Posted by Marco on March 21, 2004 at 10:27:14:
In Reply to: Ms posted by T Down on March 16, 2004 at 03:30:09:
French was indeed spoken during the 19th century amongst the Russian nobility. The use of French actually started during the reign of Elizabeth (1741-1762), became entrenched during the reign of Catherine II (1762-1796), was at its peak during the reign of Alexander I (1801-1825), and continued to a large extent until the revolution of 1917. It was all part of a Europeanization process that Peter the Great had started.
French was also used as a "secret language", especially in front of servants, as
can be seen in many works of nineteenth-century Russian literature.
In Turgenev's case, this has also some special meaning, as Turgenev himself was growing up at home speaking French (his father was a colonel in the cavalry, his mother an arrogant and tyrannical women who spoke Russian only to servants) and was only introduced to Russian literature by an old serf, a long-time family servant.
: I am studying Ivan Turgenev's novel Fathers and Sons and would like to know why the gentry spoke French at home (in the 19th Century) but not to the serfs. Is it just because of the gentry's/nobility's education? Even so why did they use French in their homes?
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