In A Voltaire for Russia, Amanda Ewington examines the tumultuous literary career of Alexander Petrovich Sumarokov in relation to that of his slightly older French contemporary, Voltaire. Although largely unknown in the English-speaking world, Sumarokov was one of the founding fathers of modern Russian literature, renowned in his own time as a great playwright and prolific poet. A Voltaire for Russia polemicises with long-accepted readings of Sumarokov as an imitator of French neoclassical poets, ultimately questioning the very notion of a Russian "classicism." Ewington uncovers Sumarokov's poignantly personal devotion to Voltaire as a new framework for understanding not only his works but also his literary allegiances and agenda, as he sets out to establish a Russian literature and cultivate a reading public.
A Voltaire for Russia
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