By Priscilla Meyer
Russian writers of the 19th century have been relatively consciously making a new nationwide literary culture. They observed themselves self-consciously via Western ecu eyes, instantaneously admiring Europe and feeling not so good as it. This ambivalence was once probably so much keenly felt on the subject of France, whose language and tradition had formed the area of the Russian aristocracy from the time of Catherine the Great.
In How the Russians learn the French, Priscilla Meyer exhibits how Mikhail Lermontov, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Lev Tolstoy engaged with French literature and tradition to outline their very own positions as Russian writers with particularly Russian aesthetic and ethical values. Rejecting French sensationalism and what they perceived as a scarcity of spirituality between Westerners, those 3 writers tried to create ethical and philosophical artworks that drew on resources deemed extra applicable to a Russian worldview, quite Pushkin and the Gospels. via shut readings of A Hero of Our Time, Crime and Punishment, and Anna Karenina, Meyer argues that every of those nice Russian authors takes the French culture as a thesis, proposes his personal antithesis, and creates in his novel a synthesis intended to foster a surely Russian nationwide culture, unfastened from imitation of Western models.
Winner, collage of Southern California booklet Prize in Literary and Cultural reports, American organization for the development of Slavic Studies.
“A concise yet authoritative account of the engagement among French and Russian tradition within the eighteenth and 19th centuries.”—Michael Holquist, Yale University
“Meyer’s elegantly written new research intertwines a deftly actual define of historic contexts, rigorous learn on literary subtexts, a valid exposition of the French ‘intertext,’ and insightful new readings of canonical Russian texts. This publication will end up important for someone attracted to nineteenth-century literary culture.”—William turbines Todd III, Harvard University
“[Meyer] excels in her exegeses through the cautious exam of many assets . . . . it is a gratifying read.”—Alex Moore, ForeWord