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La Russie in 1839: Marquis de Custine - Essay Example

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Based on historical perceptions and analysis, Bradfield argues that Europe can be broadly classified into two distinct segments based on political ideology and socio-economic factors (95). Since the 1500s, the western part of Europe had undergone rapid transformation into an industrial powerhouse…
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La Russie in 1839: Marquis de Custine
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La Russie in 1839: Marquis de Custine

Download file to see previous pages... One of the most popular and widely read works on Russia is the book titled ‘Le Russie en 1839’ by the noted French traveler, Marquis de Custine. This book describes the experiences of De Custine and his impressions during the five months he spent traveling across the Russian empire. The book has been translated into several languages including English wherein its title reads as: ‘The Empire of the Czar; a journey through eternal Russia’. According to Kohler, the book is read even today simply for the reason that it provides a detailed account of the Russian society during the early 1800s from the perspective of the common man (42). However, a preliminary reading of this book suggests that the discussion presented is apolitical, does not rely on any theory and showcases the primary hallmark of the czarist regime – autocracy. The book explains that autocracy had been in existence since the time of the Mongols and had extended as far away as France. Based on studies by researchers like Kennan, it is clear that autocracy became a means of subjugating people and maintaining absolute grip over power (72). There is a feeling that the book somehow projects the aspirations of De Custine for a system of governance that one could admire. Ingle relies on factors such as his aristocratic upbringing, the execution of his family members for being part of the clergy and his homosexual lifestyle to answer his transformation into a conservative (168). The initial sections of the book suggest that De Custine believed in the Tsarist system and wanted a similar framework for Western Europe for the benefit of the populace. The...
La Russie in 1839: Marquis de Custine

Russia, the largest country that spanned across two continents, was ruled by the Czars who plundered the economy and followed the policy of subjugation and oppression. Differences underlying these two segments have been well documented by historians since the early 1600s. However, Todd believes that none can describe a distant and unknown society like a traveler who live and experience new societies and cultures (183). According to him, a traveler is in a much better position than other classes of individuals including historians at widening one’s perspective and understanding on an alien society. The fact that we do not live or think alike necessitates the need to spend time in a different society in order to gain a basic foundation to write on perceived differences. In this context, the works of Marquis de Custine, a renowned French traveler, are widely recognized for showcasing the Russian society and its differences from the mainstream European culture during the 19th century. Burbank states that a traveler is forced to live and adapt to a new environment (190). Based on this understanding, this paper analyzes one such work of De Custine and evaluates his comparisons between two diverse and distinct societies.
Bradfield adds that every individual in the Russian society had turned into a slave for the emperor and had to conform to his sovereign authority (29). The most potent weapon of the ruling elite was fear and oppression. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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