Russia through Foreign Eyes 1553-1900
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First Published 1970, Muscovy presents a lively and amusing selection of travellers’ tales from the most important of old and rare books. There is the journal of the Dutch sailor Struys, whose imbroglios with Cossacks and Tartars reads more like a picturesque novel than a seaman’s log. There are accounts by visitors long resident in Russia, who learned the language, made friends with people like Captain John Perry, engineer to Peter the Great, Dr Cook, physician to Prince Galitzin, Martha Wilmot, the Irish girl who helped Princess Dashkov to write her memoirs, Daniel Wheeler, the Quaker whom Alexander I invited to drain the marshes of St. Petersburg. Most of the travellers were baffled by the immense scale of Russia, some perplexed and amused by its different ways of life. They describe the Russian landscape and the Russian people: how they lived in their cities and their villages, what they ate and drank, how they built their homes, tilled their fields, how they worshipped, bore tyranny under which they lived, celebrated birth, marriage, and death.
Although Miss Wilson’s account ends in 1900, her readers will recognize in the writings of the travellers’ sudden echoes and likenesses of Russia today. This is a must read for students of Russian history.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements Sources of Illustrations Preface Part I: 1553-1600. Tudor Discoveries of Muscovy Part II: 1600-1698. Seventeenth- century Explorers of Muscovy Part III: 1698-1801. The Window into Europe Part IV: 1801-1825. The Reign of Alexander I Part V: 1825-1900. The Later Nineteenth Century List of Tsars and Tsarinas 1553-1900 Bibliography General Index Index of Persons