E. M. Almedingen Lewis Bates - Essay

Lewis Bates

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Miss Almedingen's The Romanovs is an enjoyable sketch by a supporter of the dynasty who is shocked by the frequency with which its members were bloody and incompetent. She keeps a reasonble balance between vivid gossip about loves and rages and more far-reaching questions about access to the Baltic and Black Sea, the condition of the people and Russia's ramshackle administrative institutions. Her introduction pleads firmly for personal history to supplement the history of the group or mass and she gives the mystical rapport between Little Father and peasants its due as a historical fact. When she reaches the final Tsardom, personal feeling tugs hard at judicial impartiality. This is certainly not a rose-tinted picture of the ancien régime but it is a sadly affectionate one…. Very quietly, Miss Almedingen expresses regret that the chances of swift, systematic reform in the early years of the century were lost when blood-thirsty confusion became endemic on the Left as it had been on the Right. (p. 893)

Lewis Bates, in Punch (© 1966 Punch Publications Ltd.; all rights reserved), June 15, 1966.

[Miss Almedingen's The Romanovs] follows the pattern she has earlier established in her biographies of individual Romanovs—that is to say, it is mainly concerned with the dynasty in its personal and intimate aspect and shows little grasp of the historical...

(The entire section is 463 words.)