This chapter notes how the book developed and introduces the themes of the study. The project grew largely from comparative and Russian literature, from work on Vladimir Odoevsky. This work developed to involve biographical research, criticism and translation. Such tentative beginnings were driven into some sort of initial focus by an entirely fortuitous invitation from a publisher to supply an introduction to a reprint of a valuable and neglected edition of Odoevsky's ‘Romantic Tales’. The four titular figures introduced here are being used towards an at least partial tracing of certain European literary developments, or ‘pathways’ into modern fiction.
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