How the Russians Read the French: Lermontov, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy

How the Russians Read the French: Lermontov, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy

by Priscilla Meyer
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Russian writers of the nineteenth century were quite consciously creating a new national literary tradition. They saw themselves self-consciously through Western European eyes, at once admiring Europe and feeling inferior to it. This ambivalence was perhaps most keenly felt in relation to France, whose language and culture had shaped the world of the Russian

Overview

Russian writers of the nineteenth century were quite consciously creating a new national literary tradition. They saw themselves self-consciously through Western European eyes, at once admiring Europe and feeling inferior to it. This ambivalence was perhaps most keenly felt in relation to France, whose language and culture had shaped the world of the Russian aristocracy from the time of Catherine the Great.             In How the Russians Read the French, Priscilla Meyer shows how Mikhail Lermontov, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Lev Tolstoy engaged with French literature and culture to define their own positions as Russian writers with specifically Russian aesthetic and moral values. Rejecting French sensationalism and what they perceived as a lack of spirituality among Westerners, these three writers attempted to create moral and philosophical works of art that drew on sources deemed more acceptable to a Russian worldview, particularly Pushkin and the Gospels. Through close readings of A Hero of Our Time, Crime and Punishment, and Anna Karenina, Meyer argues that each of these great Russian authors takes the French tradition as a thesis, proposes his own antithesis, and creates in his novel a synthesis meant to foster a genuinely Russian national tradition, free from imitation of Western models.   Winner, University of Southern California Book Prize in Literary and Cultural Studies, American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“A concise but authoritative account of the engagement between French and Russian culture in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.”—Michael Holquist, Yale University

“Meyer’s elegantly written new study intertwines a deftly accurate outline of historical contexts, rigorous research on literary subtexts, a sound exposition of the French ‘intertext,’ and insightful new readings of canonical Russian texts. This book will prove invaluable for anyone interested in nineteenth-century literary culture.”—William Mills Todd III, Harvard University

“[Meyer] excels in her exegeses by the careful examination of many sources . . . . This is a satisfying read.”—Alex Moore, ForeWord

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780299229337
Publisher:
University of Wisconsin Press
Publication date:
05/27/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
296
File size:
1 MB

Meet the Author

Priscilla Meyer is professor of Russian at Wesleyan University and the author of Find What the Sailor Has Hidden: Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >