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From Orientalism to Cultural Capital

The Myth of Russia in British Literature of the 1920s

Olga Soboleva and Angus Wrenn

From Orientalism to Cultural Capital presents a fascinating account of the wave of Russophilia that pervaded British literary culture in the early twentieth century. The authors bring a new approach to the study of this period, exploring the literary phenomenon through two theoretical models from the social sciences: Orientalism and the notion of «cultural capital» associated with Pierre Bourdieu. Examining the responses of leading literary practitioners who had a significant impact on the institutional transmission of Russian culture, they reassess the mechanics of cultural dialogism, mediation and exchange, casting new light on British perceptions of modernism as a transcultural artistic movement and the ways in which the literary interaction with the myth of Russia shaped and intensified these cultural views.

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Acknowledgements

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to a large number of colleagues and friends with whom we have had the chance to discuss informally the themes of this book. First and foremost we are immensely grateful to Professor Philip Ross Bullock of Wadham College, Oxford for the benefit of his expertise in this field over many years and especially for kindly agreeing to write the preface to this volume. Professor Rebecca Beasley of Queen’s College, Oxford and Dr Matthew Taunton (University of East Anglia), very much the driving forces behind the Russia Research Network which has been meeting regularly in London, deserve special thanks for providing encouragement and direction throughout the past two years. Professor Patrick Parrinder, doyen of Wells scholars, very kindly spoke at LSE at our invitation, and gave invaluable help in relating the period of Wells’ life covered in this book to the writer’s career overall. We would like to thank Professor Leonee Ormond for her expertise and encouragement in the fields of Barrie and Galsworthy. Dr Alexandra Smith provided very helpful suggestions on D. H. Lawrence. We also thank: Victoria and Albert Museum Collections; Punch archives, Tate Britain and Press Association collection for assistance with images. Christabel Scaife, our editor at Peter Lang, has been patient and helpful in equal measure in seeing the project through to completion. ← xiii | xiv →