Russian-foreign connections: The image of Soviet Russia in S. de Beauvoir’s story “Misunderstanding in Moscow”


The paper is focused on the imagological aspect of S. de Beauvoir’s story “Misunderstanding in Moscow”, which is revealed on various narrative planes, combining both documentary-publicist and subjective-psychological parameters of the foreign culture reception. The hetero-image of Soviet Russia is analyzed in the aspect of a “double reflection” of the national element, objectivized in the story both in terms of the national “image” (Sartre’s initial modeling of a positive image of Russia) and from the point of view of correction of this image in the process of one’s immediate observation of the other/foreign reality, leading to its devalorization. The article connects the reception of Russia in “Misunderstanding in Moscow” with philosophical and social ideas of S. de Beauvoir and J.-P. Sartre. The national image here is characterized through the prism of traditional stereotypes of Russia, moreover, in the context of the characters’ socio-political searches, in accordance with an imagological pattern of the text, describing the stages of the individual reception of foreign culture. In particular, the article shows how the characters proceed from the feeling of otherness to cultural adaptation in Russian reality, even self-identification with it, however, finally, coming to deep alienation. Thus, in S. de Beauvoir’s story, the representation of Russia is depicted as a multi-layered process, and the image of Russia appears as a complex imagological construction.

Key words: 

S. de Beauvoir, J.-P. Sartre, image of Russia, image of “otherness”, stereotype, imagology.

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