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“British Awareness of Russian Culture over Three Centuries: From the ‘Discovery’ of Russia to the End of the Crimean War (1553-1856)” with Professor Anthony Cross

Friday 3 December, 19:00 - 20:30

There will be a wine reception after the talk.

Russian culture remained but shadowily perceived until the translations of Turgenev and particularly of the ‘shaggy monsters’ Tolstoi and Dostoevskii brought to the British public a wider awareness in the last decades of the nineteenth century. It was an awareness that was bolstered by the popularity of the plays of Chekhov and Gor’kii at the beginning of the next century and soon transformed into a veritable ‘Russian Fever’, a heady enthusiasm for all things pertaining to Russian theatre, dance, art and literature in the years up to and including World War I. It is, however, the much longer period of Anglo-Russian intercourse, stretching from the mid-sixteenth century to the end of the Crimean War, and the evidence it provides of British awareness of Russian culture, widely understood and excavated from travel accounts, letters, periodicals, museums etc., that form the subject of Anthony’s talk.

WHEN: Friday 3 December, 19:00 (doors open at 18:30)

WHERE: The Auditorium, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge CB3 0DG

See the map available here.

Please note that no Zoom joining option is planned for this event.


FEE: CamRuSS members – Free; Non-members – £5; Children under 16 – Free.

Please REGISTER no later than 19:00 on Thursday 2 December (24 hours prior to the event).

Non members £5

About the speaker

Prof Anthony Cross

Prof. Anthony Cross

Anthony Cross was a Professor of Slavonic Studies at the University of Cambridge for 19 years and retired in 2004. He was previously Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Reader in Russian at the University of East Anglia 1964-1981 and subsequently Roberts Professor of Russian at the University of Leeds 1981-1985.

He was elected to the British Academy in 1989 and to the Russian Academy of Humanities in 1996. He received an Honorary Doctorate from the Institute of Russian Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Pushkin House) in 2010. Internationally known for his work on eighteenth-century Russia and Anglo-Russian cultural relations, he founded the Study Group on Eighteenth-Century Russia in 1968 and edited the Group’s annual Newsletter from 1973 to 2009. Professor Cross has written and edited some twenty-five books and has published over four hundred articles, notes and reviews. Among his principal publications are: N. M. Karamzin: A Study of His Literary Career 1783-1801 (1971); By the Banks of the Thames: Russians in Eighteenth-Century Britain (1980) (Russian translation 2006); The Russian Theme in English Literature from the Sixteenth Century to 1980 (1985); Anglo-Russica: Aspects of Anglo-Russian Relations in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries (1993); By the Banks of the Neva: Chapters from the Lives and Careers of the British in Eighteenth-Century Russia (1996) (Russian translation 2005); Peter the Great through British Eyes (2000) (Russian translation 2013). By the Banks of the Neva was awarded the 1998 Antsiferov Prize for the best work on St Petersburg published by a foreign author in 1996-1997.

His most recent books are: A People Passing Rude: British Responses to Russian Culture (2013) and In the Lands of the Romanovs: An Annotated Bibliography of English-language First-hand Accounts of Russia, 1613-1917 (2014), both published by Open Book Publishers of Cambridge.

Prof. Anthony Cross joined the Patrons’ Circle of The Cambridge Russian-Speaking Society in August 2020.


Friday 3 December
19:00 - 20:30




The Auditorium, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge CB3 0DG
Fitzwilliam College
Cambridge, CB3 0DG United Kingdom
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