Amsterdam University Press
The French Language in Russia
The French Language in Russia
A Social, Political, Cultural, and Literary History
€ 46,95
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15.6 x 23.4 cm
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Reviews and Features

Winner of the 2019 R. Gapper Book Prize awarded by The Society for French Studies for the best book in French Studies published in 2018! The work has been commended as "Not only a model of co-authorship, but a ground-breaking study of immense scholarly distinction which makes a real contribution to the wider debate about what Francophonie is and was."

Winner of the 2019 Marc Raeff Book Prize awarded by the Eighteenth Century Russian Studies Association (ECRSA)! The prize is awarded annually '"For a publication that is of exceptional merit and lasting significance for understanding Imperial Russia during the long eighteenth century."

"[This book] will become an essential resource and springboard for scholars across a range of disciplines (history, literature, sociolinguistics) who are interested in the multifarious implications of Russia’s endlessly intriguing French connection." - Thomas Newlin, The Russian Review, October 2020 (Vol. 79, No. 4)

"This very complete, monumental, detailed, extremely well documented work initiates us into a rich and still valid history." - Valentina Chepiga, Slavica Occitania, Toulouse, 50, 2020. Originally published in French.

"Offord, Rjéoutski and Argent have produced an important, original and scholarly work which will be of interest to specialists in political, social and cultural studies, as well as linguists. This work could almost be considered a blueprint for any future studies in historical sociolinguistics." - Alison Long, Keele University, BASEES Book Review, December 2019

"This long-awaited publication of the collaborative work on Russian Francophonie in the eighteenth-nineteenth centuries presents a collection of knowledge on the subject on an encyclopedic scale. It is undoubtedly the most comprehensive, systematic and methodologically accomplished study of Russian Francophone culture of its kind and sets a new conceptual matrix for the study of diachronic multilingualism and diglossia using a variety of sources and methodologies." - Ekaterina Chown, Durham University, Slavic Review, November 2019

"This study exemplifies the rarely used possibilities of teamwork in the social sciences and shows the path for more team-written monographs, which as yet are rarae aves. The skills and expertise of the book’s three authors complement one another, resulting in a multifaceted and in-depth survey and analysis of the subject matter at hand." - Tomasz Kamusella, University of St Andrews, Journal of Historical Sociolinguistics, November 2019

"Intellectually rigorous, and based on an impressive wealth of multilingual published sources as well as unpublished or not readily available material, this book offers a new and refreshingly positive take on a subject that has traditionally been viewed negatively or at least through the prism of politically inflected stereotypes." - Helena Duffy, Royal Holloway London, French Studies, October 2019

"It is an exemplary addition, rich in detail, confident in its critical arguments and exceptionally well articulated." - W. Gareth Jones, Journal of European Studies 49(2)

"This is an exemplary study of the history of language, it deserves to be a model for future studies of other languages. The scholarship is impeccable, the range of reading is wide, the judgements inspire confidence." - Peter Burke, Emmanuel College Cambridge

"It is really original. Not only this subject, but many others of comparable significance, have hitherto been addressed only by historians with vague and general assumptions about language, or by (socio)linguists with little affinity for the historical context. It is also beautifully written and compellingly argued throughout. So far as I'm aware, this is simply the best thing of its kind available." - Robert Evans, Regius professor of History emeritus, University of Oxford

The French Language in Russia

A Social, Political, Cultural, and Literary History

-- With support from the Arts and Humanities Research Council of the UK and the Deutsches Historisches Institut Moskau --

The French Language in Russia provides the fullest examination and discussion to date of the adoption of the French language by the elites of imperial Russia during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It is interdisciplinary, approaching its subject from the angles of various kinds of history and historical sociolinguistics. Beyond its bearing on some of the grand narratives of Russian thought and literature, this book may afford more general insight into the social, political, cultural, and literary implications and effects of bilingualism in a speech community over a long period. It should also enlarge understanding of francophonie as a pan-European phenomenon. On the broadest plane, it has significance in an age of unprecedented global connectivity, for it invites us to look beyond the experience of a single nation and the social groups and individuals within it in order to discover how languages and the cultures and narratives associated with them have been shared across national boundaries.
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Derek Offord

Emeritus Professor Derek Offord, Senior Research Fellow, University of Bristol. Specialist in Russian cultural and intellectual history and the author or editor of books on early Russian liberalism, Russian travel-writing, the history of Russian thought, and the modern Russian language.

Vladislav Rjéoutski

Dr Vladislav Rjéoutski is Research Fellow at the German Historical Institute in Moscow. He is a specialist in eighteenth-century Russian and French social and cultural history and the history of education, and author or editor of many works on these subjects.

Gesine Argent

Dr Gesine Argent is Centre Manager and Research Associate at the Princess Dashkova Russian Centre at the University of Edinburgh. Her research focuses on Russian language culture, language ideology, and language purism.