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Article

“Pushkin’s Russia”: Russian Identity in the Émigré Works of Vladimir Veidle

Russian Studies in Philosophy. 2019. Vol. 57. No. 3. P. 270-280.

This article discusses Vladimir Vasil’evich Veidle (1895–1979), a philosopher and scholar of cultural study of the Silver Age and a brilliant expert on Alexander Pushkin’s works. The focus is on the evolution of Veidle’s views on Russian-European identity. The unique aspect of the thinker’s position, especially given that his émigré works belong to what scholars have called “New Westernism,” is that, in contrast to the Russian “anti-Westernizers,” who defended the concept of a separate and self-sufficient “Russian civilization,” Veidle believed that Russia loses nothing by being in Europe; on the contrary, it acquires its cultural identity. Veidle considered the work of Pushkin, whose “Europeanness” and “Russianness” were inseparable, as evidence of this. In his émigré works, Veidle challenged Dostoevsky’s hypothesis about the “universal responsiveness” of Pushkin’s art and, through profound philosophical and cultural study analysis, showed that Pushkin himself “set limits” on his own “omni-responsiveness,” while remaining a principled disciple of “cultural Europeanism.”