Congratulations to Professor Rebecca Beasley who has been awarded the Women’s Forum Book Prize by the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies for her book 'Russomania: Russian Culture and the Creation of British Modernism, 1881–1922' (Oxford University Press, 2020).
The judges describe the book as ‘a deftly written and magisterially informed history of cultural co-creation, transition, and counter-reaction in turn-of-the-century Britain’. They continue: “Her richly detailed, remarkably entertaining discussion of both major and minor characters active in this process – from members of the Bloomsbury Group to the emerging translators and academics trained at newly founded Russian departments in Oxford, Birmingham, Bristol and elsewhere – offers new perspectives on well-known historical figures (Virginia Woolf and D.H. Lawrence) while re-introducing obscurer, but even more significant, agents of change, such as Sir Bernard Pares (founder of the United Kingdom’s first School of Russian Studies at the University of Liverpool), or the translators John Cournos and S.S. Kotelyansky. Beasley acutely situates the emergence of British modernism not only amongst enthusiasts for Russian literature, but also in the reaction against Russian influence (voiced by T.S. Eliot and Henry James, among others), in an era when British attitudes to Russian culture veered from fervency to fear. No future history of twentieth-century British literature or of Anglo-Russian cultural relations will be complete without reference to Russomania.”