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Seeing the Imperial Other: Western European Travelers in the Russian Steppe Frontier


Through the 18th and 19th centuries, Russia stood at an unusual distance from Europe: both alien and familiar, both enlightened empire and backwards tyranny, and most importantly, both Occident and Orient. Spanning across the vast Eurasian landmass, the land of the Tsars and their subjects appeared to Western Europeans, particularly the British, as a developing empire ripe for investment and hungry for Western expertise, a place for “The Grand Tour” across the provinces,[i] and a space where the categories of ‘barbarian’ and ‘civilization’ were blurred by the proximity of Russia’s conquered territories to its imperial core. It is telling that one of the most famous Western European travelers, the Marquise de Custine wrote of traveling into Russia as traveling into the “confines of Asia.”[ii] The same can be said of the Russians, due in no small part to the historical fact that “Russia’s geography has instilled some ambiguity among the inhabitants about its continental allegiance…”[iii] Yet there was one area of the Russian Empire that appears in the large array of 18th and 19th century travel writings from Russia as noticeably stranger and mysterious: the Eurasian steppe. These huge grasslands, as well as their arid and mountainous peripheries, were where Turkic and Mongol nomads maintained their traditional lifeways, and also where the expansion of the Russian Empire formed a vast frontier in which they settled successive waves of peasants and their Cossack protectors. It was here, far from the imperial cores of St. Petersburg and Moscow, where Western Europeans encountered landscapes, peoples, and power structures that made them “strangers in a strange land.”[iv] The steppe was a place of haunting beauty and peoples seemingly frozen in time, and a place where travelers were able to see the processes of empire like conquest, consolidation, and control.

However, these travelers were not simply objective observers, despite their claims to impartiality and a dedication to truth embodied by the words of French geologist Xavier Hommaire de Hell: “I was enabled to collect the most authentic information respecting the state of men and things.”[v] These travelers saw the Russian steppe frontier through the lens of empire, particularly the developments of imperialism and global colonies through the 18th and 19th centuries. As Mary Louise Pratt writes in relation to Western travel writers: “empires create in the imperial center of power an obsessive need to present and re-present its peripheries and its others to itself. It becomes dependent on others to know itself.”[vi] The travel writings on the Russian steppe frontier published in English present an opportunity to see how Western Europeans and the British publishing houses who disseminated their works perceived the Russian Empire as an ‘imperial other’ that was paradoxically both strange and familiar, yet uncivilized. This ‘imperial other’ was constructed similarly to the “rest of the world”[vii] created in other places by travel writers, professional explorers, and imperial administrators, but can best be summarized in the words of postcolonial writer Edward Said: “to build a conceptual framework around the notion of us-versus-them… our civilization is known and accepted, theirs is different and strange—whereas in fact the framework separating us from them is belligerent, constructed, and situational.”[viii] These constructed visions of the Russian steppe frontier provided their British readers with a version of the Russian Empire and its peripheries which embodied Casey Blanton’s description of travel books as “vehicles whose main purpose is to introduce us to the other,” and evolved alongside the publishing industry, embracing that industry’s narrative and historical developments.[ix] In their published works, these Western European travelers constructed a unique version of the Russian Empire, its nomadic subjects and adversaries, and the steppe landscape that played into their existing beliefs about their own countries’ imperial projects. In this way, these travel accounts and their authors played a central role in constructing the Russian Empire and its steppe frontier in the minds of their Western European readers, playing into the categories and ideology established in their own empires.

Ways of Seeing – Land

The first area which these travelers portrayed to their Western European audiences was the steppe itself. The steppe was not an insignificant or marginal zone within the Russian Empire, but exactly the geographical and spatial stage where the Russian imperial project met one of its greatest challenges. From their earliest history, the peoples who would later form the core of the Russian Empire faced raids from the nomads that inhabited the steppes to the south of the forests of Moscow and Siberia, and while the conquest of far larger Siberia took a relatively short time, it took the Russian state centuries to conquer, subjugate, and settle the steppes. Alongside the fierce inhabitants that often stood in the way of imperial control, the landscape itself played the role of main adversary. As reflected by the travel writers, the steppe was impossibly vast even compared to other Russian regions, and travel itself was often deadly. For example, in 1743 the doctor John Cook recorded a story of several hundred Cossack horsemen frozen to death on the ride from Tsaritsyn to Astrakhan, a distance of less than 270 miles.[x] As the Russian steppe frontier expanded from the Volga to the Central Asian steppe in the 19th century, the distances grew even further, and the environmental dangers only increased. The Atkinsons, a British couple, journeyed over 5,000 miles in one journey from Moscow to Central Asia, the majority of it through the steppe.[xi] Several of the travelers also described the fierce weather of the steppe unhindered by natural obstacles, referred to in Fred Burnaby’s 1877 work as the “Bouran” wind, which could arise suddenly and was feared even by the tough drivers of horse teams across the steppe.[xii] Lucy Atkinson mentioned this same wind, which had the ability to throw bricks and move yurts, which were usually large enough for an adult to stand up comfortably.[xiii] The steppe therefore appears in the travel accounts as a hostile landscape, one where, in the words of Thomas Atkinson, “I suffered much both from hunger and thirst, have run many risks… I have several times looked upon what appeared inevitable death.”[xiv]

Beyond its actively dangerous character, the traveler Herbert Wood wrote in 1876 of the “monotony of almost endless plains near the Volga. The dreariness of the route is heightened by the scarcity of timber, and the blanched stems of the birch-trees… add to, rather than lessen, the mournful aspect of the flat, far-stretching country.”[xv] For Western Europeans, and especially the British, the vast grasslands of the steppe appeared from the beginning as barren as a desert; traveler John Bell described the steppe he saw near the Volga as “waste and uncultivated,”[xvi] and a “wild desert.”[xvii] Hommaire de Hell’s description of the Caspian steppe went even further with its impressions of pure desolation: “For two days and two nights our journey lay through a horrid tract of loose sand, with nothing to be seen… a few patches of wormwood, the melancholy foliage of which was in perfect harmony with the desolate aspect of the landscape.”[xviii] Lucy Atkinson acknowledged the same feelings traveling across the both awe-inspiring and fear-inducing landscape of the Central Asian steppe: “we arrived at the steep descent on to the steppe, which lay before us like a map, with nothing to bound the horizon. There is something grand, even in contemplating a steppe… our little party looked like mere specks on this interminable waste.”[xix] Though at first glance these passages on the landscape of the steppe seem to be simply descriptive, these may be some of the most active aspects of the travel works, especially when taking into account the fact that travel writings are “the production of… corporeal subjects moving through material landscapes… all geographies are imaginative geographies, fabrications in the literal sense of ‘something made’”[xx] The descriptions of the steppe as ‘waste’ and ‘desolate’ therefore performed the task of making it strange and placing the landscape, and the people who lived in it, in opposition to Western European conceptions of geography.

All of this desolation was populated primarily by ruins, of which nearly every Western European traveler commented, reflecting the Enlightenment obsession with the categorization of civilizations both extant and ruined;[xxi] ruins proved to travelers that a higher level of civilization had preceded the contemporary nomads and Russians. This attitude towards ruin and civilization were embodied by naturalist Peter Simon Pallas’s remarks that the “vestiges of a former population are everywhere visible…we saw the ruins of ancient Tartarian buildings… The tooth of time, and the depredations of the vulgar, have many years since converted these remarkable vestiges of antiquity into heaps of ruins.”[xxii] In this way, the history of the steppe was palpable in conjunction with the perceived sterility and ruination of the landscape, as Wood writes: “the deficiency [of beauty] is amply compensated by the crowd of past memories which environ them. Across this gloomy country, which led to the haunts of the gold-guarding griffins, passed the track of the early Turanian tribes…”[xxiii] This is reflected in the works of French traveler Carla Serena, who included references to the Bible and classical myths to help orient her French audience to the heretofore unknown peoples and places she described.[xxiv] This same tendency to equate history and myth within the steppe landscape is present even in the work of the Swedish captive Johann Strahlenberg in the first decade of the 18th century, whose maps and writings include anachronistic references to the lands where “Dalai Lama, or Prester John, has his residence” and “Zingiz Chan… who laid the Foundation of the Tartarian Monarchy.”[xxv] The lands that these travelers saw were therefore intimately connected in the minds of their readers primarily as places of danger, desolation, and history that oftentimes excluded or sidelined the living inhabitants in favor of exciting the readers’ senses with extravagant, almost Gothic descriptions of landscapes that the average reader in London or Paris would regard as nearly as impossible to comprehend as the face of the moon. The land, imbued with its history and adventure, therefore helped readers to interpret the stage upon which the peoples and power structures of the Russian steppe frontier would play their roles. The strange landscape also acted in concert with developments in literature, especially the evolution of narrative and the sense of adventure that helped to bring about the “loose and shifting borders” of the travel works, landing them somewhere between nonfiction and fiction.[xxvi] The inclusion of mythical and legendary characters, and allusions to classical or Biblical figures helped to configure the Russian steppe frontier in the minds of readers, but also introduced elements of fiction that made the works more attractive to potential readers.

Ways of Seeing – People

The second major area where travel writers interpreted the Russian steppe frontier for their audiences was the people, specifically their characterizations of the nomads who made the steppe their home. Echoing the ideas of 19th century science and history, Lucy Atkinson opens her work with themes that her Victorian readers steeped in adventure literature would be familiar with: “the strange incidents which befell myself, often left alone with an infant in arms, among a semi-savage people… among the wild Kirghis…”[xxvii] The idea of nomadic peoples as “wild” and “uncivilized” is omnipresent in the travel writings of Western Europeans, and can be seen as the primary way that they were seen by the writers and their audiences. As Ingrid Kleespies writes, “the appearance of these words—civilization and nomad—lies in the twin Enlightenment impulses of global discovery and the development of the social sciences.”[xxviii] The work of the de Hells’ are even less subtle, verging upon insulting when describing a party at the house of a Russianized Kalmyk prince: “what completed the illusion [of civilization] was the thought that the author of these prodigies was a Kalmuck prince, a chief of those half-savage tribes that wander over the sandy plains of the Caspian Sea… whose existence seems to us almost fabulous, such a host of mysterious legends do their names awaken in the mind.”[xxix] The German missionaries Zwick and Schill similarly didn’t restrain themselves in their descriptions of the Kalmyks to whom they attempted to minister: “they regulate their behavior slavishly by that of their rulers, and if the latter be changed, the former will speedily alter.”[xxx] From earlier travel accounts a reader can discern an attempt to portray nomads as naturally free, though uncivilized, as John Bell wrote: “their wandering unconfined manner of life naturally inspires them with the sentiments of liberty… All their wealth is their flocks; like those who lived in the early ages of the world.”[xxxi] This is further enforced by the Pallas’ description of nomadic lifeways as stubborn and uncivilized: “Frequent attempts have been made to induce them to form a settlement; but they are so much accustomed to uncontrolled and vagrant habits…”[xxxii] The nomads, principal inhabitants of the steppe, therefore appeared to the travelers and their readers as living an unchanging and primordial existence, as Lucy Atkinson wrote about in romantic terms: “one would almost wish to be a Kirghis, wandering, like them, amongst all that is beautiful in nature—but then comes the thought that this would be but an idle life.”[xxxiii] So far from the Western European ideas of private property and fixed settlements, the nomads appeared as “uncultivated daughters of nature,”[xxxiv] and therefore outside civilization as long as they remained in their traditional lifeways.

These perceptions of nomads as wild and uncontrollable blended seamlessly into ideas of nomads as prone to random violence and banditry. The 18th century travel accounts are replete with worries about, and examples of nomads attacking travelers and settlers, like those of John Cook about his experience fighting off Kalmyks on the Volga: “Thus we pass the remains of the night in fear of these barbarians… The cause of my wife’s great fear was the continual accounts, which we frequently were informed of, of the most atrocious barbarities committed by these Kalmucks…”[xxxv] Reflecting the fears of travelers in the steppe, Zwick and Schill described traveling in the steppe under the constant fear of raid and murder: “we had been told, that, just in this very neighborhood, a merchant of Zaritzin had been plundered, and some others cruelly murdered… we were equally (indeed more) sure of being put to death if we made no resistance.”[xxxvi] Pallas described the necessity of a military cordon against the nomads: “Hordes of those banditti in winter prowl as far as the Volga, along the shores of the Caspian Sea, and to the sandy desert of Naryn, where they commit numerous petty depredations.”[xxxvii] Even the Atkinsons, probably some of the wealthiest of the Western European travelers in the Russian steppe frontier, were threatened at least once, according to Lucy Atkinson, who sketches a strange picture of herself as a heavily-armed pregnant British woman in Central Asia: “for me to be at least able to defend myself in case of an attack… amongst the wild tribes…”[xxxviii] These travel writers therefore portrayed the nomadic inhabitants of the steppe as nearly subhuman, totally opposed to the ideas of civilization and life from Western Europe. The mobile life of the pastoral nomad was something to be remarked upon, in the same passage as an interesting bush or tree, or to be sketched as a romantic vignette, or to note the strange costumes and customs that these peoples held, or at worst words that portray them all as irredeemable criminals and murderers. All of this plays into the perceptions of these peoples and the land as so strange as to be permanently cut off from the rest of developing civilization, even temporally in the case of the nomads living like Biblical shepherds. The roots of these perceptions lay in large part in the imperial core of Britain, as Priya Satia writes, “Historians mapped out the progressive development of societies along discrete stages of civilization… Where the West was dynamic, the place of progress and history, the East was passive, timeless and unchanging.”[xxxix]

Ways of Seeing – Power

The third major area that Western European travel writings touched upon was the processes of empire, in other words the power structures of the Russian Empire that were at their most visible in the Russian steppe frontier. The direct involvement of the central government in the conquest and settlement of the steppe frontier meant that their agents and officials were omnipresent in travel writings, forming the only elements of “civilization” present in the steppe frontier of the Russian Empire across the 18th and 19th centuries. The earliest example of this is John Cook’s extended description of the famous Russian frontier governor V.N. Tatishchev, whom he characterizes as “neither tied down by the laws of honour, honesty, religion, nor any thing else invented for keeping mankind in good order: No, Tatishoff [sic] laughed at all laws human and divine.”[xl] This did not keep Cook from noting his abilities as a governor however: “[he had] great abilities to manage affairs with such wild, fluctuating, and unsteady people as the Kalmucks…”[xli] The ideas of Russian mismanagement of their imperial subjects are widespread across all travel writings, but the unique situations of the steppe frontier introduced darkly comedic scenes such as one witnessed by Zwick and Schill, wherein the “High Pristaw,” or the governor appointed over the subjugated Kalmyks was sent to force the Kalmyk leadership to accept Bibles distributed by the missionaries, interestingly, as noted by the missionaries, “No interpreters of the Calmuc language were present.”[xlii] This power dynamic, forced upon the Kalmyks after the famous 1771 flight to China by the majority of Kalmyks due to the expansion of settlements and increasing economic desperation,[xliii] was also noted in the de Hell travel memoir: “Hemmed in on all sides by lines of Cossacks, the tribes were constrained to accept the Russian sway in all its extent.”[xliv] This process of subordination described by the Western European travelers is a common theme amongst relationships between sedentary states and nomads, but was seen through the existing lens of civilization established in the imperial core. This allowed travelers such as Hebert Wood to wax poetic about Russia’s “immense and mysterious possibilities of the future,” which implies the existence of a scale of civilization on which the Russian state was progressing, in large part due to their conquest and subordination of nomadic peoples like the Kalmyks and Kazakhs.[xlv] Similarly to how the British and other Western European empires had conquered and colonized overseas territories, the travel writers were traveling through an area that was undergoing a process of “internal colonization” where the boundaries between colony and metropole were blurred.[xlvi]

The Cossacks also play a great role as imperial enforcers throughout the travel accounts, appearing as guards and the constant presence of imperial authority amongst the nomads and the vast steppes. Lucy Atkinson praises the Cossacks in her writing in opposition to more unsavory elements of the imperial administration: “We have had many Cossacks in our service, but never found them otherwise than willing, trustworthy men… The soldiers are quite a different race of men. We never had but two, and both of them thieves.”[xlvii] I have already stated that John Cook’s Cossacks were willing to freeze to death on their horses rather than refuse an order by the Governor Tatishchev, but as he also notes, they performed extrajudicial killings of Kalmyks “according to the customs of the Cossacks,” as part of an ongoing feud between the two groups, one of which was firmly in imperial service and the other mercurial in their respect of imperial laws.[xlviii] Wood also describes the Cossacks as imperial frontier enforcers, as he writes of “the frontier Cossack outposts, for overawing the Kirghiz of the steppes, and for protecting and extending the commerce of Russia with Central Asia.”[xlix] The Western European travelers therefore saw the frontier as a place where the problems and successes of the Russian Empire were on display, the clumsy and heavy-handed administration contrasted with the valiant Cossacks who performed the real work of fighting, dying, and extending the reach of imperial power.

Publishing Travel Writing

The travel works described here would be mere curiosities of the time if not for the fact that they were written and published at a time when publishing was developing, and by the 19th century had begun to blossom into something resembling its current, global form.[l] All of the books quoted here were transmitted through publishers to the British public in the 18th and 19th centuries, being both translated when necessary and formed into books made, in most cases, for commercial sale. In connection with changes in copyright and the growth of the reading public from the mid-18th century onwards, the publishing industry grew and innovated at a rapid rate, thanks to publishers like John Murray.[li] John Murray is important because besides being a major publisher of travel works about places outside Europe to the tune of over 200 between 1773 and 1859,[lii] it published the Recollections of Lucy Atkinson, quoted extensively above and perhaps the most well-known in the 19th century of the travel accounts about the Russian steppe frontier, and maybe Central Asia in general.[liii] John Murray also published an influential book for travelers about the region that played a role in portraying the Russian Empire to the British reading public, and which was published across Europe, including in St. Petersburg.[liv] John Murray is far from the only major publishing house to appear on the title pages of the travel accounts of the steppe; another name that would be immediately recognizable to the discerning British reader would be Chapman and Hall, who published the de Hell memoirs and were the exclusive publishers of Charles Dickens for the majority of his career.[lv] Yet another famous name to appear in the travel writings is that of Smith, Elder, and Company, which published Herbert Wood’s travel memoir and were also the publishers of Charlotte Bronte, Alfred Tennyson, and William Thackeray.[lvi] Though accurate sales figures are nigh impossible to find even for the 19th century, the fact that these travel works about the Russian steppe frontier were published in conjunction with the development of the British publishing industry, and were published by famous British publishers, shows that they were available at least to the London reading public. The fact that major British publishers were involved in translating and printing travel accounts is telling about the economic viability and importance of these works to the evolving British publishing landscape, which became global with the expansion of the British Empire.


The Russian steppe frontier remained, to use the words of Herbert Wood in regards to the frontier city of Orenburg, an “Ultima Thule of Europe in the East,”[lvii] across the 18th and 19th century. It was there that Strahlenberg, a Swedish prisoner in Peter’s Siberia, set the arbitrary boundary line between Europe and Asia,[lviii] cutting the majority of the Tsar’s domain off from that continent he sought to emulate with his reforms, and thereafter cherished by generations of imperial officials and intelligentsia. The Western Europeans who traveled through the vast steppe lands played an integral role in forming the perceptions of their growing national reading publics, firstly about the steppe landscapes that they saw and which seemed to them to be something out of history and myth, secondly about the peoples whose customs and habits seemed like those of Biblical patriarchs, and thirdly about the empire that stood seemingly at the edge of the world, often defying their expectations of what made constituted an empire. Unknowingly, or knowingly, these travelers were contributing to the construction of a binary that would long outlive them through their intellectual and ideological descendants – that between West and East, between Occidental and Oriental Europe. As Larry Wolff writes, “The Enlightenment had to invent Western Europe and Eastern Europe together, as complementary concepts, defining each other by opposition and adjacency. Travelers were essential to this work of orientation…”[lix] By portraying the Russian steppe frontier according to their preexisting conceptions of the world and the “scale of civilization,” these travelers were enacting the process of presenting and re-presenting an ‘imperial other’ as framed by the work of Mary Louise Pratt and Edward Said. The Russian Empire was understandable, yet strange, and its subject peoples fell loosely into existing imperial categories, yet remained distinct due to the unique landscape on which their lifeways depended. The travelers’ ways of seeing left their writings as a reminder of the continual progress towards greater understanding, and the persistence of their perceptions in the public understandings of the region and its history calls for new ways of seeing, and new ways of understanding the “imperial other.”

[i] Anthony Cross, In the Lands of the Romanovs: An Annotated Bibliography of First-hand English-language Accounts of the Russian Empire (1613-1917) (Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, 2014), 12-17. [ii] Astolphe de Custine, Empire of the Tsar: A Journey through Eternal Russia (New York: Doubleday, 1989), 229. [iii] David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, Russian Orientalism: Asia in the Russian Mind from Peter the Great to the Emigration (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010), 4. [iv] Ex. 2:22 (King James Version). [v] Xavier Hommaire de Hell, and Adele Hommaire de Hell, Travels in the Steppes of the Caspian Sea, the Crimea, the Caucasus, &c (London: Chapman and Hall, 1847), Preface. [vi] Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation, 2nd ed. (London: Routledge, 2008), 4. [vii] Pratt, Imperial Eyes, 4. [viii] Edward Said, “The clash of definitions,” in Reflections on Exile and Other Essays (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003), 577. [ix] Casey Blanton, Travel Writing: The Self and the World (London: Routledge, 2002): xi-xii. For further discussion of the long history of travel writing, see Zweder von Martels, ed., Travel Fact and Travel Fiction: Studies on Fiction, Literary Tradition, Scholarly Discovery and Observation in Travel Writing (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994). [x] John Cook, Voyages and Travels Through the Russian Empire, Tartary, and Part of the Kingdom of Persia, 2 vols. (Edinburgh: Printed for the Author, 1770), 2:116-117. [xi] Lucy Atkinson, Recollections of Tartar Steppes and Their Inhabitants (London: John Murray, 1863), 4. [xii] Fred Burnaby, A Ride to Khiva: Travels and Adventures in Central Asia (London: Cassell, Petter & Galpin, 1877), 115. [xiii] Atkinson, Recollections, 109. [xiv] Thomas Atkinson, Oriental and Western Siberia: A Narrative of Seven Years' Exploration and Adventures in Siberia, Mongolia, the Kirghis Steppes, Chinese Tartary, and a Part of Central Asia (London: Hurst and Blackett, 1858): v. [xv] Herbert Wood, The Shores of Lake Aral (London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1876), 14. [xvi] John Bell, Travels from St. Petersburg in Russia, to Diverse Parts of Asia, 2 vols. (Glasgow: Printed for the Author by R. and A. Foulis, 1763), 1:28. [xvii] Bell, Travels, 1:181. [xviii] Hommaire de Hell, Travels, 202. [xix] Atkinson, Recollections, 103. [xx] James Duncan and Derek Gregory, eds., Writes of Passage: Reading travel writing (London: Routledge, 1999): 5. [xxi] Jane Lydon and Uzma Z. Rizvi, eds., Handbook of Postcolonial Archaeology (Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2010), 23-24. [xxii] Peter Simon Pallas, Travels through the Southern Provinces of the Russian Empire in the years 1793 and 1794, trans. Francis William Blagdon (London: Printed for John Stockdale, 1812), 123, 163-165. [xxiii] Wood, The Shores of Lake Aral, 24. [xxiv] Daniele Artoni, “Alone in the Steppes: Carla Serena in the peripheries of the Russian Empire,” in Mobility in the Russian, Central and East European Past, ed. Róisín Healy (London: Routledge, 2019), 49. [xxv] Philipp Johann von Strahlenberg, An historico-geographical description of the north and eastern parts of Europe and Asia, but more particularly of Russia, Siberia, and Great Tartary; both in their ancient and modern state… (London: W. Innys and R. Manby, 1738), 13. [xxvi] Jan Borm, “Defining Travel: On the Travel Book, Travel Writing and Terminology,” in Perspectives on Travel Writing, ed. Martin Stannard and Greg Walker (London: Routledge, 2016): 26. [xxvii] Atkinson, Recollections, vi. [xxviii] Ingrid Kleespies, A Nation Astray: Nomadism and National Identity in Russian Literature (DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 2012), 12. [xxix] Hommaire de Hell, Travels, 168. [xxx] Henry Augustus Zwick, and John Golfried Schill, Calmuc Tartary; or a Journey to Sarepta to Several Calmuc Hordes of the Astracan Government (London: Holdsworth and Ball, 1831), 66. [xxxi] Bell, Travels, 31. [xxxii] Pallas, Travels, 117. [xxxiii] Atkinson, Recollections, 185. [xxxiv] Atkinson, Recollections, 56. [xxxv] Cook, Voyages and Travels, 1:208. [xxxvi] Zwick and Schill, Calmuc Tartary, 185. [xxxvii] Pallas, Travels, 126. [xxxviii] Atkinson, Recollections, 21. [xxxix] Priya Satia, Time’s Monster: How History Makes History (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2020): 70. [xl] Cook, Voyages, 1:81. [xli] Cook, Voyages, 1:81. [xlii] Zwick and Schill, Calmuc Tartary, 221-229. [xliii] Michael Khodarkovsky, Russia’s Steppe Frontier: The Making of a Colonial Empire, 1500-1800 (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2002), 141-146. [xliv] Hommaire de Hell, Travels, 236. [xlv] Wood, Shores of Lake Aral, 4. [xlvi] For an in-depth discussion of the term ‘internal colonization’ and its importance to the Russian imperial experience, see Alexander Etkind, Internal Colonization: Russia’s Imperial Experience (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2011). [xlvii] Atkinson, Recollections, 72-73. [xlviii] Cook, Voyages and Travels, 1:215-216. [xlix] Wood, Shores of Lake Aral, 8. [l] Bill Bell, “The Market for Travel Writing,” in Handbook of British Travel Writing, ed. Barbara Schaff (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2020): 125. [li] John Feather, A History of British Publishing (London: Routledge, 2006), 72-73. [lii] Innes M. Keighren, Charles W. J. Withers, and Bill Bell, Travels in Print: Exploration, Writing, and Publishing with John Murray, 1773-1859 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2015), 22. [liii] Nick Fielding, “Thomas and Lucy Atkinson: Pioneering Explorers of the Steppe,” Asian Affairs 49, no. 1 (2018), 28. [liv] A Handbook for Travelers in Russia, Poland, and Finland, Revised Edition (London: John Murray, 1865). [lv] For a full history of Chapman and Hall, see Arthur Waugh, A Hundred Years of Publishing: Being the Story of Chapman & Hall, ltd. (London: Chapman & Hall, 1930). [lvi] For a full history of Smith, Elder, and Co., see Leonard Huxley, The House of Smith Elder (London: Printed for Private Circulation, 1923). [lvii] Wood, Shores of Lake Aral, 8. [lviii] Strahlenberg, An historico-geographical description, 105. [lix] Larry Wolff, Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1994), 6-7.


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