Sir Bernard Pares and the School of Slavonic Studies in London

Keywords: Bernard Pares, The Slavonic Review, Russian studies, University of London, British historiography, USSR


This article covers the diverse activities of the renowned British historian Sir Bernard Pares on the development of Russian and Slavic studies in the first half of the 20th century. He was the author of several books and a fair number of articles on Russia, edited the journals The Russian Review and The Slavonic Review. Pares also founded the first School of Russian Studies at the University of Liverpool (1907) and served for twenty years as Director of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at the University of London (1919-1939). Due to his interest in Russian politics, history and culture, frequent and lengthy visits to Russia from 1906 to 1919 and close friendship with many Russian liberals, his appointment as an official observer to the Russian army in 1915 and as a British representative to Kolchak’s army during the Civil War, Pares became one of the most authoritative British experts on Russia and rightfully assumed the position of Director of the School of Slavonic Studies. This article pays close attention to various financial and administrative problems that Pares had to cope with as the Director of the School. The author concludes that Bernard Pares’ role as a promoter of all things Russian, a translator of Russian poetry and prose, a researcher into Russian history and an organiser of Russian and Slavonic studies in Britain was indispensable.


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