Russian Orientalism Asia in the Russian Mind from Peter the Great to the Emigration David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye

Publication date:
20 Apr 2010
Yale University Press
312 pages: 235 x 156mm
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The West has been accused of seeing the East in a hostile and deprecatory light, as the legacy of nineteenth-century European imperialism. In this highly original and controversial book, David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye examines Russian thinking about the Orient before the Revolution of 1917. Exploring the writings, poetry, and art of representative individuals including Catherine the Great, Alexander Pushkin, Alexander Borodin, and leading orientologists, Schimmelpenninck argues that the Russian Empire’s bi-continental geography, its ambivalent relationship with the rest of Europe, and the complicated nature of its encounter with Asia have all resulted in a variegated and often surprisingly sympathetic understanding of the East among its people.

David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye is professor of Russian history at Brock University in Ontario. He is the author of Toward the Rising Sun: Ideologies of Empire and the Path to War with Japan.

"Schimmelpenninck van der Oye has given us a volume which provides by far the most comprehensive history in English of the academic discipline of Orientalism in Russia …Russian Orientalism is also very well-written, accessible and entertaining"—Alexander Morrison, Slavonic & East European Review 

"Highly readable…Schimmelpenninck van der Oye [has a] gift for apt and evocative storytelling."—Rachel Polonsky, Times Literary Supplement

"A fine and well-written survey of Russian Literature…Very compelling."—Michael Kemper, Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis Vol.124