Kniga Publ. (In Russian)

Guminskij V.M. (2017) Russkaya literatura puteshestvij v mirovom istoriko-kul'turnom kontekste [Russian literature of travellings in the world historic and cultural context]. Moscow: IMLI RAN Publ. (In Russian)

Klyuchkovskaya L.A. (2012) Stepan Mikhaylovich Usov – redaktor «Zemledel'cheskoy gazety» (1834−1852) [Stepan Mikhailovich Usov – editor of ‘Zemledelcheskaya gazeta’ (Agricultural newspaper – ed.) (1834-1852)]. Moscow: Faculty of Journalism Moscow St. Univ. Publ. (In Russian)

Konstantinova N.V., Pecherskaya T.I. (eds.) (2016) Russkiy travelog XVIII-XX vekov: marshruty, toposy, zhanry i narrativy: kollektivnaya monografiya [Russian travelougue of XVIII-XX centuries: routs, toposes, genres and narratives: collective monograph]. Novosibirsk: NGPU Publ. (In Russian)

Kozlov S.A. (2003) Russkij puteshestvennik epohi Prosveshcheniya [Russian traveller of the Enlightment age]. In Kiryushchenko N.V. (ed.) St. Petersburg.: Istoricheskaya illyustraciya Publ. Vol. 1. Pp. 12–78. (In Russian)

Lyusyy A.P. (2003) Krymskiy tekst v russkoy literature [Crimean text in Russian literature]. St. Petersburg: Aleteya Publ. (In Russian)

Milyugina E.G., Stroganov M.V. (2016) Dokumental'nost' traveloga i sposoby obobshcheniya (po materialam Tverskogo Verhnevolzh'ya) [Documentality of travelogues and ways of generalisation (based on materials of Tver Upper Volga)]. Uchenye zapiski Kazanskogo universiteta. Seriya Gumanitarnye nauki 158 (1): 66–79. (In Russian)

Pecherskaya T.I (ed.) (2015) Russkiy travelog XVIII-XX vekov: kollektivnaya monografiya [Russian travelogue of XVIII-XX centuries: collective monograph]. Novosibirsk: NGPU Publ.

Pecherskaya T.I (ed.) (2018) Russkiy travelog XVIII-nachala XX vekov: annotirovannyy ukazatel' [Russian travelogue of XVIII – early XX centuries: annotated index]. Novosibirsk: Nemo Press Publ. (In Russian)