History of Russia: Volume 46: The Rule of Catherine the Great: Turkey and Poland, 1768-1770

By Aston, Michael N | Canadian Slavonic Papers, March 2001 | Go to article overview
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History of Russia: Volume 46: The Rule of Catherine the Great: Turkey and Poland, 1768-1770


Aston, Michael N, Canadian Slavonic Papers


Sergei M. Soloviev. History of Russia: Volume 46: The Rule of Catherine the Great: Turkey and Poland, 1768-17 70. Edited, translated and with an Introduction by Daniel L. Schlafly Jr. Gulf Breeze, FL: Academic International Press, 1994. xxxi, 257 pages. Illustrations. Maps. Notes. Index. Cloth.

Sergei Mikhailovich Soloviev (1820-79) originally published his Istoriia Rossii s drevneishikh vremen in St. Petersburg, between 1851-79. Begun in 1976, the publication of his monumental work in English translation is based on the fifteen-- volume Soviet edition (Moscow, 1959-66). Twenty-eight volumes of the fifty-- volume set have been completed; fourteen are in progress. A complete list of the published titles, which, in the publisher's words, appear "irregularly and nonsequentially," as well as those in preparation, is available on the publisher's web-site (www.ai-press.com).

The purpose of translating Soloviev's History in its entirety is not stated specifically in the volumes that have appeared so far. The Preface to the present volume, however, indicates that a primary objective is to provide an accurate English version of Soloviev's work, with ancillary explanatory material and commentary. The work is not intended to be scholarly. For this reason "most of the author's own notes are not included because their highly specialized archival, documentary and bibliographic nature is of value solely to specialists who, in any case, will prefer to consult the original Russian text" (page xi). Similar exclusions apply to notes provided in the Soviet edition. The series makes Soloviev's History accessible to those lacking facility in Russian, and is ideal for undergraduate studies. While the translation as a whole offers another view of Russia's historical development, each volume may be read as a self-contained monograph, "edited and translated," as the publisher indicates, "by a scholar expert in the time and topic of the volume."

The work at hand consists of Daniel L. Schlafly Jr's unabridged translation of Chapters I and II of volume 28 of Soloviev's History. In content, it covers the years 1768 to 1770, specifically Russia's relations with Turkey (including struggles for control of the Black Sea and Balkan areas) and Poland (notably Russia's relations and maneuverings with respect to Poland, Prussia and Austria). Russia's interests and the prominent role of Catherine the Great in foreign policy matters are central to the focus. Schlafly observes that "Soloviev demonstrates how Russia succeeded in maintaining its dominant position in Poland while simultaneously winning decisive victories over the Turks" (page xviii).

In format, the volume adheres to the series outline provided by the editorial board. The Preface, although attributed to the author, is based on a template that appears, identical almost word for word, in each volume. It is tailored in minor details to reflect the content and period of the piece, and amended for personal comments. Explanatory material contained in the volume draws largely on "Soloviev's Consistency List" (provided on the publisher's web-site). The List includes listings of personal names, places, institutions and ranks, etc.

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