This article is the first installment of a three-part contribution to the Common Knowledge symposium on xenophilia. The series of three examines the ways in which Anglo-American writers, from the mid-nineteenth until the late twentieth century, turned to Russian literature and literary theory to escape the otherwise inevitable influence of French avant-garde literary movements. These writers—Henry James in part 1, Donald Davie in part 2, and the “American Bakhtinian” critics in part 3—found in Russian examples a responsible yet radical and morally oriented alternative to what they considered the extravagant, haughty, and corrupt aestheticism of French literary culture. Thus, these essays concern the interplay of xenophilia with xenophobia. Part 1 treats James's turn, commencing around 1875, to the example of Ivan Turgenev as a way of getting beyond the example of Flaubert and the other “grandsons of Balzac” with whom he was then keeping company in Paris. Turgenev and Flaubert were both Realists, but the Russian writer, in contrast to the French, cared not only for verbal beauty but also for what James called “moral glamour” in the art of fiction.
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Noa Halevy; ENGLISH EMERGENCIES AND RUSSIAN RESCUES, c. 1875 – 2000: Part 1: Turgenev and Henry James. Common Knowledge 1 April 2017; 23 (2): 254–302. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0961754X-3815820
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