Meyer Author of Russian, French Literature Book

Meyer book

Priscilla Meyer, professor of Russian language and literature, is the author of How the Russians Read the French: Lermontov, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, published in January 2009 by the University of Wisconsin Press.

In How the Russians Read the French, Meyer shows how Mikhail Lermontov, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Lev Tolstoy engaged with French literature and culture to define their own positions as Russian writers with specifically Russian aesthetics and moral values. Rejecting French sensationalism and what they perceived as a lack of spirituality among Westerners, these three writers created moral and philosophical works of art that answered French decadence and “desacralization” with countertexts drawn from Russian literature and the Gospels.

Meyer argues that each of these great Russian authors takes the French tradition as a thesis, proposes his own antithesis, and creates in his novel a genuinely Russian synthesis rather than an imitation of Western models.