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07 July 2023

Transfer of French Publications as a Factor in the Development of Russian Book Culture in the second half of the XVIII century

Bylye Gody
Transfer of French Publications as a Factor in the Development of Russian Book Culture in the second half of the XVIII century

The article is devoted to the analysis of the penetration of French printed publications into the Russian Empire in the second half of the XVIII century. Several interrelated processes that took place in Russian society contributed to this phenomenon at once. Thus, the penetration of Enlightenment ideas made it fashionable to become familiar with advanced European culture, and above all, French culture, thereby forming Gallomania. The spread of French as a common language in the nobility made it literally necessary to purchase books in French in a personal library. The desire to improve their farm and make the estate landscape beautiful required studying the experience of European farmers and designers. Critics of the emperors replenished their collections with the works of freethinkers. The development of scientific and educational institutions, in turn, led to the acquisition of foreign books in departmental libraries. The combination of these factors ensured the active transfer of foreign (primarily French) publications to Russia. The main research methods used were comparative-historical, as well as the method of comparative analysis. In conclusion, the authors come to the conclusion that, despite the existence of different streams of French literature with different content from each other, due to their reading by the educated layer of Russians, there was an active borrowing of French culture and the dissemination of these book publications. Attempts by state bodies at the end of the XVIII century to restrict the import and publication of books by French enlighteners as unreliable led rather to the opposite effect, when people massively read and studied Voltaire and other freethinkers.

Source: Ruslan M. Zhitin, Alexey G. Topilsky (2023). Transfer of French Publications as a Factor in the Development of Russian Book Culture in the second half of the XVIII century. Bylye Gody. 18(1): 56-63

Source web-site: https://bg.cherkasgu.press/journals_n/1677677200.pdf

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