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By Priscilla Meyer

Russian writers of the 19th century have been really consciously making a new nationwide literary culture. They observed themselves self-consciously via Western ecu eyes, instantly admiring Europe and feeling not as good as it. This ambivalence used to be might be such a lot keenly felt on the subject of France, whose language and tradition had formed the realm of the Russian aristocracy from the time of Catherine the Great.
            In How the Russians learn the French, Priscilla Meyer indicates how Mikhail Lermontov, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Lev Tolstoy engaged with French literature and tradition to outline their very own positions as Russian writers with in particular 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 appropriate to a Russian worldview, really 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 certainly Russian nationwide culture, unfastened from imitation of Western models.
 
Winner, college of Southern California publication Prize in Literary and Cultural reports, American organization for the development of Slavic Studies

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Forty “The Flood at Nantes” may be learn a minimum of because the foundation for a sour comparability to the placement in Russia, during which the yank captain embodies person freedom and the self-respect that Pushkin thought of attributes of an awesome member of the Russian aristocracy. along with the thematic issues of touch among the 2 poems—the flood, the affection tale, the revolution—there are suggestive stylistic From Poetry to Prose 25 correspondences. the yank captain passes during the humble and chaotic dwellings of the bad a part of Nantes—a “sad, depressing scene”—and reaches the inventory alternate: “This used to be now not the attractive construction of which Nantes is proud this day, yet a wood barracks of pitiful point. ”41 prior poverty and illness is changed by means of current attractiveness, as in Pushkin’s advent. What of the basic point of The Bronze Horseman, the statue’s pursuit of Evgeny? Pushkin’s assets for the lively statue were present in Molière’s Commendatore, Washington Irving or even Lemercier. forty two yet Evgeny is obviously now not Don Juan; his insanity doesn't derive from these resources. there was a few war of words over what accurately drives Evgeny mad—the lack of Parasha, the flood itself, or his helplessness earlier than the omnipotent Peter, yet basically it's whilst he discovers that Parasha’s condo has been swept away that he is going mad: zakhokhotal (“he burst out laughing”). forty three His irritating adventure leads him to hallucinate his pursuit via the statue. there's a parallel second on the finish of “The Flood at Nantes. ” even though it is used easily for one of those lyrical closure instead of as a thematic line, the hero reexperiences his experience in a short hallucination: The Captain is hastening again to his send on the way to set sail at excessive tide after rescuing Hélène. “Arriving sooner than where of the smash, he stops, his center beats violently. . . . A trick of his mind's eye provides to him the younger lady nonetheless put on that wobbling beam whence he had got rid of her. This obscure ethereal shape, this faded and gracious face that he had in basic terms controlled to glimpse, appeared at this second to lean in the direction of him, to implore his aid. He extends his hands, crosses them on his chest, as though he have been back clasping the captivating being he thinks he sees. ”44 however the captain is sane, and the journey was once winning; he involves himself. “Sweet and harsh mirage, he says, should still I worry or wish to see you reappear? ” The mirage comprises numerous components of Evgeny’s insanity: Evgeny’s problem to the Horseman pertains to the captain’s function within the American Revolution. The captain hallucinates Hélène imperiled through the flood presently after rescuing her, yet Evgeny’s hallucination comes a 12 months after Parasha’s disappearance within the flood, 1825, which in actual fact relates Evgeny’s problem to the Decembrist rebellion. forty five Pushkin endows the occasions of December in addition to of the flood with a Shakespearean historic viewpoint via having Evgeny hint Parasha’s destiny to its resource in Peter and implicitly evaluating that clash with these of alternative international locations.

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