Another amazing site, putting scholarship online in exemplary fashion, is History of the French Language in Russia, hosted by the University of Bristol:
A cultural and social history of language cannot be written without a broad range of primary sources. For a history of French in Russia, some documents are already available in published form, but a great number of relevant documents from Russian and some other archives are still to be published. Even documents which have been published have rarely been analysed in terms of the cultural and social history of French understood as a lingua franca, a prestige language, a medium for new cultural values and notions, a tool of cultural propaganda and so forth.
Our purpose in this documents section of our project website is therefore to provide the beginnings of a corpus on which such a history can be based. The section contains pairs of documents. In each pair there is (i) a text, or excerpts from a text, or a set of texts or excerpts (with our editorial notes) and (ii) an essay (also with notes) which introduces the text(s) in question.
That’s the documents section; the Project home has English, French, and Russian versions, and says:
The research team will explore the impact that French had not only on the use of Russian, but also on Russians’ thinking about their own language and, more broadly, on Russian social and political attitudes and on the formation of a sense of national identity. Their findings will have resonance in the fields of social, political, cultural, and intellectual history as well as sociolinguistics. The project will also contribute to a field of historical scholarship which is still in its infancy: by treating language as not merely a useful tool for historians but also a subject worthy of historians’ attention in its own right, the team will demonstrate that language is itself an aspect of culture, a social institution, a key factor in the conceptions that peoples or groups have of themselves, a political instrument, and a potent force in national life.
It’s really very nicely done, and anyone who’s wondered about all that French in War and Peace should check it out. (Hat tip to Greg Afinogenov for the link.)