Department (previously Group) of the study of Russian literature of the XVIII century at the Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkinskij Dom) exists since 1934 (the first organizational meeting was held on February 20, 1934). It was founded by academician A. S. Orlov, professors P. N. Berkov and G. A. Gukovskij. Researches from different academic institutions of Leningrad (Petersburg), Moscow and other cities, post-graduate and undergraduate students contributed to the activities of the Group. Since 1934 regular meetings of the Group have been held for the discussion of reports and papers devoted to the history of Russian literature of the XVIII century. These materials were published in the collections “XVIII century”, that have been being issued since 1935 and have become a serial publication that gained scholarly recognition both in Russia and abroad. The activities of the Group, terminated by the II World War, were renewed in 1955 by the initiative of professor P. N. Berkov, and on a larger scale. More attention was given to the study of the international links of Russian literature of the XVIII c. The Group held a number of conferences, the materials of which were published in the series “XVin century” and in separate editions: “Problemy russkogo Prosveschenija v Literature XVIII veka” (Problems of Russian Enlightenment in the XVin century Literature) (1961); “Russkaja literatura XVIII veka i slavjanskie literatury” (Russian Literature of the XVIII c. and Slavic Literatures) (1963) and other. Professor Berkov acted as an editor of the volume of “Istoria russkoj literatury XVIII veka: Bibliographicheskij ukazatel” (History of the Russian Literature of the XVIII century: Bibliography), compiled by V. P. Stepanov and Yu.V. Stennik (1968). Since 1969 at the head of the Group was professor G. P. Makogonenko, since 1978 - professor (academician) A. M. Panchenko, since 1988 - Dr. N. D. Kochetkova.
By now 22 issues of the “XVIII century” collection have been published; number 23 is currently in print. They contain scholarly research works and reports, new texts and bibliographical materials. Collections 10 (1975) and 20 (1996) include indexes of articles from the Department's publications. Among the non-serial publications the most important are the following: “Pis’ma russkih pisatelej XVIII veka” (Letters of Russian Writers of the XVIII century) (1980) and “Slovar’ russkih pisatelej XVIII veka” (Dictionary of Russian Writers of the XVIII century. Vol. 1, A-1,1988 is represented on the site); Vol. 2, K-P, 1999). The Department research workers have published a number of monographic studies: “Istorija russkoj zhurnalistiki XVIII” (History of Russian Journalism of the XVIII century) (1952) and “Istorija russkoj komedii” (History of Russian Comedy) (1977) by P. N. Berkov; “Poeticheskij stil’ Lomonosova” (Poetic Style of Lomonosov) (1966) and “Russkij klassitsism: Poezija. Drama. Satira" (Russian Classicism: Poetry. Drama. Satire) (1973) by I. Z. Serman; “Lomonosov i drevnerusskaja literature” (Lomonosov and the Old Russian Literature) (1971) and “Drevnerusskaja literatura v hudozhestvennom soznanii i istoricheskoj mysli Rossii XVIII veka” (The Old Russian Literature in the Artistic Consciousness and Historic Thought of the XVIII century Russia) (1980) by G. N. Moiseeva; “Russkaja kul’tura v kanun petrovskih reform” (Russian Culture on the Eve of Peter the Great’s Reforms) (1984) by A.M. Panchenko; “Literatura russkogo sentimentalizma (Esteticheskie i hudozhestvennie iskanija)” (Literature of Russian Sentimentalism (Aesthetic and Articstic Quests)) (1994) by N. D. Kochetkova, “Pols’kaja poezija v russkih perevodah (XVII-XVIII vv.)” (Polish Poetry in Russian Translations (XVII-XVIII cc.)) (1989) and “Literaturnja kul’tura petrovskoj epohi” (Literary Culture of the Epoch of Peter the Great) (1996) by S. I. Nikolaev and other.
The Department of the study of the XVIII Russian Literature continues to strengthen links with researches from different cities of Russia and the Union of Independent States (Moscow, Minsk, Novosibirsk, Pskov, Tomsk, Ul’ianovsk, Kharkov, Cherepovets and other) and recently have initiated fruitful collaboration with Slavists from other countries (England, Germany, Holland, Italy, Poland, USA, Japan). The Department actively participates in the activities of Russian and International Societies for the Study of the XVIII century.
Conferences organized by the Department have attracted attention of the major Russian and foreign specialists, among them were: “Enlightenment and the Problems of History in Russian Literature of the XVIII century” (1974), “Results and Problems of the Study of the XVII century Russian Literature” (1985, the conference was held to mark the Department’s fiftieth anniversary); “Reading in Memory of P. Berkov. Russian Literature of the XVIII Century in National and International Context” (1996) and other. The Department follows the tradition to commemorate notable dates associated with the names of scholars who collaborated with the Department (P. N. Berkov, G. A. Gukovskij, Yu. M. Lotman, G. P. Makogonenko) and major writers of the XVIII century. In 2000-ies Pushkinskij Dom in association with St. Petersburg Scientific Center within the framework of the program “Petersburg in European Space of Science and Culture” in commemoration of the city’s 300 anniversary have held three symposiums: in 2001 – “N. A. Lvov and His Contemporaries: Men of Letters and of Art” (collection of articles with the same title was published in 2002); in 2002 – “A. N. Radischev: Russian and European Enlightenment”; in 2003 – “Vasilij Kirillovich Trediakovskij: in commemoration of 300 anniversary of his birth” (materials of the last two collections are now in print).
Throughout all the period of the Department’s existence its research fellows have kept close links with Universities: they read lectures, held seminars at Leningrad (St. Petersburg) University and other higher educational establishments of St. Petersburg and also participated in various conferences and gave lectures abroad.