During 1789-90 Karamzin, a young poet and short-story writer, toured Western Europe. On his return, he distilled his impressions in the form of travel letters. Letters of a Russian Traveler (1791-1801), in which Karamzin's impressions are woven into a wealth of information about Western European society and culture that he derived from wide reading, became a favorite of readers and was widely imitated. The most influential prose stylist of the eighteenth century, Karamzin shaped the development of the Russian literary language, introducing many Gallicisms to supplant Slavonic-derived words and idioms and breaking down the classicist canons of isolated language styles. Appointed court historian by Alexander I, he wrote the monumental 12-volume History of the Russian State (1818-24).