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Russia and Courtly Europe


  • 17 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 310 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.58 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9781107050594)

In this new book on early modern diplomacy, Jan Hennings explores the relationship between European powers and Russia beyond the conventional East-West divide from the Peace of Westphalia to the reign of Peter the Great. He examines how, at a moment of new departure in both Europe and Russia, the norms shaping diplomatic practice emerged from the complex relations and direct encounters within the world of princely courts rather than from incompatible political cultures. He makes clear the connections between dynastic representation, politics and foreign relations and shows that Russia, despite its perceived isolation and cultural distinctiveness, participated in the developments and transformations that were taking place more broadly in diplomacy. The central themes of this study are the interlocking manifestations of social hierarchy, monarchical honour and sovereign status in both text and ritual. Related issues of diplomatic customs, institutional structures, personnel, negotiation practice, international law, and the question of cultural transfer also figure prominently.

• A comparative analysis of Russia-specific discourses and Russian-European diplomatic encounters based on archival materials and published primary sources in several languages, mediating between cultural stereotypes and shared practices of diplomacy • Bridges a gap in the new diplomatic history by offering a reinterpretation of Russia's place in early modern international relations and highlighting the transcultural nature of diplomatic practice • Breaks out of the conventional 'Russia and the West' paradigm by embedding Russian diplomatic entanglements in wider trends and transformations of diplomacy in the early modern period


Notes on transliteration, spelling, and dates; List of illustrations; Acknowledgements; Abbreviations; Introduction; 1. Barbarous ceremonies? Russia's places in early modern diplomacy; 2. Facts and fictions: the organisation of diplomatic practice; 3. Through the prism of ritual: Anglo-Russian encounters in the seventeenth century; 4. Stage and audience: the Grand Embassy to Vienna (1698) and Peter I's visit to Paris (1717); 5. From insult to imperator: changes and continuities in the reign of Peter I; Conclusion; Bibliography.


'Forces a reconsideration of long-established assumptions. There have been few more impressive scholarly débuts than this dazzling study.' Hamish Scott, Slavonic and East European Review

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