Writing History in Late Imperial Russia : Scholarship and the Literary Canon
Author(s): Frances Nethercott
It is commonly held that a strict divide between literature and history emerged in the 19th century, with the latter evolving into a more serious disciple of rigorous science. Yet, in turning to works of historical writing during late Imperial Russia, Frances Nethercott reveals how this was not so; rather, she argues, fiction, lyric poetry, and sometimes even the lives of artists, consistently and significantly shaped historical enquiry.
Grounding its analysis in the works of historians Timofei Granovskii, Vasilii Klyuchevskii, and Ivan Grevs, Writing History in Late Imperial Russia explores how Russian thinkers--being sensitive to the social, cultural, and psychological resonances of creative writing--drew on the literary canon as a valuable resource for understanding the past. The result is a novel and nuanced discussion of the influences of literature on the development of Russian historiography, which shines new light on late Imperial attitudes to historical investigation and considers the legacy of such historical practice on Russia today.
“Escaping the straitjacket of conventional historiography, Writing History in Late Imperial Russia makes a subtle and original contribution to Russian intellectual history by exploring the relationship between history and literature in the work of three crucial generations of historians.” —Simon Dixon, Sir Bernard Pares Professor of Russian History, University College London, UK
“By carefully examining the writings of the most prominent Russian historians of this period, Frances Nethercott skillfully reveals the literary impulse in Russian historical scholarship and penetrates into the inner workings of the historian's craft. In so doing, this fascinating book makes an important contribution to the field of Russian cultural studies.” —Vera Kaplan, The Cummings Center for Russian and Eastern European Studies, Tel Aviv University, Israel