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Noble Sentiments and the Rise of Russian Novels Hilde Hoogenboom Arizona State University Book Prospectus “Are there Russian novels?” asks the countess in Pushkin’s The Queen of Spades (1834). “We have no literature,” the critic Vissarion Belinsky despairs later that year. Indeed, Russians mainly read the same French, German, and English novels as other European readers at the time. Through the 1850s, in perhaps the most international market in Europe, translations of these internationally bestselling novels constituted over 90% of novels published in Russia, not to mention the many novels imported in various languages. Many of these popular novels were sentimental, often by women. Russian readers were drawn to that strain of sentimentalism that trained what the Earl of Shaftesbury called our natural moral sense by instilling virtue through love for and duty to family, nation, ruler, and God. These conservative ideals resonated deeply with the Russian monarchy and with its service nobi...