Memory and Identity in Russian Noblewomen’s Francophone Travel Narratives (1790-­1842)


Russian noblewomen
Collective memory
Francophone travel narratives
Identity formation


This article demonstrates the numerous ways in which recollective and habit memory are used by Russian no-­‐ blewomen as a device to shape social, cultural and national identity in their francophone travel narratives (1790-­‐1842). Practices of collective memory are closely implicated with those of travel in women’s leisured journeys to Western Europe and both memory and travel are allied with processes of personal and collective identity formation. Drawing on Maurice Halbwachs’s theory of collective memory, this article argues that the women use recollection to construct their identity as members of various social groups: trans-­European high society, family, nation and religious and school communities. They draw on memory in diverse ways in their texts and recollections are expressed in spatial, emotional, historical, social, cultural, religious and national terms. Remembrance offers resources for the women’s transformation from individuals into a group with a col-­‐ lective identity.
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