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Educating Russia's Princes: Swiss enlightened tutors at the court of Catherine the Great

English title Educating Russia's Princes: Swiss enlightened tutors at the court of Catherine the Great
Applicant Tosato-Rigo Danièle
Number 163860
Funding scheme Bilateral programmes
Research institution Institut d'Histoire Université de Lausanne
Institution of higher education University of Lausanne - LA
Main discipline General history (without pre-and early history)
Start/End 01.02.2016 - 31.07.2019
Approved amount 274'882.00
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Keywords (9)

Swiss Enlightenment; Catherine the Great; Governesses; Swiss-Russian Relations; cultural transfers; Frédéric-César de La Harpe; Egodocuments; Tutors; Alexander I of Russia

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Ce projet porte sur le rôle méconnu des précepteurs et gouvernantes helvétiques présents de manière continue à la cour russe pendant plus de trois décennies. Il vise à mieux comprendre pourquoi ces Suisses (tels F.-C. de La Harpe, J. Huc-Mazelet, E. Monod, L. et J. de Sybourg, L.-D. Du Puget) sont venus en Russie dans le derniers tiers du 18e siècle, selon quels critères ils furent admis à la cour, comment ils y vivaient et quelle était leur perception du pays. Il entend aussi mettre en évidence la place de la Russie dans la tradition d’engagement d’éducateurs francophones, l’importance de l’image mythique de la Suisse (« Alpenbegeisterung ») dans ce recrutement, et le rôle de médiateurs d’idées et de pratiques des Lumières joué par les éducateurs suisses.
Lay summary

Plutôt que l’influence des précepteurs et gouvernantes, il s’agira de déterminer les contextes dans lesquels l’enseignement a permis une transmission de connaissances et de compétences, les sources de ces dernières, et leur transformation dans leur milieu de réception. Une attention particulière sera dévolue à l’apparent paradoxe que constituent le choix d’éducateurs républicains par des autocrates, et le choix de républicains d’œuvrer auprès de futurs monarques. Dans une perspective d’histoire croisée, chercheurs russes et suisses travailleront en étroite collaboration sur le même corpus documentaire : correspondances, journaux personnels, rapports etc. qu’ils collecteront dans les archives suisses et russes. Une partie de cette riche documentation sur l’éducation princière sera valorisée (1) sur la plate-forme de l’université de Lausanne « Lumières.Lausanne » et (2) dans le cadre d’une monographie, d’articles et d’une thèse de doctorat sur l’enseignement de l’histoire dispensé par F.-C. de La Harpe au futur tsar Alexandre Ier (M. Clément).

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 17.12.2015

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Anciens sujets – nouveaux cantons: autour de la "Grande Peur" de 1814-1815
Tosato-Rigo Danièle (2018), Anciens sujets – nouveaux cantons: autour de la "Grande Peur" de 1814-1815, in De la crosse à la croix. L'ancien Evêché de Bâle devient suisse (Congrès de Vienne - 1815), Alphil, Neuchâtel.
L'appel de l'Est. Précepteurs et gouvernantes suisses à la Cour de Russie 1780-1820
Tosato-Rigo Danièle, Moret Petrini Sylvie (2017), L'appel de l'Est. Précepteurs et gouvernantes suisses à la Cour de Russie 1780-1820, Université de Lausanne, Lausanne.
Paroles de gouvernantes. Aperçu sur un métier féminin méconnu (XVIIIe-début XIXe siècle)
Tosato-Rigo Danièle (2017), Paroles de gouvernantes. Aperçu sur un métier féminin méconnu (XVIIIe-début XIXe siècle), in Berthiaud Emmanuelle Scarlet Beauvalet-Boutourye (ed.), Le Manuscrit, Paris, 109-127.
Un précepteur éclairé à l’épreuve : Frédéric-César de La Harpe à la Cour impériale de Russie (1783-1795)
Andreev Andrei Tosato-Rigo Danièle (2017), Un précepteur éclairé à l’épreuve : Frédéric-César de La Harpe à la Cour impériale de Russie (1783-1795), in Slovene. International Journal of Slavic Studies, 6(2), 365-384.
Император Александр I и Фредерик-Сезар Лагарп. Письма. Документы. Том 2 (1802–1815) (L'empereur Alexandre Ier et Frédéric-César de La Harpe. Lettres. Documents. T. 2 (1802-1815))
Andreev Andrei Tosato-Rigo Danièle (2017), Император Александр I и Фредерик-Сезар Лагарп. Письма. Документы. Том 2 (1802–1815) (L'empereur Alexandre Ier et Frédéric-César de La Harpe. Lettres. Documents. T. 2 (1802-1815)), ROSSPEN, Moscou.
Император Александр I и Фредерик-Сезар Лагарп. Письма. Документы. Том 3 (1815–1825) (L'empereur Alexandre Ier et Frédéric-César de La Harpe. Lettres. Documents. T.3 (1815-1825))
Andreev Andrei Tosato-Rigo Danièle (2017), Император Александр I и Фредерик-Сезар Лагарп. Письма. Документы. Том 3 (1815–1825) (L'empereur Alexandre Ier et Frédéric-César de La Harpe. Lettres. Documents. T.3 (1815-1825)), ROSSPEN, Moscou.
Образовательное путешествие великого князя Михаила Павловича по Италии (1818–1819): организация, идеи, контекст
Andreev Andrei (2017), Образовательное путешествие великого князя Михаила Павловича по Италии (1818–1819): организация, идеи, контекст, in Клио, 10, 27-39.
Отчет Ф.-С. Лагарпа о воспитании великих князей Александра и Константина Павловичей за 1791 год (перевод с фр. В.А. Мильчиной)
Andreev Andrei (2017), Отчет Ф.-С. Лагарпа о воспитании великих князей Александра и Константина Павловичей за 1791 год (перевод с фр. В.А. Мильчиной), in Вестник ПСТГУ. Серия II: История. История Русской Православной Церкви, 77(4), 141-152.
швейцарский республиканец при российском дворе: Ф.-С. Лагарп в Санкт-Петербурге (1782-1795) (Un Républicain suisse à la cour de Russie: F.-C. de La Harpe à Saint-Pétersbourg (1782-1795))
Andreev Andrei (2016), швейцарский республиканец при российском дворе: Ф.-С. Лагарп в Санкт-Петербурге (1782-1795) (Un Républicain suisse à la cour de Russie: F.-C. de La Harpe à Saint-Pétersbourg (1782-1795)), in Prokhorenko A.V. (ed.), Evropeisky Dom, Saint-Pétersbourg, 30-51.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Université d'Etat de Moscou, Faculté d'histoire Russia (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
Bibliothèque cantonale et universitaire de Lausanne Switzerland (Europe)
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Le Pays de Vaud au cœur des débats européens. Des archives au numérique Talk given at a conference Editer un scriptomane : La Harpe et la Russie 31.05.2017 Université de Lausanne, Switzerland Tosato-Rigo Danièle; Clément Matthieu; Jancik Gregor;
Journée de mentorat de l'Ecole doctorale CUSO Etudes sur le siècle des Lumières Talk given at a conference « Pratiques de l'éducation princièreL'enseignement de l'histoire de Frédéric-César de La Harpe au futur Alexandre Ier (1783-1795) 16.03.2017 Université de Lausanne, Switzerland Clément Matthieu;


Knowledge transfer events



Self-organised

Title Date Place
Exposition "L'appel de l'est. Précepteurs et gouvernantes suisses à la Cour de Russie" 27.10.2017 Bibliothèque cantonale et universitaire de Lausanne, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Lettres de Frédéric-César de La Harpe à Henri Polier site Lumières.Lausanne International Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland Italian-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland 2017
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Mémoires de Frédéric-César de La Harpe site Lumières.Lausanne de l'université de Lausanne Italian-speaking Switzerland International Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland 2017

Abstract

This project aims to study the little-known role of the numerous Swiss male and female tutors who were invited by noble Russian families from the 18th century onwards, starting with the Russian imperial court. Emperor Alexander I of Russia praised them explicitly when he declared in front of the Swiss representatives in 1814: “From my earliest childhood I was attached to Switzerland… I was brought up by a Swiss, my brothers’ and sisters’ tutors and governesses were Swiss, hence my attachment to Your glorious people”.Indeed, at the end of the 18th century and in the beginning of the 19th century, the Russian imperial family's heirs (i.e. the children of Grand Duke Pavel Petrovitch and the grandchildren of empress Catherine II) received a higher quality education than any previous generation. The reason for this was the presence of whole range of French-speaking Swiss pedagogues, originating from the region of Vaud. These Swiss became teachers, tutors and governesses to the princes Alexander, Constantine, Nicolas and Michael and to the princesses Elena and Maria. They were continuously present at the Russian imperial court for no less than three decades - from the early 1780s to the mid-1810s.This project wants to provide detailed explanations for this rare historical convergence, which emerged against the background of the spread of the Enlightenment movement, as well as of the wars and revolutions that changed Europe and directly influenced Switzerland as well as Swiss-Russian relations.Notably, this project aims to better understand:1.Russia’s place in the European tradition of hiring French-speaking tutors as well as the importance of the mythical representations of Switzerland (the so-called Schweizerbegeisterung) in the recruitment of Swiss tutors/governesses;2.the contribution of these Swiss educators themselves to this mythical representation of Switzerland; more generally, their role as cultural intermediaries and as conveyors of Swiss Enlightenment ideas and practices to a Russian context;3.the pedagogical concepts and practices implemented by the Swiss at the Russian imperial court during the last third of the 18th century. This includes the study of how their princely pupils reacted to these concepts and practices, and of the role that personal writing (egodocuments) played in such practices (autobiographies, correspondence, personal journals).Frédéric-César de La Harpe (1754-1838) holds a special place in this project. He was the first Swiss to be invited to the court of Catherine II, and his archives, which have rarely been systematically studied until now, constitute an important collection of the Bibliothèque cantonale et universitaire de Lausanne, as well as of the Russian State Archives. Besides autobiographical documents and his correspondence, invaluable teaching material has been preserved, which constitutes the main basis for this project. La Harpe tutored not only the princes Alexander and Constantine, whom he taught several fundamental subjects. It was also thanks to him that other Swiss pedagogues, such as Victor de Sybourg, Louis David Du Puget, Jeanne Huc-Mazelet or Esther Rath-Monod, were invited to the Russian imperial court to teach the younger grandchildren of Catherine II. In this project we aim to shed light on these little-known characters. The role of Du Puget will be analysed for the first time. He hold the same functions with regard to the grand dukes Nicolas and Michael as La Harpe: he taught them French, history and geography. The little-known role of governesses, that went far beyond French conversation classes, will also be brought to light. A detailed study of the career paths of Swiss tutors’ and governesses will help to provide answers to a number of other questions: Why did these Swiss come to Russia? How and according to what criteria were they accepted as teachers at the Russian court? To what extent were they right in their expectations of what their future tasks would be - and what were the Swiss pedagogues’ perceptions of Russia and life at the Russian court? Was the tsar’s opinion of their service entirely positive or did the tutors face obstacles? For instance, it is known that during the reign of Paul I, Sybourg and Du Puget were temporarily exiled to Siberia. Finally, how did the tutors themselves evaluate the efficiency of their work?This project analyses the sources related to the learning process and their influence on the world view and the future activities of the Russian imperial family’s members. To what extent did the pupils face difficulties due to the adoption of the Swiss Enlightenment ideas? One way to find this out will be to trace the connections between the pupils and their teachers, which often lasted their entire lives. This project aims to fill a double gap. Firstly, a gap in the history of Swiss-Russian cultural relations, which until now were mostly considered from a literary perspective, while studies of Swiss emigration to Russia have paid little attention to Swiss “educational” emigration from the 18th century to the early 19th century. Secondly, a gap in the history of Swiss Enlightenment, whose influence in Russia has barely been studied beside the scientific milieu (notably regarding a Swiss presence at the Russian Academy of Sciences). Focusing on Swiss tutors and governesses at the Russian imperial court this project implies the analysis of cultural transfers. The aim is less to identify Swiss impact on Russians than to recreate the contexts in which the teaching made a transmission of knowledge and abilities possible. Another major purpose is to identify the educational sources, and to analyse their transformation within the receiving environment. Special attention will be paid to this apparent double paradox: the choice by a despotic monarch, to hire republican teachers and the choice by republicans to work with future monarchs. The gender dimension of tutoring and learning will be taken into account as well.From a mixed historical perspective, Swiss and Russian researchers will be working on the same archival sources in close collaboration, so that they can use their complementary skills to increase the quality of this project’s results. This method has already proved effective in the case of the Russian edition of the correspondence between La Harpe’s and his pupil Alexander I. The first volume has recently been published by the present applicants (Moscow, ROSPEN, 2014). The two following volumes will be completed in 2017.In addition to writing a monograph and articles in both French and Russian scientific journals (applicants), and a doctoral thesis (Matthieu Clément: "La Harpes teaching of history to the future Alexander I"), this project intends to promote the rich collection of documents on princely education preserved in both Swiss and Russian archives. Some of these documents will be made available to the general public on the University of Lausanne’s online database “Lumières.Lausanne” (lumieres.unil.ch).
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