Les « nouvelles de Russie » dans le monde littéraire francophone néerlandais du début du XVIIIe siècle : le cas des Nouvelles littéraires

Edwin van Meerkerk


This article explores news from Russia printed in francophone literary journals, published in the Dutch Republic in the eighteenth century. In doing so, it highlights the ambivalent view of Russia in the West. It also confirms the crucial influence of Tsar Peter’s visits to Western Europe on the image of Russia and the Russians. The francophone literary journals from the Netherlands, then commonly known as the journaux de Hollande, were considered the best informed and most objective source of news from literary and academic circles. Nevertheless, news from Russia long remained scarce. Even the Nouvelles littéraires, a journal that had a large network of correspondents and a high frequency, did not pay considerable attention to Russia. The articles that do consider Russia and Russian culture present a Janus face of an oriental, almost backward culture, and a powerful, progressive nation, personified in the figure of Peter the Great. In another case, a ‘Western’ example of scholarly debate in Saint Petersburg is taken out of its Russian context, which apparently did not seem to fit.  This image was only to change later in the century, especially under the reign of Catherine II.


journaux littéraires ; représentations ; Pierre le Grand ; Hollande ; orientalisme


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ISSN: 2333-1658