Breaking Ground: Travel and National Culture in Russia from Peter I to the Era of Pushkin - Studies in Slavic Literature and Poetics 45 (Paperback)Sara Dickinson (author)
Paperback 291 Pages / Published: 01/01/2006
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Breaking Ground examines travel writing's contribution to the development of a Russian national culture from roughly 1700 to 1850, as Russia struggled to define itself against Western Europe. Russian examples of literary travel writing began with imitative descriptions of grand tours abroad, but progressive familiarity with the West and with its literary forms gradually enabled writers to find other ways of describing the experiences of Russians en route. Blending foreign and native cultural influences, writers responded to the pressures of the age-to Catherine II, Napoleon, and Nicholas I, for example-both by turning "inward" to focus on domestic touring and by rewriting their relationship to the West. This book tracks the evolution of literary travel writing in this period of its unprecedented popularity and demonstrates how the expression of national identity, the discovery of a national culture, and conceptions of place-both Russian and Western European-were among its primary achievements. These elements also constitute travel writing's chief legacy to prose fiction, "breaking ground" for the later masterpieces of writers such as Turgenev, Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy. For literary scholars, historians, and other educated readers with interests in Russian culture, travel writing, comparative literature, and national identity.
Number of pages: 291
Weight: 463 g
Dimensions: 220 x 150 x 16 mm
"...this eminently readable study enriches our understanding of a seminal period of Russia's culture, one that arguabley laid the groundfor her modern identity." - in: The Russian Review 66/1 (January 2007) "A fully mature and original book that may be read for pleasure and enlightenment by literary scholars and historians alike. It accounts for the rise of travel literature as a genre and the concomitant rise of cultural and national self-consciousness, and it puts this national self-consciousness in European literary and historical perspective." - Professor William Mills Todd III, Harvard University "Russia has always had plenty of space, and in this wonderfully interesting narrative of case studies and literary-historical watersheds, Dickinson shows how Russia found a national voice by moving away from, toward, and around that space. A new and more mobile look at European Romanticism." - Professor Caryl Emerson, Princeton University "The fascinating story of how educated Russians in the process of traveling increasingly come to terms with their own cultural identity; a `Bildungsreise' of the Russian mind." - Professor Emeritus Joachim Klein, University of Leiden "A truly refreshing and enlightened study that goes well into the heart of Russian national consciousness. Dickinson uncovers major facets of early modern Russian cultural history with energetic strokes, demonstrating both elegance of mind and attention to detail." - Professor Alexander Levitsky, Brown University
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