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Look Inside Peter the Great through British Eyes

Peter the Great through British Eyes
Perceptions and Representations of the Tsar since 1698


  • Date Published: November 2000
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521782982

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About the Authors
  • Peter the Great's visit to England in the first months of 1698 has been called 'the most picturesque episode in the history of Anglo-Russian relations', and lives on most vividly in popular memory for the devastation caused at Sayes Court, John Evelyn's house and garden in Deptford. Recent celebrations of the tercentenary of that visit have refocused attention on the most famous of Russian tsars, but the story of Britain's love-hate relationship with him over the intervening centuries has never before been told. This study analyses changing British reactions to Peter in an extremely wide variety of printed sources - newspapers and journals, letters and collections of anecdotes, histories and biographies, novels, poems and plays. A final innovative chapter is devoted to images of the tsar as interpreted by British painters from Godfrey Kneller to Daniel Maclise, and by a whole cohort of engravers, illustrating biographies and travel accounts.

    • A short, attractively-illustrated account of the 'image' of Peter the Great in British culture and history
    • Contains rare images of Peter, some of which have not been reproduced previously in the West
    • Draws on material from literature, history and art, and uses unusual examples from well-known British authors
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… a significant building block in the growing edifice of writings on Anglo-Russian relations. It supersedes everything else written on the subject, and will appeal to historians both of Russian culture and identity, and of British media culture and international relations in the eighteenth century.' Roger Bartlett, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London

    '… a most impressive volume. It covers a formidable chronological range. It is also great fun: Cross has a masterly eye for quotes, and the book makes a wonderful read.' Jeremy Black, University of Exeter

    '… a remarkable study demonstrating the scholarly approach of Professor Cross to its full extent. He has a remarkable talent for seeking out all kinds of individuals and their works in his chosen field, as well as throwing new light on the publications of some famous writers - in this case Daniel Defoe, William Wordsworth and George Bernard Shaw, among others.' Paul Dukes, University of Aberdeen

    'This is an immensely enjoyable book … For general readers there is a wealth of fascinating stories, for scholars - copious references to rare publications.' Lindsey Hughes, Rossica

    'The book is a significant building block inn the growing edifice of writing on Anglo-Russian relations, and supersedes everything else written on the subject. It should appeal not only to historians of Russia, but also to students of British culture and international relations in the eighteenth century.' The English Historical Review

    ' … a meticulous and comprehensive account …'. The Times Literary Supplement

    'This is an enjoyable book not just for the Peter addict like this reviewer, but also for those interested in British views of Russia generally.' SEER

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2000
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521782982
    • length: 208 pages
    • dimensions: 252 x 179 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.58kg
    • contains: 32 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Prologue to a visit
    2. Peter in England, January–April 1698
    3. British reactions to the reigning Peter, 1698–1725
    4. Consolidation of a myth, 1726–1761
    5. The shadow of the bronze horseman, 1761–1801
    6. The testament of Peter the Great and British views of the tsar in the nineteenth century
    7. Peter on the British stage
    8. The British contribution to Petrine iconography

  • Author

    Anthony Cross, University of Cambridge

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