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Michael Hughes

Abstract

This article examines how Le Queux's writings about Russia both reflected and shaped the construction of the country in the British imagination in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The first part examines Le Queux's early novels, showing how his conviction that tsarist Russia posed a major threat to the security of the British Empire was reflected in his surprisingly positive treatment of the Russian revolutionary movement. The second part then examines how Le Queux's later writings on Russia reflected the changing nature of international politics following the outbreak of war in 1914. Russia's new-found status as Britain's ally in the First World War shaped the content of a number of books written by Le Queux in 1917–1918. These include Rasputin the Rascal Monk (1917) and The Minister of Evil: The Secret History of Rasputin's Betrayal of Russia (1918), in which Le Queux claimed that Rasputin was a creature of the German government.