In A Voltaire for Russia, Amanda Ewington examines the tumultuous literary career of Alexander Petrovich Sumarokov in relation to that of his slightly older French contemporary, Voltaire. Although largely unknown in the English-speaking world, Sumarokov was one of the founding fathers of modern Russian literature, renowned in his own time as a great playwright and prolific
A Voltaire for Russia polemicizes with long-accepted readings of Sumarokov as an imitator of French neoclassical poets, ultimately questioning the very notion of a Russian “classicism.” Ewington uncovers Sumarokov’s poignantly personal devotion to Voltaire as a new framework for understanding not only his works but also his literary allegiances and agenda, as he sets out to establish a Russian literature and cultivate a reading public.
"Dr. Ewington’s frequent references to the works of such pioneers in the study of eighteenth-century Russian literature as David Lang, Grigorii Gukovskii and Pavel Berkov and to their successors in our time such as Joachim Klein, the late Viktor Zhivov and numerous writers of PhD theses situate her text in the mainstream of studies of eighteenth-century Russian literature, to which her own book makes a substantial and valuable contribution." —The Slavonic and East European Review