LA REVUE RUSSE N° 35
L’ALSACE ET LA RUSSIE
RÉSUMÉS EN ANGLAIS (ABSTRACTS)
The cultural significance of Strasbourg for Russian people in the eighteenth century (p. 30)
The present paper focuses on the cultural significance of Strasbourg for Russian people in the eighteenth century. Many Russians travelled through the capital city of Alsace in the eighteenth century, some of them leaving interesting accounts of their visit. Others stayed in town, sometimes for many months or years, in order to study at Strasbourg’s prestigious lutheran university. The paper focuses on some of these students, telling about their original social and cultural background, on what and how they studied during their stay in Alsace, and on the consequences which the years spent in Strasbourg had on their personal, intellectual and professional development after they returned to Russia.
Nikolay Karamzin and the Strasbourg Cathedral (p. 57)
The article focuses on Nikolay Karamzin’s depiction of the Strasbourg cathedral in Letters of a Russian Traveler. Even though it is very likely that the Russian writer did not personally visit the cathedral, since, at the time of his stay in Alsace, the city was overtaken by mutinous soldiers, Karamzin could not avoid describing one of Strasbourg’s main landmarks in his travelogue. In order to do so, he had to turn to written sources, the identification of which is the first aim of the present paper. The second issue adressed here is that of Karamzin’s aesthetic appreciation of the monument and of gothic architecture in general. Aware of the current aesthetic debate on Greek and Gothic styles fuelled by the ongoing British gothic revival, Karamzin appears to approve of the gothic structural design. Furthermore, he seems to have valued gothic churches as places where one can experience Burkean sublimity, and as an expression of the bold génie of Nordic peoples, to which the Russian traveler is proud to belong.
From Strasbourg to Russia : Alsatian emigrants to the Russian empire (end of the 18th - begining of the 19th century) (p. 77)
The article focuses on the activity of French immigrants in Saint-Petersburg and Moscow in the 18th century. After noticing the large amounts of people from Strasbourg living in Russia at that time, the author highlites their activity in both capitals of the Russian Empire. It seems that Strasbourg natives played major roles in education and in the arts in Russia at the end of the 18th century. While some of them took an active part in the Russian literary life, others contributed by their writings to the development of knowledge about Russia in France. Many immigrants from Strasbourg worked in the field of education, opening boarding schools or working at the Cadet corps, the famous Saint-Petersburg military middle school. Immigrants from Strasbourg may also be found among artists, members of the French clergy abroad and even businessmen operating in both capitals. For instance it seems that the Moscow French book market may have been almost monopolized by booksellers from Strasbourg at the end of the 18th century.
Fyodor Tyutchev’s Alsatian wife : Ernestina Pfeffel (p. 86)
The article focuses on the life of Ernestina Pfeffel-Dörnberg, the second wife of the Russian poet Fyodor Tyutchev. The young woman, whom the poet and diplomat met in Munich, was of Alsatian descent, though her father had left Alsace during the French Revolution to serve various German courts. Among her relatives was Gabriel Konrad Pfeffel, a minor poet and aufklärer from Colmar, who hosted many Russian travelers and students at the end of the 18th century. Following Fyodor Tyutchev to Russia, Ernestina Pfeffel fell in love with Tjutchev’s estate of Ovstug, where she led a secluded way of life, probably inspired by Alsatian Lutheran morals. She remained faithfull to the poet after he started an affair with another woman, Elena Denisyeva, and dedicated her last years, after Tyutchev’s death, to collecting and publishing his literary works.
Russian students at Strasbourg Kaiser-Wilhelms University under the Second Reich (1872-1914) (p. 99)
The article focuses on the presence of students from the Russian empire at Strasbourg Kaiser-Wilhelms University at the end of the 19th century – begining of the 20th. After establishing the number of students from Russia and the years they studied in Strasbourg, the author highlites their religious affiliation, social background and the topics they studied at the university. The article also adresses the place of women among the Russian students in Strasbourg, the students’ relations with classmates from other countries and their unsuccessful attempt to build a community.
POWs from Alsace-Lorraine in Russia during World War I
(1914-1922) (p. 114)
The article focuses on the fate of German soldiers originating from the Alsace and Lorraine regions, taken prisonners by the Russian army during the first World War. As the French Republic, Russia’s main ally against Germany, considered that most of them had been enroled into the German army against their will, they were taken care off and repatriated to France. This process supposed to sign an agreement with the Russian authorities and to sort the prisonners, in order to identify among them the Germans who wanted to escape the battlefields by pretending to come from France’s lost provinces. After dealing with these two aspects of the question, the article adresses such issues as the social reinsertion of these POWs after their repatriation and the impact of the October revolution on the repatriation process itself.
Alsatian Art in the eyes of Russian émigré writers in the 1930s (Elisabeth Skobtsoff, Georges Fedotov, Wladimir Weidlé) (p. 124)
During the 1930s, several Russian émigré writers visited Alsace. Among them were Elisabeth Skobtsoff, Georges Fedotov and Wladimir Weidlé. The first left a moving picture of the life of the Russian colony in Strasbourg. She also commented on the city’s cathedral, using its gothic symbols as motives for a play she wrote on World War II. The other two extensively commented on Mathias Grünewald’s triptych, a major painting from the Renaissance representing Christ’s crucifixion. The painting helped them elaborate some of their most profound thoughts on art, as well as on the contemporary history of the Western world, and the fate of living in exile.
Jacques Maritain’s family and the Russian composers (from the Kolbsheim archive) (p. 141)
The article focuses on Jacques Maritain’s connections with various prominent Russian composers from the first part of the 20th century. The French Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain’s marriage to a Russian emigré, Rayssa Umantsova, played an important role in connecting him with such prominent Russian musicians as Igor Stravinsky, Arthur Lourie and Nikolay Nabokov. The friendly relationships Maritain and his wife established with them lasted, at least for the last two, all their lives. A major source of information on these relationships is the couple’s personnal archive, kept in their Alsatian house of Kolbsheim, in the Strasbourg area, which historical significance is highlighted in the present study.
The « Malgré-Nous » in the archives of the Soviet POW camps (p. 152)
The article focuses on the fate of the so-called « Malgré Nous » (« Against our will »). These French Nationals from Moselle and Alsace were incorporated against their will into the German army during WWII, as the Nazis considered them to be German. After the German army invaded the USSR, many of them became POW and were imprisonned in Soviet camps, especially in the Tambov area. Since 1995, over 5000 archive items have been copied from the Soviet POW camp archives, and brought to France. The author highlites the value of the information contained in these documents, and presents the various difficulties attached to their study. In order to overcome these difficulties, the author suggests that a team of historians from various European countries be set up to study the Soviet archives on the « Malgré Nous ». Such a study would provide the reading public with valuable information both on the fate of these French Nationals and on the organization of the Soviet POW camps.
The Slavic collections from the Bibliothèque nationale et universitaire de Strasbourg (p. 160)
Strasbourg hosts France’s second largest library, the Bibliothèque nationale et universitaire (BNU). Built by the Germans after the incorporation of Strasbourg and the Alsace area into the second Reich, the library welcomed books on Slavic topics and in Slavic languages from the very first days of its existence. The major part of this collection is composed of books in Russian and/or on Russia, dating from different periods, from the 18th to the 21st centuries. This impressive collection was built on donations, such as the donation by the German poet Ludwig Uhland (1787-1862) of his personnal collection of Russian books or, more recently, the donation of Sorbonne Professor Nicolas Weisbein’s personnal library. Nowadays, the collection keeps on growing, thanks to dynamic financing, as the library defined the enhancement of the Slavic collections as one of its top priorities.
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