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On the Mechanisms Which Shaped Stereotypes of Eastern Europe in French Culture (Reflections on Vladimir Orekhov’s Book)

Khrapunov Nikita

The author of this article analyses the new book by Vladimir Orekhov which investigates the mechanisms shaping the “Crimean myth” in the public mind of France against the background of the travelogues by nineteenth-century writers Xavier and Adèle Hommaire de Hell. This couple visited the Crimea in the early 1840s. Their travel book, first published in 1843–1844 and re-issued in 1860 with important corrections, contributed to the formation of stereotypes characterizing not only Russia’s woks in the Crimea but also the image of this empire as such. Among these stereotypes were the representation of “Russian barbarians” who did not understand the value of archaeological monuments and sites and, therefore, destroyed them without mercy nor sense, and that of the weak fortifications of the main base of the Black Sea navy, Sevastopol, and Russians’ inability to create modern fleet and appropriate port facilities. The given article has uncovered the importance of Orekhov’s book in the context of the development of the methods of imagological research. The monograph under review shows the perspective of comparative researches in the travelogues and wide circle of other sources characterizing local cultural-historical context. This article also suggests the directions of further researches in the French literature on the East of Europe and the Crimea in particular.

Keywords: Crimea, imagology, travelogue, Xavier and Adèle Hommaire de Hell, stereotypes, Russophobia, Russian-French connections
Link: Khrapunov N. On the Mechanisms Which Shaped Stereotypes of Eastern Europe in French Culture (Reflections on Vladimir Orekhov’s Book) // Annual of French Studies 2021: Epidemics in the history of France.М. P. 365-378.

This article has been written within the framework of the project of the state assignment from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation no. FZEG-2020-0029.


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