John Lister Illingworth Fennell

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John Lister Illingworth Fennell (30 May 1918- 9 August 1992) was a British historian of medieval Russian history and of Russian literature. He taught at Cambridge, Nottingham, and London universities, and from 1964 at Oxford, where he was a fellow first at University College, and later at New College. He retired in 1985. His specialty was as a historian, translator, philologist, editor, and teacher of advanced students.

His specialty was the era of Ivan III and 15th century Russia. In evaluating the overall significance of Ivan the Great, Fennell concludes that his reign was "militarily glorious and economically sound," and especially points to his territorial annexations and his centralized control over local rulers. However Fennell adds that his reign was also "a period of cultural depression and spiritual barrenness. Freedom was stamped out within the Russian lands. By his bigoted anti-Catholicism Ivan brought down the curtain between Russia and the west. For the sake of territorial aggrandizement he deprived his country of the fruits of Western learning and civilization."[1]

Dimnick says of Fennell, "His achievements are unrivaled in the West, and almost so in the Soviet Union and Russia".[2]


  • J.L.I. Fennell, M.A., PH.D. (1955). The Correspondence Between Prince A.M. Kurbsky and Tsar Ivan IV of Russia, 1564-1579. Oxford University Press.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  • John Lister Illingworth Fennell (1959). Ivan the Great of Moscow. Macmillan.
  • John Lister Illingworth Fennell, editor, Prince A. M. Kurbsky's History of Ivan IV (Cambridge, 1965)
  • John Lister Illingworth Fennell (1968). The emergence of Moscow, 1304-1359. U. of California Press.
  • John Lister Illingworth Fennell; Boris Ottokar Unbegaun (1968). The Ermolinskij Chronicle and the Literary Prelude to "The Tale of the Murder of Mixail of Tver". New York University Press.
  • John Lister Illingworth Fennell; Antony Stokes (1974). Early Russian literature. U. of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-02343-7.
  • John Lister Illingworth Fennell (1976). Nineteenth Century Russian Literature: Studies of Ten Russian Writers. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-03203-3.
  • John Lister Illingworth Fennell (1981). Textology as a Key to the Study of Old Russian Literature and History. Ams Press.
  • John Lister Illingworth Fennell (1983). The crisis of medieval Russia, 1200-1304. Longman. ISBN 978-0-582-48150-3.
  • John Lister Illingworth Fennell (1995). A History of the Russian Church to 1448. Longman. ISBN 978-2-07-037805-0.


  1. ^ J. L. I. Fennell, Ivan the Great of Moscow (1961) p 354
  2. ^ M. Dimnik, "John Fennell's Contribution to Slavonic Studies," Oxford Slavonic Papers (1994), Vol. 27, pp 1-22.

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