Publication details

L’émigration, une ouverture intellectuelle. Hélene Iswolsky et « la force des faibles »

Title in English Emigration as intellectual openness. Hélene Iswolsky and “the strength of the weak”

FOLETTI Karolina

Year of publication 2018
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description After the revolutions of 1917, Helen Iswolsky (1896–1975), the daughter of the Russian ambassador in Paris, became an émigré. Searching for the means of survival, she used her knowledge of languages to work as a journalist and writer presenting Russia’s history and presence to the western audience in her articles and novels. Sensitive to political problems and social issues, she joined western intellectuals (e.g. Jacques and Raisa Maritain, Dorothy Day) and other émigrés (Nicolas Berdiaev) in the reflection on the historical events and in the search for responsible attitudes to the situation at that time. Entering the Catholic Church in 1923, she became strongly involved in the promotion of ecumenical dialogs. Intellectual as well as religious aspects of Iswolsky’s work are closely connected with her initial situation of “weakness” – i.e. with her experience of exile. The latter is, however, transformed in “strength” in Iswolsky’s capacity to “cross the borders” between the Orthodox and Catholics, between Russian and western intellectuals, and also between the rich and poor.