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A People Passing Rude

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Anthony Cross

1. By Way of Introduction: British Perception, Reception and Recognition of Russian Culture*

Anthony Cross

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  • * The essays in this collection, now revised, expanded and annotated, were first presented as contri (...)

1Over 450 years have elapsed since the English navigator Richard Chancellor arrived by chance in the White Sea and made his way to the Moscow of Ivan the Terrible. It was a ‘discovery’ that eventually would lead to the establishment of commercial, political and cultural relations between Great Britain and Russia that provide a fascinating history of political estrangement and reconciliation and cultural rejection and acceptance.

2Much has been written both about English influences on Russian life and culture—that were much in evidence from the time of Peter the Great and were particularly apparent in the reign of Alexander I—and about the reverse process that was slower to manifest itself but gained momentum after the Crimean War, leading to the ‘Russian Fever’ that over the years 1890-1930 developed, peaked and ebbed away, to be replaced by the challenge of the Soviet Union. There is always much more to be researched and written.

3The present collection offers a wide chronological perspective on British responses to Russian culture from the 18th century to the present day, encompassing major areas of cultural life from literature and theatre to art, music and cinema. The overall theme allowed contributors to fill lacunae in the existing literature or re-visit subjects already seemingly explored. Not unexpectedly the weight of the volume is on literary topics, but there are important contributions in the field of art, and not least of exhibitions that brought the work of Russian artists, collectively or individually, before the British public, and of music. While contributions to British awareness of the political and scientific culture of Russia are absent from this volume, the significance of the Russian church is testified in a study of British perceptions of icons and in the contribution devoted to ‘Holy Russia’, as perceived and propagandized by a leading English author of the beginning of the 20th century.

4Of course Russian culture is infinitely greater than the sum of the particular parts here presented and there is no pretension to offer a comprehensive treatment of the subject. Nonetheless these contributions add significantly to the store of material on the basis of which, one hopes, one day will be written an authoritative and definitive history of British reception and perception of Russian culture.

5The contributions to his volume are presented in roughly chronological order to afford the reader some awareness of growing British exposure to various aspects of Russian culture, although some essays concentrate on a single episode or event strictly located in time, while the time span of others is over decades or even centuries. In this introduction I have attempted to provide in some detail a survey of the ‘early’ period of Anglo-Russian intercourse, up the end of the reign of Alexander I (1825), and then to offer a context in which to site the bulk of the studies in the collection that belong to the 19th and early 20th centuries. My emphasis is on British awareness of Russian literary, artistic and musical culture projected, however succinctly, against important historical and political events.

6More than three centuries were to pass before Russian culture, broadly understood, achieved wide recognition in Britain, both for its distinctive nature and for the significant contribution and enrichment that it was seen to bring to western literary and artistic endeavours. Along the long road that led from the 16th century to the last decades of the 19th there were many individuals who in works of history and travels and in articles in journals attempted to acquaint the reading public with notable aspects of Russian culture. There were also events, mainly political and military, that focused public attention on Russia and heightened interest in its people and their customs, traditions and history. Traditional stereotypes and hardened prejudices, particularly with regard to nations, are, however, hard to eradicate and negative British perceptions of Russia were no exception.

  • 1 Lloyd E. Berry and Robert O. Crummey (eds.), Rude & Barbarous Kingdom: Russia in the Accounts of S (...)
  • 2 Ibid., p. 228.
  • 3 There is an abundant literature on this fascinating period of Anglo-Russian relations. See, e.g. M (...)
  • 4 John Milton, A Brief History of Muscovia: and of other less-known Countries lying eastward of Russ (...)

7Among the earliest and most influential Elizabethan accounts of Russia were those collected and published by Richard Hakluyt in two editions at the end of the 16th century, but two other publications, appearing before Hakluyt but then included by him in emasculated form, were influential in establishing a largely negative perception of Russia that extended way beyond intense cold and ubiquitous bears to religious obscurantism, tyrannical rule, and almost wilful ignorance. The poet George Turbervile, secretary to Sir Thomas Randolph during his embassy to Muscovy in 1568, penned poetic epistles to London friends with damning pictures of ‘a people passing rude to vices vile inclin’d’ that were published for the first time in 1587,1 some four years before the appearance of the scholarly Giles Fletcher’s much more widely known and influential Of the Russe Commonwealth, a country he had observed at close quarters as Elizabeth’s ambassador in 1588-9. If he could pronounce that the Russian clergy, ‘being ignorant and godless themselves, are very wary to keep the people likewise in their ignorance and blindness’,2 few would doubt the rightness of his judgment, even in a period when English society was much taken with things Muscovite, as the plays and poems of Shakespeare and his fellows eloquently illustrate.3 The views he elaborated were embraced and emphasized in a 17th-century England that saw relations with Muscovy at a low ebb, particularly following the execution of Charles I: in 1682 John Milton in his Brief History of Muscovia, a compilation based on 16th-century accounts, echoed Fletcher in suggesting that the Russians ‘have no learning, nor will suffer it to be among them’ and Samuel Collins with the authority and expertise of several years as physician to Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich opined that they were ‘wholly devoted to their own Ignorance ‘ and ‘looked upon Learning as a Monster, and feared it no less than a ship of Wildfire’.4

  • 5 J[odocus] C[rull], The Antient and Present State of Muscovy, containing a Geographical, Historical (...)

8At the end of the century, as England anticipated with excitement the visit of Petr Mikhailov, aka Peter the Great (however camouflaged and officially underplayed), Jodocus Crull, author of The Antient and Present State of Muscovy, contrasted the prevailing view of a country, where ‘the Discouragement of Learning and Sciences, their Knowledge, even of the Priests themselves, not reaching beyond Reading and Writing their own Language’, with his as yet unsubstantiated hopes in ‘a most Genuine and Active Prince’, who would learn from his travels and bring to his people the fruits of wise laws and just rule.5 Peter, the bringer of enlightenment to his ‘frozen’ country, the earnest disciple of all that was best in Europe, mostly to be found, of course, in England, was to be the dominant image down the 18th century, summed up succinctly, if far from uniquely, in the lines that James Thomson added to his 1744 revised edition of ‘Winter’ from The Seasons:

Immortal Peter! First of Monarchs! He
His stubborn Country tam’d, her Rocks, her Fens,
Her Floods, her Seas, her ill-submitting Sons;
And while the fierce Barbarian he subdu’d, To more exalted soul he rais’d the Man.

9Indeed, Thomson suggests, the Russia as perceived by Turbervile, Fletcher, Milton, Collins and Crull was a thing of the past:

  • 6 James Thomson, The Seasons and the Castle of Indolence (London, 1849), p. 196.

Sloth flies the Land, and Ignorance, and Vice,
Of old Dishonour proud: it glows around,
Taught by the Royal Hand that rous’d the whole.
One scene of Arts, of Arms, of rising Trade:
For what his Wisdom plann’d, and Power enforc’d,
More potent still, his great Example shew’d.6

  • 7 For the fortunes of Peter in Britain during the 18th century, see my Peter the Great through Briti (...)
  • 8 See my ‘British Awareness of Russian Culture (1698-1801)’, Canadian Slavic Studies, XIII (1979), p (...)

10Others, both during Peter’s lifetime and during succeeding reigns, were not so sure, although the tide of opinion down the century, bolstered by panegyrical poems, plays, biographies and histories, flowed decidedly towards Petrolatry.7The people as opposed to the potentate were the problem, although increasingly, and particularly during the reign of Catherine the Great, British diplomats, residents and travellers made valiant attempts to detect the spread of enlightenment and the achievements of native talent in literature and the arts.8

11Under Catherine there was a veritable cultural explosion and something of its import was conveyed to the British public by a trio of authors, resident in or visiting Russia during the last decades of the century.

  • 9 Travels in Poland, Russia, Sweden, and Denmark, II (London, 1784), p. 184.
  • 10 Ibid., p. 181.
  • 11 Ibid., p. 209.

12The first into print was the Rev. William Coxe, a Cambridge don, who visited Russia in 1778 as the travelling tutor of a young English milord on the northern version of the Grand Tour in 1778. The two weighty tomes of his Travels in Poland, Russia, Sweden, and Denmark appeared in 1784, when he again visited Russia in the same capacity and gathered material which he incorporated in subsequent editions. In all, six editions, endlessly augmented and revised, appeared by 1803. Coxe devoted the whole of chapter eight of volume II (some thirty-seven pages) to ‘a review of the lives and works of a few of the most eminent writers, who have contributed to polish and refine the language, and to diffuse a taste for science among their countrymen’.9 He takes issue with the followers of Montesquieu who attributed the slowness of Russian cultural development to ‘the effects of climate, or to an innate want of genius’ and looks for the true cause in ‘the government, religion, and particularly […] the vassalage of the peasants, which tend to check the diffusion of the arts and sciences’.10 He concentrates attention on the achievements of Lomonosov and Sumarokov and out of ‘the numerous band of poets’ which followed them mentions only Kheraskov as the author of ‘the first epic poem in the Russian tongue’.11 Testimony to the fact that what Coxe wrote about Russian literature was destined to have wider dissemination was the insertion in the second edition of the New and General Biographical Dictionary (1784) of nine entries on Russian writers, all based on his work.

  • 12 See my ‘Arcticus and The Bee (1790-4): An Episode in Anglo-Russian Cultural Relations’, Oxford Sla (...)

13Coxe knew no Russian but was acquainted with many German scholars in Russian service and their work, which he used with acknowledgement. Russian was certainly one of the languages of Matthew Guthrie, one of a plethora of Scottish doctors practicing at or near the Russian court, who arrived in St Petersburg in 1769 and from 1778 occupied the post of chief physician to the Noble Land Cadet Corps until his death in 1807. He was an indefatigable ‘communicator’ to British societies and British journals on all manner of subjects from gemmology and botany to literature and folk culture. Under the pseudonym of ‘Arcticus’ he contributed numerous articles to the Edinburgh journal The Bee in the early 1790s, including much on Russian folklore. Sadly, his English-language magnum opus, ‘Noctes Rossicae, or Russian Evening Recreations’, divided into ten ‘dissertations’ covering dance, song, musical instruments, games, rites, and early Russian history, remained in manuscript: only a preliminary French version appeared in St Petersburg in 1795 and was better known to a Russian public than to British readers.12

  • 13 See my ‘The Reverend William Tooke’s Contribution to English Knowledge of Russia at the End of the (...)
  • 14 Life of Catharine II, Empress of Russia, III (3rd edn, London, 1799), pp. 394-439.

14A greater impact was made by the series of works on Russian history published after his return to England by the Rev. William Tooke, the longserving chaplain to the British community firstly in Cronstadt and then in St Petersburg between 1771 and 1792. Tooke saw himself as a ‘compiler’ and translator rather than as an original author, using the best authorities, Russian and German, to acquaint his fellow countrymen with Russia’s past and present history.13 Of particular interest in the present context is his translation of Heinrich Storch’s Picture of Petersburg (1801), which included a long chapter on Russian literature, which Tooke had earlier included without acknowledgement in the third edition of his popular Life of Catharine II (1798).14 Storch/Tooke provided British readers with the most extensive survey of the arts and sciences during Catherine’s reign, naming almost everyone of importance in Russian literature since the death of Lomonosov. Tooke also took the opportunity of publishing the first English verse translations of Russian poems, in this case, by Sumarokov and Derzhavin.

  • 15 See my ‘A Royal Blue-Stocking: Catherine the Great’s Early Reputation in England as an Authoress’, (...)
  • 16 See my ‘Karamzin in English’, Canadian Slavic Studies, III (1969), pp. 716-27. Translations of thr (...)

15It was thus during the dark years of Paul’s reign (1796-1801) that the literary and artistic attainments of Catherine’s reign received their widest acknowledgement in Britain. The literary efforts of the empress herself, particularly for the theatre, also received notice, at times ironic, at times fawning, although Guthrie, who had published both in The Bee and as a separate booklet Ivan Czarowitz, or the Rose without Prickles that Stings not, his version of Catherine’s tale Skazka o tsareviche Ivane, failed to find a publisher for his translation of her ‘Shakespearean’ opera Nachal’noe upravlenie Olega (The Beginning of Oleg’s Rule).15 It was, however, the foremost prose writer of the day, Nikolai Karamzin, who was the first to receive the accolade in Britain of translated volumes (1803) of his tales and travels, albeit via German and in hardly flattering versions, that were not always welcomingly reviewed.16

  • 17 See my ‘Russkoe posol’stvo v Londone i znakomstvo anglichan s russkoi literaturoi v nachale XIX ve (...)

16Karamzin brought, as it were, Russian literature into the 19th century, although his considerable achievements in Alexander’s reign, first as the editor of The Messenger of Europe (Vestnik Evropy) and then as the great historian of pre-Petrine Russia, were never truly appreciated in Britain. His history was never translated into English (as it had been into French and German), although it was to be endlessly used by British writers attempting their own accounts of early Russian history. There was, however, a translation of his influential essay from The Messenger of Europe, ‘O knizhnoi torgovle i liubvi ko chteniiu v Rossii’ (‘On the Book Trade and the Love of Reading in Russia’, 1802), that appeared in the first volume of a new journal entitled The Literary Panorama in 1807. The translator was a member of the Russian embassy in London, A.G. Evstav’ev, who not only made many contributions to the journal but also had published in London in 1806 his version of Sumarokov’s tragedy Dmitrii Samozvanets, the first play by a Russian author to appear in English.17

17The early flurry of translations and articles in the first years of the century was not sustained. It is a sad fact that the rising Russophilia in England— that weathered the temporary setback of Alexander I’s rapprochement with Napoleon at Tilsit and, following Napoleon’s defeat and the occupation of Paris, reached fever pitch with the arrival of the tsar and his entourage in London in 1814—did not extend to an interest in Russian culture, other than the fashion craze for everything Cossack. However, it might be argued that it was in the context of this pro-Russian feeling that such a positive reception was given to the publication of the first volume of John Bowring’s Rossiiskaia antologiia: Specimens of the Russian Poets in 1821. It was warmly reviewed in at least a dozen periodicals and a decade after its appearance the Edinburgh Review accurately caught the reasons for its appeal:

  • 18 Edinburgh Review, LIII (January 1831), pp. 323-4.

There had grown up, almost with the suddenness of an exhalation, a poetical literature betraying no marks of its barbaric origin; possessing, in fact, the very qualities found associated with a long-established literature […] that but for some occasional traits of nationality which give it a certain distinctive and original character, we had great difficulty in believing that any thing so trim and so polished could have been imported from the rough shores of the Don and the Volga.18

  • 19 See my ‘Early English Specimens of the Russian Poets’, Canadian Slavic Studies, IX (1975), pp. 449 (...)

18The first volume was soon reprinted and a second volume appeared the following year and was also reissued; individual poems thereafter were often reproduced in almanacs and journals and one poem, his version of Derzhavin’s ‘Bog’ (‘God’), was issued in London as late as 1861 as a broadsheet. Bowring presented twenty-three poets for the first time, and in some cases the only time, in English dress. Not neglecting the older generation from Catherine’s reign, such as Lomonosov, Kheraskov and Petrov (but no Sumarokov), he included poets whose work straddled the reigns such as Derzhavin, Bogdanovich, Dmitriev, and Karamzin, and younger poets associated very much with Alexander’s reign, such as Batiushkov, Davydov, Viazemskii and Zhukovskii.19 Bowring, who knew little Russian despite his assurances to the contrary, relied on prose translations supplied by a Petersburg friend, who also provided the informative notices on the poets, and turned them into poetic paraphrases which the British critics and public accepted at face value, but there is no doubting the historical importance of the anthologies on the long road to British awareness of Russian literature.

  • 20 Magazine of Foreign Literature (London, 1823), pp. 267-74, 395-401. See also the informed and well (...)
  • 21 Letters, Literary and Political, on Poland, Comprising Observations on Russia and Other Sclavonian (...)

19It was in the wake of the success of Bowring’s work that Russian literature became an object of greater, but still modest, interest, witnessed in the title of The Magazine of Foreign Literature; Comprehending an Analysis of Celebrated Modern Publications of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Russia, and America, with copious extracts, translated into English (1823) and in its substantial, if ultimately condescending, reviews of two Russian plays, Fonvizin’s Nedorosl’ (as The Spoiled Boy) and Krylov’s Modnaia lavka (as The Milliner’s Shop).20 In the same year came the anonymously published Letters, Literary and Political, on Poland with direct reference to Bowring’s example. Its author, Krystyn Lach Szyrma, who was visiting Scotland as travelling tutor to two Polish aristocrats, added to his letters on Polish literature a general survey of Russian literature with special reference to such as Lomonosov, Derzhavin, Karamzin and Zhukovskii.21 Some thirty years later, as we shall see, Szyrma was to play a more notorious role in the dissemination of Russian literature in Britain.

  • 22 New Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal, III (1821), p. 382.
  • 23 Westminster Review, I (1824), p. 98.

20There was understandably no mention of Pushkin in Bowring’s anthology, but it was precisely in 1821 that his name appeared for the first time in the British press in connection with the publication of Ruslan i Liudmila.22 It was Bowring, however, who in an article in the Westminster Review in 1824, adapted from a Russian original, may be said to have initiated British interest in the great Russian poet.23 It was an interest that was infinitely deepened throughout the 1830s by a remarkable and unsung critic, William Henry Leeds, whose considerable contribution to acquainting the British public not only with the work of Pushkin but with the contemporary Russian literary—and artistic—scene is the subject of my chapter in this collection and will not be further elaborated here.

  • 24 On Shaw, see L.M. Arinshtein, ‘Tomas Shou—angliiskii perevodchik Pushkina’, in A.S. Bushmin et al.(...)
  • 25 Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, LIII (March 1843), pp. 281-8.
  • 26 Ibid., LVII (1845), pp. 657-78; LVIII (1845), pp. 28-43, 140-56.

21The three decades of the reign of Nicholas I, ending with the Crimean War, were dominated in terms of periodical criticism by Leeds—albeit anonymously but most tellingly in his major reviews for the Foreign Quarterly Review throughout the 1830s—and Thomas Budge Shaw. Shaw, unlike Leeds, knew Russia from first-hand experience as a family tutor and later adjunct professor of English literature at the Tsarskoe Selo Lyceum from 1840 until his death in 1862 and, unlike Leeds, signed both his articles and the major translations he made.24 It was in 1843 that Shaw published his translation of Bestuzhev-Marlinskii’s Caucasian tale Ammalat Bek in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine. Shaw wrote a long introduction to the tale, notable initially for a crushing demolition of Bowring’s poetic paraphrases, but offered essentially as ‘a brief sketch of the history of Russian literature‘, or rather, of Russian prose from its origins to the contemporary work of Zagoskin, Lazhechnikov and Gogol.25 It is evident that Shaw was, not surprisingly, unaware of Leeds’s anonymous articles from this period, but it is equally clear that they were making common cause. Shaw emphasized that he translated from the original Russian and he followed Bestuzhev’s tale the following year (1844) with The Heretic, his translation of Lazhechnikov’s Basurman. Other important first translations of stories by Gogol and Pushkin were to be published in journals in 1847-8 and it is as a translator and biographer of Pushkin that Shaw is above all known. In 1845 Blackwood’s published over three consecutive numbers his essentially biographical memoir of the poet, interspersed with verse translations of some twenty-three lyric poems that brought him admirers in both Russia and Britain.26 Shaw’s foray into British journals to promote Russian literature was, sadly, short-lived; after 1848 he devoted himself to writing about and teaching English literature in Russia.

  • 27 Thomas Raikes, A Visit to St Petersburg, in the Winter of 1829-30 (London, 1838), pp. 192, 84-7.
  • 28 Charles Colville Frankland, Narrative of a visit to the courts of Russia and Sweden, in the years (...)
  • 29 New Monthly Magazine, XXIX (1830), pp. 73-81.

22The name of Pushkin in the context of frequently sweeping and frequently contradictory verdicts on the state of Russian literature began to appear in British travel accounts of Russia published during Nicholas’s reign. Many were delivered with the self-confidence that only a stay in St Petersburg, a brief visit to Moscow, and a few conversations in French in society salons and homes could bring. The well-named Thomas Raikes, who was in St Petersburg in 1829-30, had no hesitation in asserting that ‘to talk of Russian literature is to talk of that which does not exist and never has existed’, even though he was to meet Pushkin, describe him as ‘the Byron of Russia, the celebrated, at the same time, the only poet in this country’, but then condescendingly offer his verdict that ‘it will be no great injustice to suppose that his compositions may be overrated by his readers’.27 Visiting the capital a year after Raikes but publishing his book six years earlier, the naval officer Charles Frankland also believed that ‘their literature is still in the cradle’, but was more attentive to Pushkin with whom he spoke on some three occasions, mainly on political and social matters.28 The most positive reaction to Pushkin and his work, but based on conversations not with the poet but with mutual friends, came from another naval officer, Frederick Chamier, who had been in Petersburg in 1827-8 and published anonymously his ‘Anecdotes of Russia’ in a London journal in 1830.29

  • 30 A detailed description of the duel and death of Pushkin, ‘one of the greatest men that had ever ad (...)
  • 31 Robert Bremner, Excursions in the Interior of Russia; Including Sketches of the Character and Poli (...)
  • 32 Adolphus Slade, Travels in Germany and Russia: Including a Steam Voyage by the Danube and the Euxi (...)

23When Raikes eventually published his book in 1838, he was able to record in a footnote the death of Pushkin, as did the Scottish traveler Robert Bremner, who had left St Petersburg just weeks before the fateful duel.30 Bremner believed that despite the censorship—and if there is one red thread through all travel accounts then it is the pernicious role of the censorship on the import of foreign books and on the contents of Russian journals and books—‘Russian literature is advancing with great rapidity’ and he enumerated the attainments of various authors from the age of Catherine to Pushkin. His garbled notes from what would seem to have been a German source, to judge by the transliteration of names, ends with a listing of ‘Shukoffskij and Batzuschkoff’, ‘Prince Wiasemskij and Wostokoff’, ‘Gribogedoff’ and ‘Schazykoff’ that would leave the reader as befuddled as Bremner obviously was.31 Indeed, they are reminiscent of the lines in Don Juan, where Byron (whose own perception of Russia is the subject of Peter Cochran’s opening article in this collection) ironizes over the ‘Thousands of this new and polished nation / Whose names lack nothing but pronunciation’. Similar listings and ugly transliterations were also found at this time in a totally unexpected and extensive ‘Notice on the Language and Literature of Russia’ that Admiral Adolphus Slade, whose Russian venture began and ended with Odessa, included as an appendix to his travel journal.32

24Bremner and Slade had possibly used the same German source, Friedrich Otto’s Lehrbuch der russischen Literatur (1837), which was translated into English by the Oxford don George Cox and published in 1839 as The History of Russian Literature, with a Lexicon of Authors, an event which promised far more than it gave to English readers. In his introduction Cox stressed the need for an English audience to become acquainted with Russia’s march towards civilization, but what he chose to translate hardly helped his cause.

  • 33 Augustus Bozzi Granville, St Petersburgh: a journal of travels to and from that capital; through F (...)

25There was also over the same period some, if limited, attention given to the state of the arts other than literature. Richard Marks in the opening pages of his chapter charts the lack of appreciation of the icon among British visitors and writers over some two centuries, but it was not merely the icon but the work of 18th- and 19th-century Russian painters, sculptors and architects that was neglected. It was inevitably the treasures of western art accumulated in the Hermitage and in other palaces that were the magnet for visitors to the Russian capital and if their attention was directed to the famous 1812 gallery it was to admire the work of the English artist, George Dawe. Similarly, the buildings they admired the most were designed by western architects, notably Quarenghi, Cameron, Rossi and Montferrand. Nevertheless, at the beginning of Nicholas’s reign, British readers were presented with a virtually comprehensive account of the state of the arts in the Russian capital by Dr A.B. Granville, physician to the Vorontsov family in 1827, whose two weighty volumes went through three editions between 1828 and 1835. Granville paid much attention to the various institutions, including the Public Library, which gave rise to a long disquisition on modern Russian literature, the theatres and a naming of actors, actresses, ballet dancers, and dramatists, as well as musicians, including ‘the great Russian composer’ Bortnianskii, the Academy of Sciences and its great collections, the Academy of Arts, where he meets Vorob’ev, the topographical artist and lauds the talents of Orlovskii.33

  • 34 Bremner, I, p. 276.
  • 35 [Elizabeth Rigby], Letters from the shores of the Baltic (2nd edn, London, 1842), I, pp. 54-60; II (...)

26Bremner was another to devote many pages to the state of the fine arts, opining that ‘several native artists of great promise have lately appeared, and those best acquainted with the nation believe that the Russians will yet rise high as painters’.34 Elizabeth Rigby, who was to marry a future President of the Royal Academy, Charles Eastlake, a few years after her visit to St Petersburg in 1839, believed that ‘with regard to the literature of Russia, it is neither sufficient in volume nor nationality to warrant an opinion’, but was more tolerant of Russian progress in music and painting. She was present at a performance of Mikhail Glinka’s Life for the Tsar (Zhizn’ za tsaria) and found the music ‘strikingly national, and one trio in particular appeared to combine every peculiar beauty of Russian melody and pathos, and will doubtless acquire a European celebrity’. She went to the Academy of Arts to see Karl Briullov’s best-known work, ‘The Last Day of Pompeii’, first publicly exhibited in 1834, and produced a detailed description of the painting and appreciation of ‘this first Russian painter of any eminence’; she returned later to visit the artist and the sculptor Baron Klodt in their studios.35

27It was not, however, these scattered pages on Russian art that furthered British awareness: exhibitions on British soil were to be the key. In June 1851 Russia took part in the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace and its display of applied arts in particular aroused great enthusiasm and it was to the Russian exhibits that Queen Victoria first made her way on her official visit, as Scott Ruby recounts in his contribution to this collection. There were, however, no Russian paintings but a glittering display of malachite objects, vases, plates, jewellery and silver.

  • 36 [Rebecca McCoy], The Englishwoman in Russia: Impressions of the Society and Manners of the Russian (...)
  • 37 [Charlotte Bourne], Russian Chit Chat; Or, Sketches of a Residence in Russia (London and Coventry, (...)

28The outbreak of the Crimean War in 1854 stimulated a steep rise in interest in Russia that fortunately went beyond jingoistic poetry and declamatory rhetoric and saw the publication not only of a number of historical and geographical accounts, with particular and expected emphasis on the generally unknown region of the Crimea and southern Russia, but also of works that portrayed with some understanding the life ‘in the interior’ of the country. Anonymous ‘ladies’, after the fashion of the time, but in fact English governesses formerly in the employ of Russian aristocratic and gentry families, Rebecca McCoy and Charlotte Bourne, produced particularly informative accounts of their long sojourns in Russia that proved popular with the British public. The literary interest in Miss McCoy’s book is above all her detailed description of a visit to see Gogol’s Revizor (The Government Inspector), a play she considers ‘truly national’ and ‘the best I ever witnessed on the Russian stage’.36 Miss Bourne, spending her winters in Moscow with the Dolgorukii family, actually saw Gogol, ‘a very little man, with a nose that seems to listen’, on one occasion, and elsewhere she discusses his controversial Vybrannye mesta iz perepiski s druz’iami (Selected Passages from a Correspondence with Friends, 1847), but her account is full of literary references as well as containing her metric translations of three stanzas from Pushkin’s Evgenii Onegin — the first to appear in English.37

  • 38 Sketches of Life in the Caucasus, by a Russe, Many Years Resident amongst the Various Mountain Tri (...)
  • 39 Carl Lefevre, ‘Gogol and Anglo-Russian Literary Relations during the Crimean War’, American Slavic (...)
  • 40 Home Life in Russia, by a Russian Noble; Revised by the Author of ‘Revelations of Siberia’, I (Lon (...)
  • 41 Athenaeum (2 December 1854), pp. 1154-5.

29Gogol was at least named in these accounts but that was not the case with a version of his great novel Mertvye dushi (Dead Souls) that was published in England precisely at this period and formed with ‘translations’ of two other masterpieces of Russian literature a trio of travesties and hoaxes. Hiding under the umbrella of interest in life in Russia there appeared in quick succession: Sketches of life in the Caucasus, by a Russe, Many Years Resident amongst the Various Mountain Tribes (London, 1853); Home Life in Russia, by a Russian Noble; Revised by the Author of ‘Revelations of Siberia’ (London, 1854); Russian Life in the Interior, or, The Experiences of a Sportsman. Edited by James D. Meiklejohn (Edinburgh, 1855). Only in the last case was the original author acknowledged, ‘Ivan Tourghenieff of Moscow’, although its editor, a young Edinburgh University graduate, had further embroidered on the already distorting French version by Ernest Charrière, Mémoires d’un seigneur russe (1854). It is interesting that it was precisely this version which introduced Turgenev to the British public and ‘inspired’ other earlier and later English translations in the periodical press (including Dickens’s Household Words) rather than the subsequent French version (1858) by Hipployte Delaveau, authorized by the Russian author but not prompting a further English variant. This was not the case with Sketches of Life in the Caucasus, for within a year the Russe, Many Years Resident amongst the Various Mountain Tribes’ was revealed to be Mikhail Lermontov, author of A Hero of Our Own Times: from the Russian; now first translated into English (London, 1854), and followed in the same year by an incomplete A Hero of Our Days. The interest of the first version, however, lies in the still unestablished identity of the ‘Russe’ (or Englishman, masquerading as such) who appropriated Lermontov’s novel as his own true story and prefaced it with an essay on Russian literature that was as informed and detailed as any of similar surveys appearing in England in the preceding decades and included laudatory pages on the work of such as Pushkin and Gogol and in a nice touch praised ‘the fiery genius of Lermontoff’.38 The lines on Gogol, praised for his ‘faculty of analysis and a creative power, rarely found united in the same individual’, were unprecedented in English criticism, but he was never to find real favour with English readers and was within months the victim of an outrageous act of plagiarism. Home Life in Russia like Sketches of Life in the Caucasus was presented as the work of a Russian but revised by the author of ‘Revelations of Siberia’. Carl Lefevre, writing specifically about the reception of Gogol at this period, called it with mounting fury ‘a malicious forgery’, ‘a forgery and purposeful distortion’ and ‘an arrogant and vicious forgery’.39 Its ‘editor’ was none other than Krystyn Lach Szyrma, who thirty years earlier had published the anonymous Letters, Literary and Political, on Poland with its informative essay on Russian literature but who had just cause for his present hostility to Russia. He deliberately (ab)used and plagiarized Dead Souls to create a book that purported to ‘throw light upon the domestic life of our ‘ancient allies’ and present foes’, suggesting that its ‘Russian nobleman’ author ‘must not be regarded as an enemy to his Fatherland: he acts under a salutary impression that the exposé can do no harm, and may possibly effect some good’.40 Lach Szyrma’s piracy was soon pointed out in a review in the Athenaeum,41 but Gogol’s cause did not prosper. Other authors were to prove more accessible to the British public.

  • 42 See my ‘The English and Krylov’, Oxford Slavonic Papers, NS XVI (1983), pp. 91-140. A recent Russi (...)
  • 43 H. Sutherland Edwards, The Russians at Home: Unpolitical Sketches (London, 1861), pp.245-79. The w (...)

30It was a representative of the older generation, the fabulist Ivan Krylov, who was to become the first widely known Russian author in the final decades of the 19th century.42 Versions of Krylov’s engaging fables with their blend of humour and sound common sense had appeared in Bowring’s anthology and in two long articles by W.H. Leeds, but it was only in the 1860s that Krylov achieved wide popularity through the efforts of H. Sutherland Edwards, devoting a long chapter to ‘Kriloff and the Russian Fabulists’ in his book entitled The Russians at Home in 1861,43 and of W.R.S. Ralston in particular. In early 1869 Ralston (1828-89) published his Krilov and His Fables that enjoyed a remarkable success, going into four editions by 1883. Ralston’s versions were, however, in prose and thus encouraged an Englishman teaching English in St Petersburg, John Henry Harrison, to offer Kriloff’s Original Fables in verse in 1883.

  • 44 See M.P. Alekseev and Iu.D. Levin, Vil’iam Rol’ston propagandist russkoi literatury I fol’klora (...)
  • 45 See Patrick Waddington, ‘A Bibliography of the Writings of W.R.S. Ralston (1828-89)’, New Zealand (...)

31Ralston was a major figure in encouraging the surge in British interest in all aspects of Russian culture, but particularly literature, during the reigns of Alexander II and Alexander III.44 A librarian at the British Museum and a serious self-taught Russian scholar, Ralston’s interests in Russian folklore led to the publication of The Songs of the Russian People (1872) and Russian Folk-Tales (1873) and this aspect of his output is examined by Tatiana Bogrdanova in her contribution to this collection. Over some twenty-five years until his death in 1889, he worked tirelessly as a propagandist of Russian culture,45 but it was as the translator and champion of Ivan Turgenev that he is probably best remembered. His translation of Turgenev’s Dvorianskoe gnezdo as Liza (1869), which the Russian greatly admired and which was frequently re-issued into the mid-20th century, was a landmark in Britain’s virtual love-affair with the novelist that dominated the late 19th century.

  • 46 Letter from Ralston to Aleksandr Onegin-Otto, 26 December 1882, Alekseev and Levin, Vil’iam Rol’st (...)
  • 47 Turner had included excerpts from most of these translations in his Studies in Russian Literature (...)

32Two years after Ralston’s Liza there appeared On the Eve, a translation of Turgenev’s Nakanune by Charles Turner (1832-1903), who taught English at the University of St Petersburg and in whom Ralston saw a rival, if a very inferior one. Ralston was to write to a Russian friend in 1882 that ‘his [Turners] translations used to be abominable, his Nakanune version was simply infamous. But he has recently married in St Petersburg, and I suspect that his wife does his translations for him’.46 Ralston was responding to the publication of Studies in Russian Literature (1882), the first of several books (and numerous articles) Turner wrote over the next twenty years, interpreting for British audiences the achievements of modern Russian literature. Count Tolstoi as Novelist and Thinker followed in 1888 and two years later, The Modern Novelists of Russia. Both these books were based on lectures Turner delivered at the Royal Institution and at the Taylor Institution, Oxford, respectively. His final significant contribution came in 1899 with the publication of Translations from Poushkin, in Memory of the Hundredth Anniversary of the Poet’s Birthday, published simultaneously in St Petersburg and London and including in addition to verse translations of fifteen lyric poems, The Gypsies and Poltava, two ‘Little Tragedies’, Boris Godunov and The Bronze Horseman.47

  • 48 Several Poems Translated from Pushkin by W.R. Morfill (London: Constitutional Press, 1860). See al (...)
  • 49 See my ‘Konstantin Bal’mont in Oxford in 1897’, Oxford Slavonic Papers, NS XII (1979), pp. 104-16; (...)

33Instrumental in Turner’s invitation to lecture in his alma mater had been W.R. Morfill (1834-1909), who himself gave the first Ilchester Lectures in 1870 and became Reader in Russian and Slavonic from 1889 and Professor from 1900. Morfill, a man of enormous erudition and a close friend of Ralston, had a special penchant for Russian literature and indeed had published as early as 1860 his first translations from Pushkin.48 His book-length publications included Slavonic Literature (1883), A History of Russia from Peter the Great to Alexander II (1902) and a Russian grammar (1889) but give no real hint of his influence, particularly in the 1890s, of furthering the cause of Russian literature. Like Ralston, he was a constant reviewer for the Athenaeum (a journal performing for foreign literature what the Foreign Quarterly Review had done for an earlier age), but he was also responsible for engaging two of the foremost Russian Symbolists, Konstantin Bal’mont and Valerii Briusov, to contribute annual reviews of contemporary literature, which he translated for publication in the journal in the years 1898-1906.49

  • 50 Edwards and his wife Margaret (née Watson) were active as translators: he was among the earliest o (...)

34Ralston, Turner and Morfill were far from alone in furthering the cause of Russian literature by article, review, book or translation in the post-Crimean War period. In 1865 F.R. Grahame (the pseudonym of Catherine Laura Johnstone) followed a work on the early history of Russia (1860) with The Progress of Science, Art, and Literature in Russia. It was in truth a summation, but a substantial one, of what the British knew of Russian literature up to the Crimean War rather than a survey of contemporary developments. Miss Johnstone relied significantly on the articles in the Foreign Quarterly Review in the 1830s (in ignorance of Leeds’s authorship) and copiously reproduced existing English translations by Bowring, Leeds, Shaw and others of poems by Russian poets from Derzhavin to Pushkin. Chapters were devoted to both secular and ecclesiastical writers from the earliest times, but it was essentially literature under Alexander I and authors of the stature of Karamzin and Pushkin that were the centre of detailed attention. There was very little on the novel, apart from Bulgarin and Lazhechnikov, and no mention of such as Gogol and Turgenev. Miss Johnstone, however, made many references to ‘a most interesting little book’, none other than Sutherland Edwards’s The Russians at Home, published four years earlier and already noted for its chapter on Krylov. Edwards was among the most informed of British commentators on the Russian literary scene and his ‘unpolitical sketches’ included a series of chapters under such titles as ‘Journalism’ with its useful review of contemporary periodicals, ‘The Censorship’, ‘Secret Literature’ with much on Ryleev’s poem Voinarovksii and on Herzen, and, ‘Political Comedies’ with its detailed résumés of the plots of Gogol’s Revizor and Griboedov’s Gore ot uma (Woe from Wit), and ‘The Russian Gypsies’ with Edwards’s extensive re-telling of, and long translated excerpts from, Pushkin’s The Gypsies.50

  • 51 Edwards, The Russians at Home, p. 152. Titled Gore ot Ouma: a Comedy, trans. from the Russian by N (...)

35In his discussion of Griboedov’s play Edwards had referred, with little enthusiasm, to its recent appearance in English (1857), suggesting that ‘it certainly conveys an idea of the substance of the original, though the style all but perishes in the double translation from Russian into English, and from verse into prose’.51 The period up to the accession of Nicholas II in 1894 saw in fact the first appearance of translations from a number of prominent Russian writers of prose and verse. What follows is simply the enumeration of some of the more interesting or curious publications (published in Britain and not in America or, indeed, in Calcutta) from a fuller list that would include the dramatist and novelist Count Aleksei Tolstoi, Ivan Goncharov, Vladimir Korolenko and Vsevolod Garshin.

  • 52 See I.P. Foote, ‘Frederic Aston’s Tchinovnicks and Mr Adams’, Oxford Slavonic Papers, NS XIV (1981 (...)

36In 1861 there appeared Tchinovniki: Sketches of Provincial Life, offered as ‘from the memoirs of the retired Conseiller de Cour Stchedrin (Saltikow)’, a selection from M.E. Saltykov-Shchedrin’s Gubernskie ocherki (1857) rendered directly from the Russian by ‘Frederic Aston’, the pseudonym of Francis Adams, a member of the British Embassy in St Petersburg, with the clear intention of revealing a corrupt and inefficient bureaucracy.52 With the exception of a generally unremarked version of Taras Bul’ba and Noch’ pered Rozhdestvom (The Night before Christmas) appearing in 1860 under the title Cossack Tales, translated from the Russian by George Tolstoy, Gogol was neglected, although Pushkin (and to a lesser extent Lermontov) received increasing attention. Pushkin’s Kapitanskaia dochka (The Captain’s Daughter), Pikovaia dama (The Queen of Spades) and his Povesti Belkina (Tales of Belkin) were rendered on several occasions from 1858 (when they appeared in Blackwood’s London Library and thereafter republished) to 1894 (the version by T. Keane that proved popular well into the 20th century). It was these tales, together with The Moor of Peter the Great (Arap Petra Velikogo), that were published in 1875 to considerable critical acclaim under the title Russian Romance by Alexander Serguevitch Poushkin in the translation of Ekaterina Murav’eva, who was undoubtedly aided by her husband, Commander John Buchan Telfer (1831?-1907), R.N., F.R.G.S., who the

  • 53 John Buchan Telfer, The Crimea and Transcaucasia, Being the Narrative of a Journey in the Kouban, (...)
  • 54 Quoted in Patrick Waddington, Turgenev and England (London and Basingstoke, 1980), p. 280. See als (...)
  • 55 See Chin When, pp. 11-16.

37following year himself produced a book of travels through southern Russia with interesting references to both Pushkin and Griboedov.53 It was another military man, Lt-Colonel Henry Spalding (1840-1907), learning his Russian during a spell at the British Embassy in the Russian capital, who made an unexpected appearance in 1881 as the first British translator of Evgenii Onegin: Eugene Onéguine: A Romance of Russian Life in Verse and indeed rendered into English verse but of a quality that elicited from Turgenev in conversation with Ralston the verdict that it was ‘astonishingly faithful and astonishingly fat-headed’.54 Lermontov fared somewhat better. His Demon had appeared in 1875 in a verse translation by a young Englishman, Alexander Condie Stephens, that also involved Turgenev, to whom the translation was dedicated, and Ralston, who was as ever critical in his review in the Athenaeum.55 Stephens’s version with its informative preface went through two more editions in 1881 and 1886, and in 1894 it was considered there was a market for another verse translation by Francis Storr. Finally, mention might be made of yet another verse translation which became available to a British public in 1886 after its initial publication in Calcutta: Thomas Hart Davies’s The Poems of K.F. Relaieff included as its major piece Kondratii Ryleev’s Voinarovskii, an epic explicated in 1832 by Leeds and in 1861 by Sutherland Edwards.

  • 56 Waddington, Turgenev and England, p. 12.
  • 57 Saturday Review (22 October 1881), pp. 509-10.
  • 58 Major surveys of Turgenev and the English-speaking world include: Royal A. Gettman, Turgenev in En (...)

38However, these were truly the Turgenev decades when his name, in whatever transliteration, ‘was on the lips of every self-respecting reviewer’.56 Visiting England on many occasions between July 1847 and October 1881, Turgenev became a familiar figure in English literary and social circles and was hailed as ‘not only the greatest writer of fiction ever produced by Russia, but also one of the greatest of living European novelists’ in an anonymous panegyric in the Saturday Review, penned in fact by his indefatigable promoter Ralston.57 By the end of the century some fifty translations had appeared in England in journals and book form, culminating in the first fifteen volumes of Constance Garnett’s The Novels of Ivan Turgenev (London: Heinemann, 1894-9).58

  • 59 See Clarence Decker, ‘Victorian Comment on Russian Realism’, PMLA, LII (1937), pp. 542-9.
  • 60 See Helen Muchnic, Dostoevsky’s English Reputation 1881-1936 (Northampton, 1939); W.J. Leatherbarr (...)

39By the time of their appearance Turgenev had rivals for the attention of British critics and readers in Tolstoi and Dostoevskii.59 The publisher Vizetelly commissioned translations, appearing in 1886-8, of Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and other novels, all translated from French and mainly the work of Frederick Whishaw, who, incidentally, probably knew Russian better than French. The first translation in book form and from the Russian original was, however, Buried Alive, Or, Ten Years of Penal Servitude in Siberia (Zapiski iz mertvogo doma), that appeared in 1881 and was reprinted three times in the same year: the English title that seeks to emphasize the ‘reality’ of events is reminiscent of the notorious ‘translations’ during the Crimean War. Critical comment appearing over little more than a decade virtually ceased, as did new translations, in the 1890s and Dostoevskii awaited Garnett’s translations in 1912 to re-awaken an interest that soon became a cult.60

  • 61 See W. Gareth Jones (ed.), Tolstoi and Britain (Oxford, 1995), with its bibliography focusing on t (...)
  • 62 Jones, Tolstoi and Britain, p. 10.
  • 63 Ibid., pp. 108, 124.
  • 64 W.R.S. Ralston ‘Count Leo Tolstoy’s Novels’, The Nineteenth Century, V (April 1879), p.651.

40Tolstoi, whose Childhood and Youth, translated from the Russian, had appeared in England as early as 1862, was infinitely more prominent, for reasons often far from literary.61 Gareth Jones rightly emphasizes that the Tolstoi first encountered by British critics in the 1880s was the Tolstoi who ‘had already abandoned belles letters in favour of his newly assumed role as a social, political and religious teacher […] and reached England all of a piece, novelist, thinker and social commentator combined’.62 This was certainly the Tolstoi of Matthew Arnold in his seminal essay of 1887, stressing that ‘we are not to take Anna Karénine as a work of art; we are to take it as a piece of life’, but regretting that Tolstoi had ‘perhaps not done well in abandoning the work of the poet and artist’.63 It is significant that Arnold read, and preferred to read, Tolstoi in French and, indeed, Ralston had opined that Anna Karenina and War and Peace could not be translated into English,64 but translated they were, as well as a remarkable number of other works. The list of English translations from Tolstoi’s opus from the late 1880s to early in the following century shows clearly not only how many they were and the numerous translators involved, but their proliferation, particularly the non-fiction, in varied formats, and they were bolstered, as it were, with books on Tolstoi’s ‘teaching’ and descriptions of pilgrimages to see him in Moscow and Iasnaia Poliana, as well as the evidence of Tolstoian colonies in England.

41Up to this point the emphasis has been intentionally on the reception of Russian literature, with an excursus into early awareness of Russian painting. Before addressing the generally limited impact that Russian music and art had in Britain during the later decades of the 19th century, it is important to examine, however briefly, other factors that coloured British perceptions of Russia during the same period.

  • 65 See John Gleason, The Genesis of Russophobia in Great Britain (Cambridge, Mass., 1950); Harold N. (...)

42The Russophilia that was evident in Britain at the time of Napoleon’s defeat was unprecedented, although throughout the 18th century— particularly during the reigns of Peter I, Catherine II and Paul I—there had been periods of rapprochement alternating with hostility. It was, however, to be hostility that was to prevail during the reign of Nicholas I. British reaction to such events as the suppression of the Polish revolt of 1830 was considerably more vehement than it had been to the partitions of that country during Catherine II’s reign. Moreover, the crisis in the Near East in 1833 brought on an anti-Russian publicist campaign, spearheaded by David Urquhart and emphasizing Russian expansionist ambitions. Russophobia, despite a degree of political rapprochement in the 1840s, was the order of day and led, almost inevitably, to the Crimean War—a memorable way indeed to mark the tercentenary of Anglo-Russian relations.65

  • 66 F. Toulmin Smith, ‘That the Representation of Russian Life in English Novels is Misleading’, Proce (...)

43The Crimean War left a legacy of suspicion that only intensified over the following decades. Despite all the efforts of the tsar-liberator, Alexander II, internal dissatisfaction with the extent of his reforms led to the emergence of terrorist organizations and a reign that had promised much ended with the assassination of the tsar in 1881. The ensuing reign of his younger son, Alexander III, ushered in a period of unrelenting reaction and ‘counter-reforms’, moves against the universities and the press, laws against religious minorities, particularly the Jews. These events were reflected most graphically in English fiction to such an extent that by the turn of the century a lecturer to the Anglo-Russian Literary Society, established in 1893 to encourage understanding and sympathy towards Russia, felt obliged to declare that ‘what is dark, what is sad, what is tragic in Russian life is mostly dwelt upon in English literature, whether journalistic or fiction, and therefore my efforts are directed here to show you that everybody in the country is not belonging to a secret society, or being sent off to Siberia to endure a lasting exile’.66

  • 67 See my The Russian Theme in English Literature from the Sixteenth Century to 1980: An Introductory (...)

44Although the further suggestion that ‘five novels out of six will have a Nihilistic plot’ was indeed an exaggeration, it highlighted a British obsession during these decades with the sensational aspects of revolutionary activity in Russia and the music of the very word ‘Nihilist’. The word seems to have appeared in a title for the first time in a play, Vera: or the Nihilists, by none other than Oscar Wilde (privately published in 1880 but its planned production in 1881 postponed because of the assassination of the tsar), but was soon paraded in a string of novels, such as A Nihilist Princess and Narka the Nihilist, and including the doyen of boy’s fiction, G.S. Henty’s Condemned as a Nihilist: A Story of Escape from Siberia (1893) that combined Nihilism with the no less popular theme of Siberia.67

  • 68 See M.P. Alekseev, ‘Sibirskaia ssylka i angliiskii poet’, Sibirskie ogni, IV (1928), pp. 182-93.

45British Russophobia continued to be fed by the perceived Russian threat in the Near and Far East and Central Asia and the manoeuvrings of the ‘Great Game’, but it was underpinned to a previously unequalled degree by sympathy for the oppressed and for the persecuted, be they peasant, Stundist or Jew. Poets joined with novelists to condemn the excesses of autocracy. James Thomson’s ‘Despotism Temepered by Dynamite’ (1882) was but a prelude to Algernon Swinburne’s ‘Russia: An Ode’ (1890), in which he claimed ‘Night hath none but one red star — Tyrannicide’ and which was written to refute the more optimistic view of Siberia and the exile system as presented in recent travel accounts by such as the Rev. Henry Lansdell (1882) and Harry de Windt (1889).68

46It was in such a context that Russian exiles in London played a significant role not only in propagandizing the revolutionary cause but also influencing British attitudes to Russian literature. In the 1850-60s London had been the home of Alexander Herzen, soon joined by his collaborator Nikolai Ogarev, who engaged in the production of Russian–language journals such as Kolokol (The Bell), influential in their homeland but far less so in Britain. They attracted a flow of notable travelling Russians such as Turgenev, Nekrasov and Chernyshevskii, but their English circle was very limited. This was far from the case with the next influx of political émigrés in the 1880-90s, several of whom were members of the Populist Chaikovskii circle, headed by N.V. Chaikovskii and including notably Feliks Volkhovskii, Prince Petr Kropotkin and Sergei Kravchinskii. Kropotkin, ‘the anarchist prince’, arrived in England in 1886 and produced over the next twenty years a stream of books on politics and economics and including a Russian Literature: Ideals and Realities, based on a 1901 series of lectures and published in 1905, that stressed the significance of the great Russian novelists, Gogol, Turgenev, Goncharov, and Tolstoi, while placing Dostoevskii far below them. It was, however, Kravchinskii, arriving in London two years before Kropotkin and known more widely under his pen name of Stepniak, who was the dominant voice, influencing public opinion by his writing and lecturing and, like Kropotkin, cultivating a circle of friends and acquaintances.

  • 69 See Barry Hollingsworth, ‘The Society of Friends of Russian Freedom: English Liberals and Russian (...)

47It was on the initiative of Stepniak that in 1890 there was established the Society of Friends of Russian Freedom, attracting to its membership many leading British intellectuals and politicians, including William Morris, Sidney Webb, Kier Hardie and Robert Spence Watson.69 He then became editor of Free Russia, the Society’s monthly organ, and was assisted by Ethel Voynich (née Boole). It was Mrs Voynich, the Russian-speaking Irish wife of a Polish émigré and the future author of The Gadfly, who not only helped Stepniak in his journalistic and propagandist activities but also contributed to his equally strong and in many ways complementary passion for Russian literature. Under his guidance she brought out in 1893 her versions of Stories from Garshin and in 1895 an anthology of translated plays and stories under the title The Humour of Russia, to both of which Stepniak contributed introductions. Among Stepniak’s other close acquaintances were Constance Garnett and her sister-in-law Olivia Garnett, yet another author of novels about revolutionaries in Russia.

  • 70 Eugene Onegin a Lyrical Drama, in Three Acts, the Libretto Derived from Pushkin’s Celebrated Poem (...)

48It is a curious fact that that the three greatest Russian novelists of the late 19th century, Turgenev, Tolstoi and Dostoevskii, and the greatest composer, Petr Chaikovskii (hereafter Tchaikovsky), all visited England in 1861-2, Turgenev not for the first or last time, Tolstoi and Dostoevskii for their only visit, and Tchaikovsky for the first of four visits, and all left with differing impressions but generally without regret. Unlike their contemporary Turgenev, Tolstoi and Dostoevskii, even longer, were to wait many years before the British public became truly aware of their work (although even in French translation Dostoevskii exerted influence on British practitioners of the crime genre, as Muireann Maguire suggests). The same was true with Tchaikovsky and it would seem appropriate at this juncture to update the situation with regard to British awareness of Russian ‘progress’ (to use Miss Johnstone’s word) in music and in art. It is in Sutherland Edwards’s book that we find chapters on ‘The Moscow Opera House’ and ‘Operatic and Other Music’ in which he demonstrates his knowledge and obvious love for Russian music, particularly Glinka. The Russians at Home was published very early in his writing career, which was incredibly productive and led to many works on European music and opera, including a History of the Opera (1862) and, most importantly, to the English version (together with his wife) of Konstantin Shilovskii’s libretto for Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, which was given its first performance in England at the New Olympic Theatre on 17 October 1892.70

  • 71 See Stiuart Kempbel, ‘“Sensatsiia za sensatsiei”: britanskie zhurnaly o pervykh vstrechakh s russk (...)

49In the three decades separating that event from the publication of The Russians at Home British appreciation of Russian music had but slowly advanced. The Musical Times, the pulse of musical life since 1844, included from time to time information about Russian music and musical events, but the only Russian composer, Glinka apart, who enjoyed any reputation in Britain before Tchaikovsky was Anton Rubinstein, who first visited England as a twelve-year old prodigy in 1842 and came another seven times to increasing acclaim both for his playing and for his music, which included concertos, symphonies and operas.71 It was Rubinstein’s Demon that was one of three Russian operas—the others were Glinka’s A Life for the Tsar, and Tchaikovsky’s Mazeppa—that were performed by a Russian opera company in various British cities in July-November 1888 and whose reception, adventures, and mishaps are examined by Tamsin Alexander in her article in the collection. The three operas were sung in Russian (the first performances of Demon and Life for the Tsar in 1881 and 1887 respectively had been sung in Italian) and gave audiences the elements of ‘the national’ assiduously sought in literature, art and music.

  • 72 See Gerald Norris, Stanford, the Cambridge Jubilee and Tchaikovsky (Newton Abbot, 1980).
  • 73 Ibid., p. 495.
  • 74 Philip Ross Bullock, Rosa Newmarch and Russian Music in Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth-Centur (...)
  • 75 Rosa Newmarch, The Russian Opera (London, 1914), p. 361.

50In 1871 Turgenev was awarded a D.C.L. by Oxford University; twenty years later in July 1893, Cambridge awarded an honorary doctorate to Tchaikovsky.72 It heralded a period of his great popularity with British audiences, particularly for his Fifth and Sixth Symphonies. His first orchestral piece to be performed had been the First Piano Concerto on 11 March 1876 at the Crystal Palace. It was followed by numerous performances of other pieces, including the Serenade for Strings with which the composer made his London debut as a conductor on 22 March 1888 at the St James’s Hall, a few months before the visiting opera company gave the first British performance of his opera Mazeppa. In October 1892 came the premiere of Eugene Onegin (in the Edwardses’ translation), which was not a success and in general the Russian’s fortunes over the preceding years had been very mixed, eliciting more enthusiasm from audiences than from critics. A year later, the composer was dead, an event recorded and his opus assessed in numerous obituaries in the British press and was followed by a remarkable upturn in his fame in Britain, leading to the first all-Tchaikovsky concert conducted by Henry Wood at the Queen’s Hall on 15 May 1897 and the performance of almost all his works over subsequent years. His success led to an interest in the work of other Russian composers, led by Rimskii-Korsakov but also including Borodin, Glazunov and a host of others, on such a scale that The Musical Times, always exhibiting some difficulty in digesting Russian music, wrote in February 1899 about the introduction of ‘a flood of Russian music — good, bad and indifferent, without discrimination and without mercy’.73 It was in the following year, however, that Rosa Newmarch produced her Tchaikovsky: His Life and Works, with Extracts from His Writings, and the Diary of His Tour Abroad in 1888 (London, 1900), a landmark work that was followed by her translation of the biography written by the composer’s brother, Modest, in 1906. Philip Bullock, already the author of a monograph on Newmarch and more generally on the reception of Russian music at this period,74 explores in his contribution to this collection Newmarch’s role in interpreting Tchaikovsky — the man and his music — and her subsequent championing of Rimskii-Korsakov. Rimskii-Korsakov was one of the heroes of her influential Russian Opera, published in 1914, that offered enthusiastic readings of the operatic works of Glinka through to the works of the ‘Mighty Handful’, of which Rimskii-Korsakov was a member, but less so of Tchaikovsky’s, believing that his ‘nature was undoubtedly too emotional and self-centred for dramatic uses’.75

  • 76 F.R. Grahame, Progress of Science, Art and Literature in Russia (London, 1865), p. 403.
  • 77 See L.I. Iovleva, ‘O russkom khudozhestvennom otdele na vsemirnoi vystavke 1862 goda v Londone’, i (...)

51Russian Opera was part of an impressive trilogy of survey volumes that Mrs Newmarch produced within a decade, beginning with Poetry and Progress in Russia in 1907 and ending with The Russian Arts in 1916. The titles are to a degree reminiscent of Miss Johnstone’s work of 1865 but in substance differ markedly. Miss Johnstone confined her review of ‘The Fine Arts in Russia’ to a mere nine pages, relying on the Foreign Quarterly Review and Lady Eastlake for her information and thus effectively ending in the early 1840s, and concluding that ‘the names of the Russian Painters and Architects who will be remembered by posterity, until the last thirty years, may be comprised in merely a few lines’.76 Fortunately, the British public had at last the opportunity to see examples of Russian painting from the age of Catherine the Great to the present at the London exhibition of 1862, when for the first time paintings by such as Levitskii, Borovikovskii, Venetsianov, Fedotov, Briullov, Aivazovskii and others, seventy-eight canvases in all, were on display.77

  • 78 J. Beavington Atkinson, An Art Tour to Russia (London, 1986), p. 6. (This is a reprint of the orig (...)
  • 79 Ibid., pp. 143-5 (Briullov), 171-4 (Vereshchagin), 204-6 (Aivazovskii). The foremost Russian marin (...)
  • 80 Ibid., p. 171.

52It was the international exhibitions in London and Paris, at which Russian art was exhibited that inspired an English art critic, Joseph Beavington Atkinson (1822-86), to undertake a visit to Russia in the summer of 1870 ‘for the purpose of judging of the art capabilities of Russia’.78 He of course spent much time and pages in describing the treasures of the Hermitage— as had done so many visitors before him—but it was his pursuit of Russian art as exhibited and produced in St Petersburg, Moscow and Kiev that form the most original pages in his book, presenting to the British public for the first time detailed information about a whole range of Russian artists, including not only painters but also architects and sculptors, the majority of whom, in truth, he did not highly rate. He does, however, say much in praise of Karl Briullov, even more so of Vereshchagin and somewhat less about Aivazovskii, whom he considered too commercially minded for the good of his art.79 On his return to London from Russia, Atkinson visited the International Exhibition of 1872 and included in his book impressions about the Russian exhibits that had brought a much greater positive response from British art critics than in 1862 and been seen by a million visitors. He declared that ‘for the first time, was England made acquainted with the recent movement in the direction of the literal study of nature. Landscapes, domestic scenes, and genre generally, were in the ascendant’.80

  • 81 Alfred Maskell, Russian Art and Art Objects in Russia: A Handbook to the Reproductions of Goldsmit (...)
  • 82 Rosa Newmarch, The Russian Arts (London, 1916), p. v.

53Atkinson’s interests included all aspects of the decorative and applied arts. During his visit to the Hermitage he paid special attention to the Kerch antiquities, anticipating thereby Alfred Maskell’s Russian Art and Art Objects in Russia (1884). Maskell (d. 1912), who had worked at the South Kensington (later Victoria and Albert) Museum since 1874, spent the year 1880-1 in Russia selecting objects for phototype reproduction, resulting in a handbook to serve a basis for research into Russian art treasures. Unlike Atkinson, Maskell’s attention was steadfastly focused on early Russian art, but his opinion that ‘Russian art is a subject which has so little occupied public attention, at least in England, so little is known amongst us concerning it, and so scanty is the information to be gathered from the few notices which exist in our language, that the question whether or not there is a Russian art, distinct and national, has probably entered into the minds of very few persons to consider’ was more widely applicable and, unfortunately, long-lasting.81 It was consonant with the views, thirty years later, of Mrs Newmarch, who had set out on her researches ‘to trace the common link of nationality through every branch of Russian art, including music and the peasant industries’.82 Mrs Newmarch, who makes no mention of either Atkinson or Maskell, laments the fact that the British public’s acquaintance with Russian art and literature is confined to the very latest developments of the last decades of the nineteenth and first decades of the twentieth centuries; and is unmindful not only of earlier periods but of the realists and peredvizhniki on whose works she herself was nurtured— under Stasov’s guidance—and was reluctant to discard. She does, however, end with a chapter on ‘The New Art’ that allows her to discuss artists such as Rerikh, Churlianis, Dobuzhinskii, Bakst, and Kustodiev.

  • 83 Ibid., p. 267.
  • 84 See my ‘Exhibiting Russia: The Two London Russian Exhibitions of 1917 and 1935’, Slavonica, XXI (2 (...)

54She mentions that some of these artists had exhibited in the Second Exhibition of Post-Impressionism at the Grafton Galleries on Bond Street in 1912-13 and ‘suffered by being judged in proximity with those belonging to a movement in which, with few exceptions, the Russian artists had taken no part’.83 Others, however, saw the Russian presence in Roger Fry’s famed exhibition, following as it did on the heels of the first Ballets Russes season in London, as evidence of the impact of Russian art on British artistic modernism. Louise Hardiman persuasively argues nonetheless for the importance of the preceding exhibitions of the newly established Allied Artists’ Association (A.A.A.) in 1908-11 in a chapter that is one of three devoted to 20th-century exhibitions of vastly differing scope and ambition. Nicola Kozicharow focuses on an exhibition of the work of the by-then Russian émigré Filipp Maliavin that took place in the New Burlington Galleries in 1935, a few months after the great Anglo-Russian exhibition (in which he did not participate) was held at 1 Belgrave Square.84 This was already nearly two decades into the Soviet period and nearly three more were to elapse before the Soviet Government entered into its own cultural offensive with a series of three mega-exhibitions at Earls Court, beginning with a fanfare in 1961 and ending with a whimper in 1979, as chronicled in detail by Verity Clarkson.

  • 85 See Catherine Cooke, ‘Fyodor Shekhtel as a Creator of the Russian “Brand”: “The Russian Village” a (...)

55The dawn of the 20th century brought new names to the Anglo-Russian scene, both of Russians, who had previously been neglected or were from an emerging new generation of writers and artists, and of British writers and critics, who increasingly responded positively to Russian culture; it also brought an increasing number of artistic ‘events’, notably the seasons of the Ballets Russes and exhibitions such as those already mentioned but also, for instance, the International Exhibition in Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow, with its four Russian ‘mediaeval’ wooden pavilions designed by Fedor Shekhtel to house the Russian exhibits.85 And all against a background of far-reaching events in the arena of politics, diplomacy and warfare: after years of tension and confrontation that led in the early century to the Russo-Japanese War and British alliance with the Japanese and the Boer War with Russian support for the Boers, there came in 1907 the Anglo-Russian Convention and an new era of benevolence and sympathy (far from universal) that lasted through WWI to the revolutions of 1917.

  • 86 See Stead’s earlier long and interesting essay in The Review of Reviews (vol. III, 1891, pp. 123-3 (...)

56An amusing reflection of the change in British attitudes towards Russia over the first two decades of the century can be found once more in the themes and subject matter of popular fiction. A purveyor of adventure tales for boys, Captain F.S. Brereton, who began with A Gallant Grenadier (1902), a tale about the fearless British troops in the Crimea, quickly moved to embrace the Japanese cause with his A Soldier of Japan: A Tale of the Russo-Japanese War (1906), before finishing triumphantly With Our Russian Allies (1916). Perhaps a more interesting indication of the change in the mood of public opinion was the well-received publication in 1909 of The M.P. for Russia: Reminiscences & Correspondence of Madame Olga Novikoff, edited by the famous journalist W.T. Stead, followed in 1917 by her Russian Memories, edited by the bard of ‘Holy Russia’, Stephen Graham. During the last decades of the previous century Mme Novikoff (Ol’ga Alekseevna Novikova) had been the advocate in England of Russian autocracy and defender of its military and religious policies, but despite all her lobbying of political figures and her own writings, she paled in significance before the persuasive eloquence of Stepniak and his adherents.86

  • 87 Gilbert Phelps, The Russian Novel in English Fiction (London, 1956) remains a good introduction, d (...)
  • 88 Aylmer Maude (1858-1938), of course, was one of the most assiduous promoters of Tolstoi and his wo (...)

57If Turgenev and Tolstoi enjoyed the height of their popularity in Victorian Britain, Dostoevskii and Chekhov were the major inspiration for the writers of the new century.87 They form along with Turgenev and Tolstoi the great highways of Russian literary ‘presence’ in Britain that have been travelled many times by researchers over the last century since Constance Garnett added to her Turgenev the six volumes of her Tolstoi translations (Anna Karenina, The Death of Ivan Ilyitch, and Other Stories, and War and Peace, 1901-4) and the twelve volumes of The Novels of Fyodor Dostoevsky (1912­20), which were to be joined by another great achievement, the thirteen volumes of her Tales of Tchehov (1916-22) and the two-volume The Plays of Tchehov (1822-3). The availability of ‘the whole Tolstoi’ was realized with the publication of Aylmer Maude’s twenty-one-volume Tolstoy Centenary Edition (1928-37), but this was already the consolidation of a ‘classic’ rather than the response to a vogue.88

  • 89 See Victor Emeljanow (ed.), Chekhov: The Critical Heritage (London, 1981); Patrick Miles, Chekhov (...)
  • 90 The word seems to have appeared for the first time in the 1888 translation from the French of Lev (...)

58There was some competition from a younger generation of writers — and over the next twenty years Gor’kii in particular. Artsybashev and Leonid Andreev were much translated and discussed, but Dostoevskii and especially Chekhov were perceived almost as new and their influence spread, touching British writers and thinkers of almost every persuasion and colour. The first collection of Chekhov’s stories appeared only in 1903, the year before his death, and another six years were to elapse before the first production in Britain of a Chekhov play, The Seagull in Glasgow, in a translation by George Calderon, who did much to promote the Russian’s fortunes.89 19th-century translations of Dostoevskii had done him less than justice and it was Garnett’s 1912 translation of Brat’ia Karamazovy (The Brothers Karamazov), the first in English, that encouraged, together with the intoxication of the Ballets Russes, an unprecedented explosion of Russomania among the British ‘intelligentsia’.90

  • 91 Newmarch, Russian Arts, p. 285.

59Among the devotees of Dostoevskii were Maurice Baring and Stephen Graham, so distinct in many ways but united in their discovery of the ‘real’ Russia of orthodoxy and peasant villages and in their pursuit of its soul—it was with a reference to ‘the beauty of the Russian soul’ that Rosa Newmarch concluded her book in 1917.91 Baring, initially by his newspaper articles, then by a series of books that included Landmarks in Russian Literature (1910), The Mainsprings of Russia (1914) and Outline of Russian Literature (1915), was highly influential both in guiding English literary taste (cf. his early championing of Chekhov) and explicating Russia’s heritage, while, as Michael Hughes shows, Graham ‘tramped’ around ‘Holy Russia’ and produced a stream of books beginning with Vagabond in the Caucasus (1911) and including The Way of Martha and the Way of Mary (London, 1916).

  • 92 See G.S. Smith, D.S. Mirsky: A Russian-English Life 1890-1939 (Oxford, 2000); Ol’ga Kaznina, ‘Knia (...)

60Both Baring and Graham loom large in the opening pages of Svetlana Klimova’s contribution, which in its central section looks into the comparative English neglect of the Russian Nobel Prize winning novelist Ivan Bunin and the question of Russian literature in emigration. As she notes, T.S. Eliot’s organ of modernism, The Criterion, was increasingly begrudging in appreciating the worth of a literature produced far from its homeland. It is The Criterion’s engagement with Russian culture from its opening number in 1922 to its close in 1939, as it moves from reviews and comment on the ‘old Russia’ of Dostoevskii and the Ballets Russes to its assessment of the cultural life of Soviet Russia, that is the subject of Olga Ushakova’s article. The English reputation of another leading figure of the emigration, Aleksei Remizov, and the English translators of his works from the 1920s to the 1940s is investigated by Marilyn Smith. Prominent among them was the charismatic figure of the Cambridge don, Jane Ellen Harrison, who back in 1878 had been introduced to Turgenev on his visit to her college, Newnham, and who much later was to immerse herself in the study of Russian and of Russian culture, as described by Alexandra Smith. A figure who loomed large in Harrison’s life was Prince Dmitrii Mirskii, who arrived in England in 1922 to teach and write at the School of Slavonic Studies.92 His books on Russian literature, appearing in rapid succession in 1926-7, won him admirers and friends in the intellectual elite of the capital. He was, however, skeptical about what he regarded as the excesses of the cult of Chekhov in post-WWI England, but believed that ‘if Chekhov has had a genuine heir to the secrets of his art, it is in England, where Katherine Mansfield did what no Russian has done—learned from Chekhov without imitating him’. Rachel Polonsky uses this quotation in the course of her fascinating study of John Middleton Murry’s editing of his late wife Katherine Mansfield’s letters and editing out of virtually all references to Chekhov.

61In characterizing, however briefly, the five contributions of Svetlana Klimova, Tatiana Ushakova, Marilyn and Alexandra Smith, and Rachel Polonsky, we have moved seamlessly into a quite different political and historical period, when Russian literature in emigration acquired a colouring and significance distinct from Russian literature promoted by political émigrés during the Victorian age.

  • 93 See Gabriel Gorodetsky, The Precarious Truce: Anglo-Soviet Relations 1924-27 (Cambridge, 1977).

62The allies of WWI became foes, following the October Revolution and the fiasco of the Intervention between June 1918 and November 1919, although the next two decades up to WWII witnessed many changes in attitudes and policies, often dependent on British party politics but equally often reflecting wider European and global concerns. De jure recognition of the Soviet regime on 1 February 1924 seemed a triumph for Labour and the ‘Hands off Russia’ movement that had been campaigning since 1917 for reconciliation, but a rapid deterioration in relations followed hard on the heels of the Zinov’ev letter in October 1924 and the rupture in diplomatic relations as a result of the ‘Arcos Raid’ in May 1927.93 The 1930s, the so-called ‘Pink Decade’, following on from the Depression of 1929 and ending with the non-aggression pact signed between the Soviet Union and Germany in August 1939, saw the establishing of the Daily Worker on 1 January 1930 and of the Left Review in October 1934. But it was also the decade of wider ideological confrontation, tragically dramatized in the Spanish Civil War.

63For the popular novelist the 20s and 30s remained deeply ‘red’. The ‘nihilists’ in the titles at the end of the previous century gave way to The Red Tomorrow, The Red Lady, Red Radio, Red Ending and many others including the obviously menacing Red Square. Spy thrillers, from the pens of Walter Le Queux, Edward Oppenheim and John Buchan, alternated with prophetic or ‘doom’ novels, such as Hugh Addison’s The Battle of London (1923) and Martin Hussingtree’s Konyetz (1924), in which the end of the world is preceded by the Bolshevik invasion of Europe and the Black Plague. There were, however, serious fictional attempts to portray life in the Soviet Union in less sensational terms by both writers who had known pre-Revolutionary Russia (Baring, Graham, Hugh Walpole) and a young idealist generation (Ralph Fox). A most interesting contribution came from William Gerhardie (1895-1977), born and bred in St Petersburg, who while a student at Oxford published both Futility (1922), subtitled ‘a novel on Russian themes’ and dedicated to Katherine Mansfield, and in the following year a pioneering study of Chekhov, whose influence on his own writing was pervasive and beneficial.

  • 94 See F.D. Klingender, RussiaBritain’s Ally 1812-1942. Introduction by Ivan Maisky (London, 1942).
  • 95 For a guide to the translation of works from Russian as well as original English-language contribu (...)

64It was only with the Anglo-Soviet treaty of 1942, following the German invasion of Russia in June of the previous year, that relations warmed. Britain and Russia were allies again, but it was not the uneasy precedent of 1914 that was stressed but 1812 and the similarity of the struggles against Napoleon and Hitler.94 Just as the English caricaturists, George Cruikshank in the van, had directed their arrows at the French, a whole string of British cartoonists, among them Vicky, Giles and David Low, targeted Hitler and portrayed Soviet exploits with sympathy and humour and encouraged the image of the benign, pipe-smoking ‘Uncle Joe’. It was at this time that Soviet literature came into its own in Britain, epitomized in Hutchinson’s launching of its Library of Soviet Novels and its International Authors series.95 ‘Understanding our allies’ was the slogan, as the blurb to John Rodker’s Soviet Anthology (1943) makes clear, emphasizing that ‘chosen with a special eye to their variety, the stories in this anthology reveal the Soviet citizen in many aspects and particularly in that wherein he is most human’. It is this context of mutual understanding and help that Claire Knight’s chapter takes its place. She looks at the phenomenon or practice of gift-giving between the Soviet Union and other governments and, specifically, at the example provided by Clementine Churchill’s Red Cross Aid to Russia Fund over the period 1941-5 that culminated in the invitation to her to visit Moscow in 1945. It was also in the spirit of mutual understanding and a desire to shed a favourable light on life in the Soviet Union that, as Emma Minns describes, Isotype (International System Of TYpographic Picture Education), which had been invented by Otto Neurath during his time in Vienna in the late 20s-early 30s, was used for three books, written and published in England in 1945-7.

65To promote a positive image of life in the Soviet Union was the aim of the huge exhibitions staged by the Soviets at Earls Court and described in the above-mentioned contribution by Verity Clarkson. The first took place in 1961 and was symbolic of the new era in Soviet relations with the outside world, known as the Thaw and following the harshest years of the Cold War that had ended with the death of Stalin. Evidence of the cultural rapprochement of the 1960s was the great exhibition to illustrate the historical relations between Great Britain and the USSR/Russia that opened at the V&A in February 1967 to coincide with the visit to London of the Soviet Premier, A.N. Kosygin. Unlike the Exhibition of Russian Art held in London in 1935, which relied on British and European public and private (largely émigré) collections for its rich display, the 1967 exhibition was a unique example of Anglo-Soviet cooperation. The general fragility of Anglo-Soviet relations was, however, soon to be exposed with the cancelling of the Moscow opening of the exhibition, following the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Nonetheless, despite this and similar confrontations such as the earlier Cuban crisis, cultural interchange continued and developed.

  • 96 See James Muckle, The Russian Language in Britain: A Historical Survey of Learners and Teachers (I (...)
  • 97 See Malcolm V. Jones, ‘Slavonic Studies in the United Kingdom since the Second World War: A Person (...)

66Cultural agreements between the two countries enabled British graduates to spend a year in Russian universities, theatre and ballet companies to perform, art to be exhibited, and eminent literary and artistic figures to meet. The numbers studying Russian language, Russian history, Russian literature, and Soviet studies in British universities went up dramatically and from the consequent supply of able teachers, more and more schools offered Russian.96 There was a veritable flood of books and articles in journals and newspapers produced by a growing number of Russian specialists, particularly in university departments.97 Translations from both Russian and Soviet literature proliferated—and were often available in paperback. Intourist arranged tourist visits and the British public’s general awareness of political, social and cultural events in the Soviet Union increased immeasurably in comparison with earlier times by the availability of other sources of information—of radio, television and film.

67It is to film that the collection’s concluding article by Julian Graffy is devoted, more precisely to the attention that Soviet cinema received over a thirty-year period of great historical change from 1960 to 1990 in the widely-read British film journal Sight and Sound. Publication had begun in 1932, during the lifetime of The Criterion, where, as Ushakova has indicated, the new art form had been duly noted, but for reasons that Graffy explains, it was the Thaw that allowed a greater British acquaintance with Soviet film, which now commands a prime position in university curricula and public interest. He ends his survey on the cusp of the journal’s change of editor and transition from quarterly to monthly and, coincidentally, of the demise of the Soviet Union.

68This perceptive analysis brings to a close a collection of twenty contributions that have sought to shed light on the processes of one country’s reception of and reaction to another country’s culture over two centuries. Despite their diversity of focus and subject matter, they find their unity in the contribution they make to a complex picture, adding definition and clarity and understanding where previously there had been little.

Notes

1 Lloyd E. Berry and Robert O. Crummey (eds.), Rude & Barbarous Kingdom: Russia in the Accounts of Sixteenth-Century English Voyagers (Madison, Milwaukee and London, 1968), p. 75.

2 Ibid., p. 228.

3 There is an abundant literature on this fascinating period of Anglo-Russian relations. See, e.g. M.P. Alekseev, ‘Shekspir i russkoe gosudarstvo XVI-XVII vv.’, in M.P. Alekseev (ed.), Shekspir i russkaia kul’tura (Moscow-Leningrad, 1965), pp. 784-805. A recent addition is Daryl W. Palmer, Writing Russia in the Age of Shakespeare (Aldershot, 2004).

4 John Milton, A Brief History of Muscovia: and of other less-known Countries lying eastward of Russia as far as Cathay (London, 1682), p. 21; [Samuel Collins], The Present State of Russia in a Letter to a Friend at London (London, 1671), p. 2.

5 J[odocus] C[rull], The Antient and Present State of Muscovy, containing a Geographical, Historical and Political Account of all those Nations and Territories under the Jurisdiction of the Present Czar, I (London, 1698), p. 171; II, p. iv.

6 James Thomson, The Seasons and the Castle of Indolence (London, 1849), p. 196.

7 For the fortunes of Peter in Britain during the 18th century, see my Peter the Great through British Eyes: Perceptions and Representations of the Tsar since 1698 (Cambridge, 2000), pp. 40-102.

8 See my ‘British Awareness of Russian Culture (1698-1801)’, Canadian Slavic Studies, XIII (1979), pp. 212-35.

9 Travels in Poland, Russia, Sweden, and Denmark, II (London, 1784), p. 184.

10 Ibid., p. 181.

11 Ibid., p. 209.

12 See my ‘Arcticus and The Bee (1790-4): An Episode in Anglo-Russian Cultural Relations’, Oxford Slavonic Studies, NS II (1969), pp. 62-76; K.A. Papmehl, ‘Matthew Guthrie: The Forgotten Student of 18th Century Russia’, Canadian Slavonic Papers, XI (1969), pp. 172-81.

13 See my ‘The Reverend William Tooke’s Contribution to English Knowledge of Russia at the End of the Eighteenth Century’, Canadian Slavic Studies, III (1969), pp. 106-15.

14 Life of Catharine II, Empress of Russia, III (3rd edn, London, 1799), pp. 394-439.

15 See my ‘A Royal Blue-Stocking: Catherine the Great’s Early Reputation in England as an Authoress’, in R. Auty et al. (eds.), Gorski Vijenats: A Garland of Essays Offered to Professor Elizabeth Mary Hill (Cambridge, 1970), pp. 85-99.

16 See my ‘Karamzin in English’, Canadian Slavic Studies, III (1969), pp. 716-27. Translations of three of his tales, by a different hand, had already appeared in the German Museum in 1800-1.

17 See my ‘Russkoe posol’stvo v Londone i znakomstvo anglichan s russkoi literaturoi v nachale XIX veka’, in A.S. Bushmin et al. (eds.), Sravnitel’noe izuchenie literatury (Sbornik statei k 80-letiiu akademika M.P. Alekseeva) (Leningrad, 1976), pp. 99-107. On Sumarokov’s fortunes in England from the middle of the 18th century, see my ‘Angliiskie otzyvy ob A.P. Sumarokove’, XVIII vek, XIX (1995), pp. 60-9.

18 Edinburgh Review, LIII (January 1831), pp. 323-4.

19 See my ‘Early English Specimens of the Russian Poets’, Canadian Slavic Studies, IX (1975), pp. 449-62.

20 Magazine of Foreign Literature (London, 1823), pp. 267-74, 395-401. See also the informed and well-written ‘Literary Intelligence’ from Russia, pp. 61, 191, 320.

21 Letters, Literary and Political, on Poland, Comprising Observations on Russia and Other Sclavonian Nations and Tribes (Edinburgh and London, 1823), pp. 73-81.

22 New Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal, III (1821), p. 382.

23 Westminster Review, I (1824), p. 98.

24 On Shaw, see L.M. Arinshtein, ‘Tomas Shou—angliiskii perevodchik Pushkina’, in A.S. Bushmin et al. (eds.), Sravnitel’noe izuchenie literatury (Leningrad, 1976), pp. 117-24; Patrick Waddington, ‘Shaw, Thomas Budge’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, L (Oxford, 2004), pp. 127-8.

25 Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, LIII (March 1843), pp. 281-8.

26 Ibid., LVII (1845), pp. 657-78; LVIII (1845), pp. 28-43, 140-56.

27 Thomas Raikes, A Visit to St Petersburg, in the Winter of 1829-30 (London, 1838), pp. 192, 84-7.

28 Charles Colville Frankland, Narrative of a visit to the courts of Russia and Sweden, in the years 1830 and 1831, II (London, 1832), pp. 74, 227, 232, 235-46, 249-50, 269-70.

29 New Monthly Magazine, XXIX (1830), pp. 73-81.

30 A detailed description of the duel and death of Pushkin, ‘one of the greatest men that had ever adorned the literature of Russia’, also appeared in the first edition of Murray’s ‘Russia’, the indispensable travellers’ vademecum. See A Handbook for Travellers in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Russia, Being a Guide to the Principal Routes in those Countries, with a Minute Description of Copenhagen, Stockholm, St. Petersburg, and Moscow (London, 1839), pp. 161-3. The overall editor for the volume was T.D. Whatley, but the ‘footnote’ on Russian literature was written by A.H. Layard, who had visited Russia the previous year.

31 Robert Bremner, Excursions in the Interior of Russia; Including Sketches of the Character and Policy of the Emperor Nicholas, Scenes in St. Petersburgh, &c. &c., I (London, 1839), pp. 278-83.

32 Adolphus Slade, Travels in Germany and Russia: Including a Steam Voyage by the Danube and the Euxine from Vienna to Constantinople, in 1838-39 (London, 1840), pp. 505-12.

33 Augustus Bozzi Granville, St Petersburgh: a journal of travels to and from that capital; through Flanders, the Rhenish Provinces, Prussia, Russia, Poland, Silesia, Saxony, the Federated States of Germany, and France, II (London, 1828), pp. 100-33 (Academy of Sciences); pp. 138-44 (Academy of Arts); pp. 237-50 (Public Library); pp. 376-93 (Theatres).

34 Bremner, I, p. 276.

35 [Elizabeth Rigby], Letters from the shores of the Baltic (2nd edn, London, 1842), I, pp. 54-60; II, pp. 270-4.

36 [Rebecca McCoy], The Englishwoman in Russia: Impressions of the Society and Manners of the Russians at Home (London, 1855), pp. 89-95.

37 [Charlotte Bourne], Russian Chit Chat; Or, Sketches of a Residence in Russia (London and Coventry, 1856), pp. 95-6, 105, 107, 239. (On Bourne, see my ‘Early Miss Emmies: British Nannies, Governesses and Companions in Pre-Emancipation Russia’, New Zealand Slavonic Journal, 1 (1981), pp. 1-20).

38 Sketches of Life in the Caucasus, by a Russe, Many Years Resident amongst the Various Mountain Tribes (London, 1854), pp. 1-34. For a discussion of this work and other early English versions of Lermontov, see Chin Wen, ‘From Glaring Cheat to Daring Feat: Two Episodes in the Reception of M.Yu. Lermontov in Victorian England’, New Zealand Slavonic Journal, 2 (1980), pp. 1-16. Wen is over censorious in her discussion of the essay, pp. 3-5.

39 Carl Lefevre, ‘Gogol and Anglo-Russian Literary Relations during the Crimean War’, American Slavic and East European Review, VIII (1949), pp. 106, 110, 112.

40 Home Life in Russia, by a Russian Noble; Revised by the Author of ‘Revelations of Siberia’, I (London, 1854), pp. i-iv. Lach Szyrma (1790-1866) after his time in Edinburgh returned to Poland to become professor of moral philosophy at Warsaw University from 1824 to 1831. In 1831 he became a colonel during the Polish revolution of 1831 and was minister of home affairs in the revolutionary government in 1832 before seeking refuge in England, where he became a naturalized citizen in 1846.

41 Athenaeum (2 December 1854), pp. 1154-5.

42 See my ‘The English and Krylov’, Oxford Slavonic Papers, NS XVI (1983), pp. 91-140. A recent Russian study which relies heavily on my work is N.V. Kritskaia, Angliiskii vertel dlia russkikh gusei: basni I.A. Krylova v kontekste angliiskoi kul’tury XIX-XX vv. (Tomsk, 2009).

43 H. Sutherland Edwards, The Russians at Home: Unpolitical Sketches (London, 1861), pp.245-79. The work re-appeared as The Russians at Home and Abroad: Sketches, Unpolitical and Political, of Russian Life under Alexander II, I (London, 1879), pp. 115-62.

44 See M.P. Alekseev and Iu.D. Levin, Vil’iam Rol’ston propagandist russkoi literatury I fol’klora (St Petersburg, 1994).

45 See Patrick Waddington, ‘A Bibliography of the Writings of W.R.S. Ralston (1828-89)’, New Zealand Slavonic Journal, I (1980), pp. 1-15.

46 Letter from Ralston to Aleksandr Onegin-Otto, 26 December 1882, Alekseev and Levin, Vil’iam Rol’ston, p. 261. Ralston’s crushing anonymous review of On the Eve had appeared in the Athenaeum (4 February 1871), pp. 135-6.

47 Turner had included excerpts from most of these translations in his Studies in Russian Literature and in a long article devoted to Pushkin in Fraser’s Magazine, XVI (1877), pp. 592-601, 772-82.

48 Several Poems Translated from Pushkin by W.R. Morfill (London: Constitutional Press, 1860). See also ‘On the Calumniators of Russia: translated by W.R. Morfill’, Literary Gazette, V (1860), p. 63.

49 See my ‘Konstantin Bal’mont in Oxford in 1897’, Oxford Slavonic Papers, NS XII (1979), pp. 104-16; S. Il’ev, ‘Valerii Briusov i Uil’iam Morfill’, in V.S. Dronov et al. (eds.), V. Briusov i literature kontsa XIX-XX veka (Stavropol’, 1979), pp. 90-107.

50 Edwards and his wife Margaret (née Watson) were active as translators: he was among the earliest of British translators of Dostoevskii, translating from the French Zapiski iz mertvogo doma as Prison Life in Siberia (1887) and she translated Pushkin’s prose (1892), including a first translation of Istoriia sela Gorokhina.

51 Edwards, The Russians at Home, p. 152. Titled Gore ot Ouma: a Comedy, trans. from the Russian by Nicholas Benardaky (London and Edinburgh, 1857), it was generally well reviewed (Macphail’s Edinburgh Ecclesiastical Journal and Literary Review (September 1857), pp. 88-100; The Literary Gazette and Journal of Archaeology, Science, and Art (17 October 1857), pp. 992-4.

52 See I.P. Foote, ‘Frederic Aston’s Tchinovnicks and Mr Adams’, Oxford Slavonic Papers, NS XIV (1981), pp. 93-106.

53 John Buchan Telfer, The Crimea and Transcaucasia, Being the Narrative of a Journey in the Kouban, in Gouria, Georgia, Armenia, Ossety, Imeritia, Swannety, and Mingrelia, and in the Tauric Range, I (London, 1876), pp. 148-9, 189. The Telfers spent three years (1873-6) travelling around southern Russia and visited places connected with both writers. At the end of the book is a full-page advert for his wife’s Pushkin translations with laudatory quotations from many reviews.

54 Quoted in Patrick Waddington, Turgenev and England (London and Basingstoke, 1980), p. 280. See also Morfill’s review, ‘Alexander Poushkin’, Westminster Review, CXIX (1883), pp.420-51.

55 See Chin When, pp. 11-16.

56 Waddington, Turgenev and England, p. 12.

57 Saturday Review (22 October 1881), pp. 509-10.

58 Major surveys of Turgenev and the English-speaking world include: Royal A. Gettman, Turgenev in England and America (Urbana, 1941); Patrick Waddington, Turgenev and England (London and Basingstoke, 1980); Glyn Turton, Turgenev and the Context of English Literature 1850-1900 (London, 1992); Patrick Waddington (ed.), Ivan Turgenev and Britain (Oxford, 1995).

59 See Clarence Decker, ‘Victorian Comment on Russian Realism’, PMLA, LII (1937), pp. 542-9.

60 See Helen Muchnic, Dostoevsky’s English Reputation 1881-1936 (Northampton, 1939); W.J. Leatherbarrow (ed.), Dostoevskii and Britain (Oxford, 1995), with an excellent bibliography of ‘bibliographies’ and of relevant reviews, studies and books, pp. 293-310.

61 See W. Gareth Jones (ed.), Tolstoi and Britain (Oxford, 1995), with its bibliography focusing on the theme of Tolstoi’s very varied relations with Britain, pp. 279-89.

62 Jones, Tolstoi and Britain, p. 10.

63 Ibid., pp. 108, 124.

64 W.R.S. Ralston ‘Count Leo Tolstoy’s Novels’, The Nineteenth Century, V (April 1879), p.651.

65 See John Gleason, The Genesis of Russophobia in Great Britain (Cambridge, Mass., 1950); Harold N. Ingle, Nesselrode and the Russian Rapprochement with Britain, 1836-1844 (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London, 1976).

66 F. Toulmin Smith, ‘That the Representation of Russian Life in English Novels is Misleading’, Proceedings of the Anglo-Russian Literary Society, XXV (1899), pp. 88-110.

67 See my The Russian Theme in English Literature from the Sixteenth Century to 1980: An Introductory Survey and a Bibliography (Oxford, 1985).

68 See M.P. Alekseev, ‘Sibirskaia ssylka i angliiskii poet’, Sibirskie ogni, IV (1928), pp. 182-93.

69 See Barry Hollingsworth, ‘The Society of Friends of Russian Freedom: English Liberals and Russian Socialists, 1890-1917, Oxford Slavonic Papers, NS III (1970), pp. 45-64.

70 Eugene Onegin a Lyrical Drama, in Three Acts, the Libretto Derived from Pushkin’s Celebrated Poem (London: Printed and Published for Signor Lago’s Royal Opera by J. Miles & Co., 1892).

71 See Stiuart Kempbel, ‘“Sensatsiia za sensatsiei”: britanskie zhurnaly o pervykh vstrechakh s russkoi muzykoi i kompozitorami’, in N.V. Makarova and O.A. Morgunova (eds.), Russkoe prisutstvie v Britanii (Moscow, 2009), pp. 159-66.

72 See Gerald Norris, Stanford, the Cambridge Jubilee and Tchaikovsky (Newton Abbot, 1980).

73 Ibid., p. 495.

74 Philip Ross Bullock, Rosa Newmarch and Russian Music in Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth-Century England (Royal Musical Association Monographs, 18) (Farnham, 2009). See also Lewis Stevens, An Unforgettable Woman: The Life and Times of Rosa Newmarch (Leicester, 2011).

75 Rosa Newmarch, The Russian Opera (London, 1914), p. 361.

76 F.R. Grahame, Progress of Science, Art and Literature in Russia (London, 1865), p. 403.

77 See L.I. Iovleva, ‘O russkom khudozhestvennom otdele na vsemirnoi vystavke 1862 goda v Londone’, in Nezabyvaemaia Rossiia: Russkie i Rossiia glazami britantsev XVII-XIX vek (Moscow, 1997), pp. 252-6.

78 J. Beavington Atkinson, An Art Tour to Russia (London, 1986), p. 6. (This is a reprint of the original edition, entitled An Art Tour to Northern Capitals of Europe (London, 1873)).

79 Ibid., pp. 143-5 (Briullov), 171-4 (Vereshchagin), 204-6 (Aivazovskii). The foremost Russian marine artist received a much more enthusiastic appraisal from the eminent naval architect Sir James Reed, who had met him in the Crimea in 1875 (Letters from Russia in 1875 (London, 1876), pp. 58-61).

80 Ibid., p. 171.

81 Alfred Maskell, Russian Art and Art Objects in Russia: A Handbook to the Reproductions of Goldsmiths’ Work and Other Art Treasures from That Country in the South Kensington Museum (London, 1884), p. 1. (Extensive reviews of both Atkinson’s and Maskell’s books were written by the foremost Russian art critic V.V. Stasov, who was, incidentally, the mentor of Rosa Newmarch and the dedicatee of her Poetry and Progress in Russia (1907): V.V. Stasov, Sobranie sochinenii, II (St Petersburg, 1894), cols. 335-43, 823-43).

82 Rosa Newmarch, The Russian Arts (London, 1916), p. v.

83 Ibid., p. 267.

84 See my ‘Exhibiting Russia: The Two London Russian Exhibitions of 1917 and 1935’, Slavonica, XXI (2010), pp. 29-39.

85 See Catherine Cooke, ‘Fyodor Shekhtel as a Creator of the Russian “Brand”: “The Russian Village” at the International Exhibition of 1901’, Pinakotheke, 18-19 (2004), pp. 44-51. There was, incidentally, also a mock-up of a Russian village at the 1913 London Ideal Home Exhibition.

86 See Stead’s earlier long and interesting essay in The Review of Reviews (vol. III, 1891, pp. 123-36), in which he compares her activities with those of Princess Lieven in England in the first part of the century.

87 Gilbert Phelps, The Russian Novel in English Fiction (London, 1956) remains a good introduction, despite the proliferation of Anglo-American studies over the last fifty years.

88 Aylmer Maude (1858-1938), of course, was one of the most assiduous promoters of Tolstoi and his work from the time of their first meeting in Moscow in 1888. Maude bitterly regretted a twenty-five year delay before he was allowed to undertake what became the centenary edition (Tolstoy Centenary Edition, II (London, 1928), p. 397).

89 See Victor Emeljanow (ed.), Chekhov: The Critical Heritage (London, 1981); Patrick Miles, Chekhov on the British Stage 1909-1987: An Essay in Cultural Exchange (Cambridge, 1987); Patrick Miles (ed.), Chekhov on the British Stage (Cambridge, 1993).

90 The word seems to have appeared for the first time in the 1888 translation from the French of Lev Tikhomirov’s Russia, Political and Social, appearing as ‘intelliguentia’ (p. iv). It was much used by Baring and gained common currency in D.S. Mirskii’s The Intelligentsia of Great Britain (1935).

91 Newmarch, Russian Arts, p. 285.

92 See G.S. Smith, D.S. Mirsky: A Russian-English Life 1890-1939 (Oxford, 2000); Ol’ga Kaznina, ‘Kniaz’ D.P. Sviatopolk-Mirskii: talant i sud’ba’, in Makarova and Morgunova, Russkoe prisutstvie, pp. 209-20.

93 See Gabriel Gorodetsky, The Precarious Truce: Anglo-Soviet Relations 1924-27 (Cambridge, 1977).

94 See F.D. Klingender, RussiaBritain’s Ally 1812-1942. Introduction by Ivan Maisky (London, 1942).

95 For a guide to the translation of works from Russian as well as original English-language contributions in the arts in the 20th century up to the end of WWII, see Amrei Ettlinger and Joan Gladstone’s Russian Literature, Theatre and Art: A Bibliography of Works in English Published 1900-1945, London, 1945). For a more general coverage of books published during the first twenty-five years of the Soviet regime, see Philip Grierson, Books on Soviet Russia 1917-1942 (London, 1943).

96 See James Muckle, The Russian Language in Britain: A Historical Survey of Learners and Teachers (Ilkeston, 2008).

97 See Malcolm V. Jones, ‘Slavonic Studies in the United Kingdom since the Second World War: A Personal View’, in Giovanna Brogi Bercoff, Pierre Gonneau and Heinz Miklas (eds.), Contribution à l’histoire de la slavistique dans les pays non slaves (Vienna, 2005), pp. 267-301.

Notes de fin

* The essays in this collection, now revised, expanded and annotated, were first presented as contributions to the Fifth Colloquium in Russian Studies held at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, 31 August-2 September 2011.

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