Theses Doctoral

Medieval Culture and Modern Exile: The Middle Ages in the Russian Religious Émigré Imagination

Pheiffer, Brittany Paige

This study looks at how three religious thinkers in the Russian émigré community, Nicholas Berdyaev, Georges Florovsky and George Fedotov, imagined the Medieval as a model for Russian culture abroad in interwar Paris. Each thinker constructs a narrative of origin for the current crisis of the Russian diaspora, a crisis that is, for all three, primarily spiritual. Images and texts from the medieval provide a blueprint for religious life in Paris and a broader corrective to the religious and theological fallacies of modernity.

Looking at polemical and scholarly texts, I demonstrate how the émigré community self-consciously created and perpetuated the (new) Middle Ages as a historical reality and an imagined golden age. I argue that their medieval models functioned to create a narrative of historical and cultural continuity with Russia, the West and antiquity.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Slavic Languages
Thesis Advisors
Izmirlieva, Valentina B.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 4, 2020