The Image of Russia in French Travel Literature of the XIXth century
Authors: Jeanne M. Aroutiounova, Elena V. Linkova, Rafael A. Arslanov
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The article presents the analysis of the literature of travel of French authors of the XIXth century. Authers put the aim to create the general investigation dedicated to this therm, bringing in the quality of the source base as a quite famous works of the French travelers and writers, and little-known to a wide circle of readers. XIX century is a time of expanding cultural, humanitarian, diplomatic contacts between Russia and France, which resulted in an increase in the number of foreigners who traveled to Russia, and, consequently, of the works explaining all the features of the trip, impressions, fears, etc.
During this period, the Europeans started to visit not only Moscow and Saint Petersburg, but also Siberia, the Far East, the geography of travelling considerably expanded, and new works of foreigners about Russia appeared. Still, as in the previous epoch, the French authors writed about traditions and mores, the state and social structure, religious peculiarities, the culture of Russia.
In general, the travel literature on Russia is significantly enriched, indicating the increasing interest of the Russian state.It is not only about informative motives, but also need to learn the realities of the Russian state, the mood in society, the level of military capabilities etc.Notes of a travelling foreigners were thus provided very valuable information about the state of affairs in Russia, it was important for European readers and, of course, diplomats, military and the rulers of other states.
Of course, the French authors reproduced pictures seen in Russia through the prism of their own experience, political affiliation, certain stereotypes and myths about the Russian state and people, developed in a previous era.
However, despite a certain subjectivity in the estimates and judgments, the works of French authors are a very valuable source in the framework of imagological research, studying the image of «their» and «alien» in the view of Europeans of the XIX century.