Maintaining the panslavic dream. The case of Janko Lavrin, a Slovenian Russianist in Great-Britain

Principal Investigator
Researcher(s)
Keywords
Janko Lavrin
pan-Slavism
neo-Slavism
East-West relations
Slavism
Slavic identity
tribal identity
Nottingham
Saint Petersburg
liberal nationalism
universal nationalism
cultural identity
literature and identity
Intellectual history
minor figure
Duration
2015 - 2021

Despite all the interest for people like Dmitri Mirsky, Samuel Koteliansky and others who played a major role for the reception of Russian literature in Great-Britain, a remarkable figure of the time, Janko Lavrin, hardly ever receives any attention. Born in Habsburg Slovenia, educated in Russia and Europe, a journalist and cultural figure in Russia, a professor of Russian studies at Nottingham University, a BBC-correspondent during the war, an ambassador of Slovenian culture in Great-Britain, and now a forgotten scholar of Russian literature. It is not just his trajectory that makes him worth a study, though. First and foremost, it was his conviction that all Slavs should be united into one nation. This panslavic orientation is apparent in his later works, but also his earlier work – be it on Russian, Slovenian or Yugoslav literature – seems to bear similar traces. This close reading research project aims to verify whether Lavrin’s late overtly panslavic attitude is also present in his earlier works and, if so, how this panslavic attitude manifests itself. Additionally, the project aims to determine how Lavrin’s assumed panslavic attitude relates to Russian and non-Russian panslavism. And lastly, the project hopes to shed light on how Lavrin looks at “thorny” Slavic issues which are extremely important for panslavism in the 20th century, like the position of the Poles within the future unified Slav people or the position of Slovenia in Yugoslavia.