Presenting Russia to the West : Helene Iswolsky, Russian Catholic émigré intellectual

Title: Presenting Russia to the West : Helene Iswolsky, Russian Catholic émigré intellectual
Variant title:
  • Představit Rusko Západu : Hélène Iswolsky, ruská emigrantka, katolička, intelektuálka
Source document: Convivium. 2020, vol. 7, iss. Supplementum, pp. 64-79
  • ISSN
    2336-3452 (print)
    2336-808X (online)
Type: Article
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The Revolution of 1917 radically changed the career of Hélène Iswolsky (1896–1975), from Russian aristocrat to émigré writer. Living in Paris, then in New York from 1940, she cultivated the acquaintances of her father, the tsar's last ambassador to France. She was thus connected to the Russian elite as well as to Parisian high society. Raised Russian Orthodox, Iswolsky entered the Roman Catholic Church in 1923. She became a fervent promoter of ecumenical dialogue, participating in the French Catholic Action as well as in the meetings of her Orthodox compatriots and publishing an intconfessional journal, The Third Hour. Iswolsky took advantage of her emigre position in-between, fighting against the prejudices between Orthodoxy and Catholicism and between Russia and the West in general. She has devoted a significant part of her work to informing the French and the Americans about Russia and its culture, through translations and through her own texts. Opposing communist doctrine, she presented Russia as a profoundly religious and humanitarian society oppressed by the totalitarian Soviet regime.
This article was carried out as part of the project "Potenciál migrace. Přínos (nejen) ruských emigrantů meziválečné Evropě" Technology Agency of the Czech Republic (tl02000495).