This is the first synthesizing study of Russian writing about the Caucasus during the nineteenth-century age of empire-building. It covers major writers including Pushkin, Tolstoy and Lermontov, but also introduces material from travelogues, oriental studies, ethnography, memoirs, and the utterances of tsarist officials and military commanders. Setting these writings and the responses of the Russian readership in historical and cultural context, Susan Layton examines ways that literature underwrote imperialism. But her study also reveals the tensions between the Russian state's ideology of a European mission to civilize the Caucasian Muslim mountaineers, and romantic perceptions of those peoples as noble primitives whose extermination was no cause for celebration.
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