Travelogues about nicholas i’s Russia: belgian monarchists versus Astolphe marquis de Custine

Emmanuel Waegemans

Abstract


The article focuses on the account of Belgian traveller Jan Nolet of his trip to Russia published in 1843 and known as A Trip to the North. In 1842 two Belgians went on a trip to Russia, a far-away country, still rarely visited by Europeans. They were Jean-Baptist David, a renowned representative of Flemish culture and a canon, and his younger fellow traveller, Dutchman Jan Nolet de Brauwere van Steeland. They both were opposed to the Belgian revolution of 1830 which led to the establishment of constitutional monarchy in the country with it later becoming a model to follow for the leading European countries. In Russia under Nicholas I they found the kind of rule that complied with their views, i. e. that characterized by discipline but also justice, absolute rule combined with trust in a beneficent tsar that rules the country without a conflicting opposition or insolent parliament. They visited Moscow and Saint Petersburg and saw things unfamiliar to them, and were amazed by what they discovered. They write respectfully and with a deep understanding about Russia and Russians, and they appreciate the majestic ruler Nicholas I. It is all the more noteworthy, because after the suppression of the Polish uprising of 1831, the West’s favourable attitude to Russia (after Peter the Great’s reforms and Catherine II’s regime, after Alexander I’s victory over Napoleon) was exhausted. It is this event that marks the start of constant criticism of Russia’s ways and actions by western journalists and travellers which continued until as long as 1917. The perception of Russia expressed by the Belgian travellers is also interesting because the same period is marked by the publication of a book by Astolphe de Custine, a French publicist, who criticised many sides of the Russian reality.


References


Biographie de Johannes Nolet de Brauwere, académicien néerlandais. URL: http:// johannesnoletdebrauwerevansteeland.blogspot.be/ (mode of access: 28.10.2015).

De Vogelaere, W. (1964). Johannes Nolet de Brauwere van Steelant. In Nationaal Biografisch woordenboek, Vol. I, col. 725–728. Brussel.

Ekaterina II, (imp.). (1901). Sochineniya : v 12 t. [The works of Empress Catherine II, 12 Vol.]. (Vol. 7). Sankt Petersburg, izdanie Imperatorskoy akademii nauk.

Janssens, P. (1989). Entre le general Dourakine et Michel Strogoff: des livres belges sur la Russie de 1830 à 1988. In Waegemans, E. & Stols, E. (Eds.). Montagnes Russes. La Russie vécue par des Belges (pp. 287–383). Bruxelles.

Kyustin, A., de. (Mil′china, V. & Staf, I., Trans.). (1996). Rossiya v 1839 godu [Russia in 1839]. 528 p. Moscow, Izd-vo im. Sabashnikovykh.

Pushkin, A. S. (1976). Puteshestvie iz Moskvy v Peterburg [A Journey from Moscow to Petersburg]. In Pushkin, A. S. Sobranie sochineny v 10 tt. Vol. 6. Moscow, Nauka.

Riasanovsky, N. (1961). Nicholas I and Official Nationality in Russia, 1825–1855. VIII + 296 p. Berkeley ; Los Angeles.

Shil′der, N. (1903). Imperator Nikolay Pervyy, ego zhizn′ i tsarstvovanie [Emperor Nicholas I, His Life and Reign]. Sankt Petersburg.

Tavernier, R. (1998). Le Voyage en Sibérie de l’abbé Chappe et Gerhard Dumbar, son traducteur hollandais. In Waegemans E. (Ed.). Russia and the Low Countries in the Eighteenth Century (Baltic Studies, 5, pp. 263–283). Groningen.

Van Damme, J. (1989). Le voyage de Jan B. David et Jan Nolet en Russie (1842). In Waegemans, E. & Stols, E. (Eds.). Montagnes Russes. La Russie vécue par des Belges. 408 p. Bruxelles.

Waegemans, E. (Ed.). (2000). Rusland – België 1900–2000. Honderd jaar liefde-haat [Россия – Бельгия 1900–2000. Сто лет любви-ненависти]. Antwerpen.

Waegemans, E. (1996). Knyaz′ de Lin′ kak svidetel′ potemkinskikh dereven′ [Prince de Ligne as a Witness of Potemkin Villages]. In A Window on Russia. Papers from the V International Conference of the Study Group on Eighteenth-Century Russia (Gargnano 1994). Pp. 91–97. Roma, La Fenice Edizioni.

Willems, L. (1899). Jan Nolet de Brauwere van Steelant. In Biographie nationale de Belgique, Vol. 15, col. 809–813. Brussel.

Wils, L. (1998). Jan-Baptist David. In Nieuwe Encyclopedie der Vlaamse Beweging, Vol. I, pp. 862–863. Tielt, Lannoo.

Wouters, N. (1998). Nolet De Brauwere Van Steeland. In Nieuwe Encyclopedie der Vlaamse Beweging, Vol. II, pp. 2210–2211. Tielt, Lannoo.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15826/qr.2016.1.141

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


ISSN 2311-911X (Print)
ISSN 2310-757X (Online)

 

BASE Search eLibrary WorldCat