Доктор исторических наук, профессор этнологического факультета Европейского университета в Санкт-Петербурге, ведущий научный сотрудник Музея антропологии и этнологии им. Петра Великого Российской Академии Наук (Кунсткамера). Родился 5-го сентября 1947 в г. Ейске. Выпускник филологического факультета Тартуского государственного университета (ученик Ю. М. Лотмана). Кандидатская диссертация посвящена теме жилища в восточнославянской культуре (см. также «Жилище в обрядах и представлениях восточных славян» Л., 1983). Докторскую диссертацию на тему «Семиотические аспекты функционирования традиционной культуры восточных славян» защитил в 1995 г. Автор более 200 научных работ, включая «Ритуал в традиционной культуре» (СПб., 1993), Полузабытые слова и значения. Словарь русской культуры XVIII-XIX вв. (СПб., 2004) (составитель, вместе с Беловинским Л., Контом Ф.) Почетный доктор наук Сорбонны, часто стажировал за границей (в том числе в Сорбонне, в Оксфордском университете) и выступал на международных конференциях, семинарах и симпозиумах.


Born 5 September, 1947, Yeisk, Russian Federation. M. Natalya Abramovna Baiburina; 2 d. Educated University of Tartu (diploma, 1972). Academic Appointments: Junior Researcher, Institute of Ethnography, Russian Academy of Sciences (now known as the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, Russian Academy of Sciences), 1973-; Leading Researcher, 1991-. First Dean of the Ethnology Faculty, European University of St Petersburg, 1994-; currently Professor, Faculty of Ethnology. Prizes and Distinctions: President’s Prize for Research, 2001; British Academy Visiting Professor, University of Oxford, 2003; Doctor honoris causa, University of Paris-IV (Sorbonne), 2004. Publications: The Dwelling House in East Slavonic Culture (1983); Ritual in Traditional Culture (1993); over two hundred other edited books, articles, essays and reviews. Editorships: General Editor, Antropologicheskii forum/Forum for Anthropology and Culture, 2004-; member of Editorial Board, Ethnologica Europea, etc. Recreations: reading, fishing, solitude. 

Молодых филологов…

Once upon a time (1972 – i.e. 35 years ago!) in a very exclusive book (Quinquagenario …a small collective volume in honour of Yury Lotman’s 50th anniversary) two “young philologists” published a joint article giving a structural comparison of folk tales and weddings. It was one of the very first scholarly papers (jointly authored with Georgiy Levinton, or indeed as first author, thanks to alphabetical order) of Albert Baiburin, sixty years young today. The green cloth cover of the book was decorated by a Latin word and an arabesque rising from the letter N on the top, and from the letter A below.

“Tartu State University” issued the book, but from the paper itself was clear that the young Tartu philologists were in fact Leningrad folklorists from the school of Propp and Meletinsky. They regularly participated in the “Tartu” (in fact Kääriku) Summer Schools of semiotics, and thus belonged to the second wave of Soviet folklore semiotics.

From about 1962, Soviet structuralism became more and more significant with every passing year. But by the end of the sixties its élan vital was more and more restricted.

The next picture of my home movie shows Leningrad, where later the same two young philologists were creating a “new ethnography”, though without holding official posts at the time. And mostly working by night, since neither had much use for the hours around sunrise. Building sacrifice was then the topic of Baiburin, who was turning his interest more and more to the ritual and custom of East Slavs. He lectured at Leningrad State University, and built up good contacts with the ethnographers of the Kunstkamera Museum, an institution that was the lasting pride of the true friends of the glorious past of ethnography in Russia.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, it was the immediate task of the “second wave” generation to find a new forum for modern researches into culture. Baiburin was instrumental (being its first Dean) in shaping the Faculty of Ethnography and folklore at the European University, in fact a university of cultural studies (as the new journal Kulturologia has demonstrated). It was clearly observable how the previous years had in any case brought into being a “new” ethnography, combining semiotics with cultural studies. So the scholars could simply continue their already established methods.

Everybody who had the privilege to visit the Faculty will remember how dirty and desperate was the look of the building from outside. But the inside was gorgeous! White and gold rooms, but at the same time “old Russian” style cakes-and-tea-party discussions. Servants’ staircases and huge mirrors, bookshelves and computers everywhere! By the way, then the name of the city was again Sankt-Peterburg!

After all those changes, Baiburin remained the same person. I do not think there is in any of his publications (starting from the early 70ies) a single sentence that needs rewriting. On the contrary, they represent the work of an ever-thinking scholar, who has returned to his favourite topics at several occasions.

Hungarians appeared early on Baiburin’s horizon. He was not only publishing in our organs in world languages, but his seminal paper A kultúra szemiotikája  (the title does not need translation, I think) was translated into Hungarian too, a clear sign of an inner friendship: (See the journal Jel – kép. IX (1988) 3: 129-138. The title of the journal is a pun. Jel is “sign” andkép is “picture”, but jelkép in one word means “symbol”.) From that paper Hungarian colleagues usually quote Baiburin’s thesis that no culture will survive only with one language. At least two forms, verbal and pictorial must exist, for conducting the ever-growing load of information information.

Following Albert Baiburin’s good advice I sum up my best birthday wishes in two languages: long live the „young philologist” – молодец!

Vilmos Voigt – Budapest