In Artists, Writers, and Diplomats' Wives: Impressions of Women Travelers in Imperial Russia, the experiences and impressions of sixteen European and North American women who both lived and traveled in Russia during times of peace and war come alive. All these women had their own reasons for going to Russia. Some went with their husband who settled there, others went to paint the aristocracy, to help the lepers or report on the Russian Revolution of 1917. Their experiences and observations of Russian political, social, and cultural life led them to write letters and books and keep journals and diaries about what they saw and how they responded to it---both positively and negatively.
Evelyn M. Cherpak holds a PhD in Latin American history. She has taught courses in Latin American history and the role of women in Latin America at Salve Regina University, the University of Rhode Island, and the Naval War College, where she served as archivist and curator of special collections. Author of over fifty historical and bibliographical articles, this is her fifth book.
Variously seeking amusement, adventure, patronage, enlightenment and truth, Cherpak’s women travelers bring the Russian Empire back to life in fascinating detail. They reveal the sublimity and ghastliness of Russia in epochal times, and also their own hopes and dreams, prejudices and fears. Artists, Writers, and Diplomats’ Wives is engrossing and informative, for students, scholars, and general readers.
This well-chosen and diverse collection of letters and memoirs offers vivid descriptions of Russia customs, politics, and personalities, from tsars and courtiers to peasants and Bolsheviks. The women’s writings express both fascination and condescension toward Russia and Russians, identifying them as fundamentally different from the West.
A very useful addition to the accessible historical record. Evelyn Cherpak has collected eyewitness accounts of Russia by foreign visitors, from the late eighteenth century reign of Catherine the Great to the mid twentieth century rule of Joseph Stalin. Ranging from the observations of a princess to the revolutionary anarchist Emma Goldman, these excerpts provide a rich, detailed series of vignettes which provide distinct insights into Russian and Soviet society.