Virtue in Translation: English Novel in Eighteenth-Century Russia

Using as a springboard the eighteenth-century French and English debates about the role that “entertaining” genres (such as the amatory novel) should play in the development of the national culture, my paper examines the “translation” of such debates onto the Russian literary scene of the second part of the eighteenth century. Particularly, as I look at several translations of Richardson’s Pamela available to eighteenth-century Russian readers, I explore the contemporary Russian critics’ reaction to the British attempts to define the “good” novels of Richardson and Fielding in opposition to the “bad” French romances and to the equally suspect, French-influenced, novels of Behn and Haywood.