The “Silver Age” (c. 1890-1917) has been one of the most intensely studied topics in Russian literary studies, and for years scholars have been struggling with its precise definition. Firmly established in the Russian cultural psyche, it continues to influence both literature and mass media. The Archaeology of Anxiety is the first extended analysis of why the Silver Age occupies such prominence in Russian collective consciousness.
Galina Rylkova examines the Silver Age as a cultural construct-the byproduct of an anxiety that permeated society in reaction to the social, political, and cultural upheavals brought on by the Bolshevik Revolution, the fall of the Romanovs, the Civil War, and Stalin's Great Terror. Rylkova's astute analysis of writings by Anna Akhmatova, Vladimir Nabokov, Boris Pasternak and Victor Erofeev reveals how the construct of the Silver Age was perpetuated and ingrained.
Rylkova explores not only the Silver Age's importance to Russia's cultural identity but also the sustainability of this phenomenon. In so doing, she positions the Silver Age as an essential element to Russian cultural survival.
As readers of Russian literature know, the nineteenth century was a time of pervasive financial anxiety. Russians of all classes were enmeshed in networks of credit and debt, and borrowing and lending shaped perceptions of material and moral worth. Sergei Antonov recreates this imperial world of borrowers, bankrupts, lenders, and loan sharks.
During Russia's late imperial period, Orthodox churchmen, professionally trained theologians, and an array of social commentators sought to give meaning to Russian history and its supposed backwardness. Many found that meaning in asceticism. For some, ascetic religiosity prevented Russia from achieving its historical destiny. For others, it was the means by which the Russian people would realize the kingdom of God, thereby saving Holy Russia and the world from the satanic forces of the West.
Patrick Lally Michelson's intellectual history of asceticism in Russian Orthodox thought traces the development of these competing arguments from the early nineteenth century to the early months of World War I. He demonstrates that this discourse was an imaginative interpretation of lived Orthodoxy, primarily meant to satisfy the ideological needs of Russian thinkers and Orthodox intellectuals as they responded to the socioeconomic, political, and cultural challenges of modernity.
The intellectual Alexander Herzen was as famous in his day as Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Aileen Kelly presents the first fully rounded study of the farsighted genius whom Isaiah Berlin called the forerunner of much twentieth-century thought. For Herzen, history, like Darwinian nature, was an improvisation both constrained and encouraged by chance.
On July 20, 1917, Russia became the world’s first major power to grant women the right to vote and hold public office. Yet in the wake of the October Revolution later that year, the foundational organizations and individuals who pioneered the suffragist cause were all but erased from Russian history. The women’s movement, when mentioned at all, is portrayed as meaningless to proletariat and peasant women, based in elitist and bourgeoisie culture of the tsarist era, and counter to socialist ideology. In this groundbreaking book, Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild reveals that Russian feminists in fact appealed to all classes and were an integral force for revolution and social change, particularly during the monumental uprisings of 1905–1917.
Ruthchild offers a telling examination of the dynamics present in imperialist Russia that fostered a growing feminist movement. Based upon extensive archival research in six countries, she analyzes the backgrounds, motivations, methods, activism, and organizational networks of early Russian feminists, revealing the foundations of a powerful feminist intelligentsia that came to challenge, and eventually bring down, the patriarchal tsarist regime.
Ruthchild profiles the individual women (and a few men) who were vital to the feminist struggle, as well as the major conferences, publications, and organizations that promoted the cause. She documents political party debates on the acceptance of women’s suffrage and rights, and follows each party’s attempt to woo feminist constituencies despite their fear of women gaining too much political power. Ruthchild also compares and contrasts the Russian movement to those in Britain, China, Germany, France, and the United States. Equality and Revolution offers an original and revisionist study of the struggle for women’s political rights in late imperial Russia, and presents a significant reinterpretation of a decisive period of Russian—and world—history.
Christine Ruane examines the issues of gender and class in the teaching profession of late imperial Russia, at a time when the vocation was becoming increasingly feminized in a zealously patriarchal society. Teaching was the first profession open to women in the 1870s, and by the end of the century almost half of all Russian teachers were female. Yet the notion that mothers had a natural affinity for teaching was paradoxically matched by formal and informal bans against married women in the classroom. Ruane reveals not only the patriarchal rationale but also how women teachers viewed their public roles and worked to reverse the marriage ban.
Ruane's research and insightful analysis broadens our knowledge of an emerging professional class, especially newly educated and emancipated women, during Russia's transition to a more modern society.
A Herzen Reader
Alexander Herzen, Kathleen Parthe Northwestern University Press, 2012 Library of Congress DK189.H42 2012 | Dewey Decimal 947.073
A Herzen Reader presents in English for the first time one hundred essays and editorials by the radical Russian thinker Alexander Herzen (1812–1870). Herzen wrote most of these pieces for The Bell, a revolutionary newspaper he launched with the poet Nikolai Ogaryov in London in 1857. Smugglers secretly carried copies of The Bell into Russia, where it influenced debates over the emancipation of the serfs and other reforms. With his characteristic irony, Herzen addressed such issues as freedom of speech, a nonviolent path to socialism, and corruption and paranoia at the highest levels of government. He discussed what he saw as the inability of even a liberator like Czar Alexander II to commit to change. A Herzen Reader stands on its own for its fascinating glimpse into Russian intellectual life of the 1850s and 1860s. It also provides invaluable context for understanding Herzen’s contemporaries, including Fyodor Dostoevsky and Ivan Turgenev.
The influence of liberalism in tsarist Russia is deeply problematic to most historians. In this highly original study, Victor Leontovitsch offers a reinterpretation of liberalism in a uniquely Russian form. He documents the struggles to develop civil society and individual liberties in imperial Russia up until their ultimate demise in the face of war, revolution, and the collapse of the old regime.
From Catherine the Great’s proposal of freedom for serfs born after a predetermined year, through the creation of zemstvos by Alexander II, and the emergence of the State Duma and a quasi-constitutional monarchy under Nicholas II, Leontovitsch chronicles the ebb and flow of liberal thought and action in the difficult circumstances of tsarist Russia. He cites numerous examples of debates over civil rights, property laws, emancipation, local jurisdiction, political rights, and constitutional proposals. Focusing on liberal reforms and reformers within the governing elite, Leontovitsch draws important distinctions between factions of radical (but fundamentally illiberal) progressives and true (but often concealed) liberalism.
This is the first English-language translation of Leontovitsch’s monumental work, which was originally published to critical acclaim in German in 1957. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn sponsored a Russian edition in 1980, and his introduction is translated for the foreword of this edition. With a wide readership in today’s Russia, The History of Liberalism in Russia continues to resonate as a penetrating analysis of the historical precedents of liberal thought and its potential as a counterweight to current autocratic tendencies and the uncertainties of Russia’s political future.
With its rocky transition to democracy, post-Soviet Russia has made observers wonder whether a moderating liberalism could ever succeed in such a land of extremes. But in Liberals under Autocracy, Anton A. Fedyashin looks back at the vibrant Russian liberalism that flourished in the country’s late imperial era, chronicling its contributions to the evolution of Russia’s rich literary culture, socioeconomic thinking, and civil society.
For five decades prior to the revolutions of 1917, The Herald of Europe (Vestnik Evropy) was the flagship journal of Russian liberalism, garnering a large readership. The journal articulated a distinctively Russian liberal agenda, one that encouraged social and economic modernization and civic participation through local self-government units (zemstvos) that defended individual rights and interests—especially those of the peasantry—in the face of increasing industrialization. Through the efforts of four men who turned The Herald into a cultural nexus in the imperial capital of St. Petersburg, the publication catalyzed the growing influence of journal culture and its formative effects on Russian politics and society.
Challenging deep-seated assumptions about Russia’s intellectual history, Fedyashin’s work casts the country’s nascent liberalism as a distinctly Russian blend of self-governance, populism, and other national, cultural traditions. As such, the book stands as a contribution to the growing literature on imperial Russia's nonrevolutionary, intellectual movements that emphasized the role of local politics in both successful modernization and the evolution of civil society in an extraparliamentary environment.
The first psychosocial study of the female intelligentsia in Russia, Mothers and Daughters explains how and why women radicals of the nineteenth century diverged from their male counterparts, describes the forces that led women to rebel, and discusses their legacy to future generations. Throughout, Engel brings nineteenth-century women to life, humanizing history as she presents a case study of how the personal became political in a time and place different from our own.
Scholars have long been fascinated by the creative struggles with genre manifested throughout Dostoevsky’s career. In The Novel in the Age of Disintegration, Kate Holland shows that Dostoevsky aimed to use the form of the novel as a means of depicting the disintegration caused by various crises in Russian society in the 1860s. This required him to reinvent the genre. At the same time, he sought to infuse his novels with the capacity to inspire belief in social and spiritual reintegration, and to this end he returned to old forms and structures that were already becoming outmoded.
In thoughtful readings of Demons, The Adolescent, A Writer’s Diary, and The Brothers Karamazov, Holland delineates Dostoevsky’s struggle to adapt a genre to the reality of the present, with all its upheavals, while maintaining a utopian vision of Russia’s future mission.
Vladimir Fedorovich Dzhunkovsky was a witness to Russia’s unfolding tragedy—from Tsar Alexander II’s Great Reforms, through world war, revolution, the rise of a new regime, and finally, his country’s descent into terror under Stalin. But Dzhunkovsky was not just a passive observer—he was an active participant in his troubled and turbulent times, often struggling against the tide. In the centennial of the Russian revolution, his story takes on special significance.
Highly readable, Overtaken by the Night captivates on many levels. It is a gripping biography of a man of many faces, a behind-the-curtain look at the inner workings of Russian politics at its highest levels, and also an engrossing account of ordinary Russians engulfed by swiftly moving political and social currents.
Dzhunkovsky served as a confidant in the tsar’s imperial court and as governor in Moscow province during and after the 1905 revolution. In 1913 he became the empire’s security chief, determined to reform the practices of the dreaded tsarist political police, the Okhrana. Dismissed from office for daring to investigate and warn Tsar Nicholas about Rasputin, his path led him into combat on the battlefields of the First World War. A natural leader of men, he held his units together even as revolution spilled into the trenches. Arrested as a counterrevolutionary in 1918 and imprisoned until 1921, Dzhunkovsky avoided execution thanks to an outpouring of public support and his reputation for treating revolutionaries with fairness and dignity. Although later he consulted for the Stalinist secret police, he was tried and executed in 1938 as an enemy of the people.
Based on Dzhunkovsky’s detailed memoirs and extensive archival research, Overtaken by the Night paints a fascinating picture of an important figure. Dzhunkovsky's incredible life reveals much about a long and crucial period in Russian history. It is a story of Russia in revolution reminiscent of the fictional Doctor Zhivago, but perhaps even more extraordinary for being true.
This book is the first study of the dynamics and individual character of the Russian reception of Rousseau. An earlier version of the manuscript was reviewed by the Harriman Institute in 1994, and was subsequently revised and resubmitted.
Upon the foundation of his unique experience and education, the late Arcadius Kahan (1920-1982) built a substantial body of scholarship on all aspects of the tsarist economy. Yet some of his important contribution might well have been dissipated were it not for this collection, since many of these essays were often available only in isolated, obscure sources. This posthumous volume makes readily available for the first time ten of Kahan's essays, nine previously published in English and one in German, which serve to integrate his carefully developed picture of nineteenth-century Russian economic history. Kahan's remarkable vision forms a complement to the thought of Gerschenkron, and this volume is certain to become a valuable source for scholars and students of Russian and European economic and social history.
Russian-American Dialogue on Cultural Relations, 1776-1914, the third volume in the Russian-American Dialogues series, provides English translations of the best Russian scholarship on cultural relations. Each essay originally appeared as an article in the former Soviet Union. Five issues are discussed: the contributions that each country made to the cultural life of the other; the correspondence and interactions between scientists, writers, and others from the two nations; the development of public perceptions and how these changed over time; the "American focus" in Russian periodicals during the nineteenth century; and the significant roles of Russians and the Russian presence in American history. The Russian articles on each of these subjects are followed by comments from American historians.
The articles by the Russian scholars make extensive use of and liberally cite material from Russian archives and publications. As a result, they provide American readers with new scientific exchanges, personalities, and points of view. The result is a plethora of new material for Western historians of Russia as well as of the United States. The book provides an opportunity for scholars to examine more thoroughly the relevant issues of Russian-American cultural relations.
An important scholarly contribution, Russian-American Dialogue on Cultural Relations, 1776-1914 brings a new dimension to the relationship between the United States and Russia before 1914. It will be of interest not only to historians of this period but to all historians and students of international cultural relations.
During the nineteenth century—as violence, population dislocations, and rebellions unfolded in the borderlands between the Russian and Ottoman Empires—European and Russian diplomats debated the “Eastern Question,” or, “What should be done about the Ottoman Empire?” Russian-Ottoman Borderlands brings together an international group of scholars to show that the Eastern Question was not just one but many questions that varied tremendously from one historical actor and moment to the next. The Eastern Question (or, from the Ottoman perspective, the Western Question) became the predominant subject of international affairs until the end of the First World War. Its legacy continues to resonate in the Balkans, the Black Sea region, and the Caucasus today.
The contributors address ethnicity, religion, popular attitudes, violence, dislocation and mass migration, economic rivalry, and great-power diplomacy. Through a variety of fresh approaches, they examine the consequences of the Eastern Question in the lives of those peoples it most affected, the millions living in the Russian and Ottoman Empires and the borderlands in between.
The ideas of the Protestant Reformation, followed by the European Enlightenment, had a profound and long-lasting impact on Russia’s church and society in the eighteenth century. Though the traditional Orthodox Church was often assumed to have been hostile toward outside influence, Andrey V. Ivanov’s study argues that the institution in fact embraced many Western ideas, thereby undergoing what some observers called a religious revolution.
Embedded with lively portrayals of historical actors and vivid descriptions of political details, A Spiritual Revolution is the first large-scale effort to fully identify exactly how Western progressive thought influenced the Russian Church. These new ideas played a foundational role in the emergence of the country as a modernizing empire and the rise of the Church hierarchy as a forward-looking agency of institutional and societal change. Ivanov addresses this important debate in the scholarship on European history, firmly placing Orthodoxy within the much wider European and global continuum of religious change.
What role did the theatre—both institutionally and literally—play in Russia’s modernization? How did the comparatively harmonious relationship that developed among the state, the nobility, and the theatre in the eighteenth century transform into ideological warfare between the state and the intelligentsia in the nineteenth? How were the identities of the Russian people and the Russian soul configured and altered by actors in St. Petersburg and Moscow? Using the dramatic events of nineteenth-century Russian history as a backdrop, Catherine Schuler answers these questions by revealing the intricate links among national modernization, identity, and theatre.
Schuler draws upon contemporary journals written and published by the educated nobility and the intelligentsia—who represented the intellectual, aesthetic, and cultural groups of the day—as well as upon the laws of the Russian empire and upon theatrical memoirs. With fascinating detail, she spotlights the ideologically charged binaries ascribed to prominent actors—authentic/performed, primitive/civilized, Russian/Western—that mirrored the volatility of national identity from the Napoleonic Wars through the reign of Alexander II.
If the path traveled by Russian artists and audiences from the turn of the nineteenth century to the era of the Great Reforms reveals anything about Russian culture and society, it may be that there is nothing more difficult than being Russian in Russia. By exploring the ways in which theatrical administrators, playwrights, and actors responded to three tsars, two wars, and a major revolt, this carefully crafted book demonstrates the battle for the hearts and minds of the Russian people.
Harriet Beecher Stowe's 1852 antislavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin was the nineteenth century's best-selling novel worldwide; only the Bible outsold it. It was known not only as a book but through stage productions, films, music, and commercial advertising as well. But how was Stowe's novel—one of the watershed works of world literature—actually received outside of the American context?
True Songs of Freedom explores one vital sphere of Stowe's influence: Russia and the Soviet Union, from the 1850s to the present day. Due to Russia's own tradition of rural slavery, the vexed entwining of authoritarianism and political radicalism throughout its history, and (especially after 1945) its prominence as the superpower rival of the United States, Russia developed a special relationship to Stowe's novel during this period of rapid societal change. Uncle Tom's Cabin prompted widespread reflections on the relationship of Russian serfdom to American slavery, on the issue of race in the United States and at home, on the kinds of writing appropriate for children and peasants learning to read, on the political function of writing, and on the values of Russian educated elites who promoted, discussed, and fought over the book for more than a century. By the time of the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991, Stowe's novel was probably better known by Russians than by readers in any other country.
John MacKay examines many translations and rewritings of Stowe's novel; plays, illustrations, and films based upon it; and a wide range of reactions to it by figures famous (Leo Tolstoy, Ivan Turgenev, Marina Tsvetaeva) and unknown. In tracking the reception of Uncle Tom's Cabin across 150 years, he engages with debates over serf emancipation and peasant education, early Soviet efforts to adapt Stowe's deeply religious work of protest to an atheistic revolutionary value system, the novel's exploitation during the years of Stalinist despotism, Cold War anti-Americanism and antiracism, and the postsocialist consumerist ethos.
During the nineteenth century, literate Russians and educated American blacks encountered a dominant Western narrative of world civilization that seemed to ignore the histories of Slavs and African Americans. In response, generations of Russian and black American intellectuals have asserted eloquent counterclaims for the cultural significance of a collective national “soul” veiled from prejudiced Western eyes. Up from Bondage is the first study to parallel the evolution of Russian and African American cultural nationalism in literary works and philosophical writings. Illuminating a remarkably widespread cross-pollination between the two cultural and intellectual traditions, Dale E. Peterson frames much of his argument around W. E. B. DuBois’s concept of “double-consciousness,” wherein members of an oppressed section of society view themselves simultaneously through their own self-awareness and through the internalized standards of the dominant culture. He shows how the writings of Dostoevsky, Hurston, Chesnutt, Turgenev, Ellison, Wright, Gorky, and Naylor—texts that enacted and described this sense of double awareness—were used both to perform and to contest the established genres of Western literacy. Woven through Peterson’s textual analyses is his consideration of cultural hybridism and its effects: The writers he examines find multiple ways to testify to and challenge the symptoms of postcolonial trauma. After discussing the strong and significant affinity expressed by contemporary African American cultural theorists for the dialogic thought of Russian linguist Mikhail Bakhtin, Peterson argues that a fuller appreciation of the historic connection between the two cultures will enrich the complicated meanings of being black or Russian in a world that has traditionally avoided acknowledging pluralistic standards of civilization and cultural excellence. This investigation of comparable moments in the development of Russian and African American ethnic self-consciousness will be valuable to students and scholars of comparative literature, philosophy, cultural theory, ethnicity, linguistics, and postcolonialism, in addition to Slavic and African American studies.
Valentin Serov (1865-1911) burst onto the art scene at the age of twenty-two with his portrait Girl with Peaces. In a short time he became the preeminent portraitist of Russia's Silver Age.
Elizabeth Kridl Valkenier weds art criticism to social history in her study of Serov. She casts the artist's work against the Gilden Age of turn-of-the-century Russia, an era when money and consumption abounded and revolutionary change was taking place at all levels of society. Painting prominent people of the day in business, government, the nobility, and the arts, Serov created a gallery of Russia's important figures--figures seen with a sharp eye and painted with subtle irony.
"An elegant monument to one of Russia's most vibrant painters and a model of intellectual inquiry into the cultural effervescence that so characterized the twilight of Imperial Russia." --John E. Bowlt, University of Southern California
"Serov emerges both as a subtle and versatile artist and a perceptive observer of Russian upper-class life and attitudes." --Richard Wortman, Columbia University
"This shrewd and witty book will tell art historians as much about Russian history and society as it will tell historians and sociologists about Russian art." --Richard Taruskin, author of Stravinsky and the Russian Traditions "Valkenier ably and thoughtfully describes the artists and patrons that affected Serov's career as no one has done before in any language. She has a wonderful gift for synthesis." --Choice "Serov is rightly viewed as a figure of immense cultural importance, an assessment which this book will do much to initiate amongst the uninformed, or consolidate amongst Serov's many admirers." --Russian Review
Many people are familiar with American Commodore Matthew Perry’s expedition to open trade relations with Japan in the early 1850s. Less well known is that on the heels of the Perry squadron followed a Russian expedition secretly on the same mission. Serving as secretary to the naval commander was novelist Ivan Goncharov, who turned his impressions into a book, The Frigate Pallada, which became a bestseller in imperial Russia. In A World of Empires, Edyta Bojanowska uses Goncharov’s fascinating travelogue as a window onto global imperial history in the mid-nineteenth century.
Reflecting on encounters in southern Africa’s Cape Colony, Dutch Java, Spanish Manila, Japan, and the British ports of Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, Goncharov offers keen observations on imperial expansion, cooperation, and competition. Britain’s global ascendancy leaves him in equal measures awed and resentful. In Southeast Asia, he recognizes an increasingly interlocking world in the vibrant trading hubs whose networks encircle the globe. Traveling overland back home, Goncharov presents Russia’s colonizing rule in Siberia as a positive imperial model, contrasted with Western ones.
Slow to be integrated into the standard narrative on European imperialism, Russia emerges here as an increasingly assertive empire, eager to position itself on the world stage among its American and European rivals and fully conversant with the ideologies of civilizing mission and race. Goncharov’s gripping narrative offers a unique eyewitness account of empire in action, in which Bojanowska finds both a zeal to emulate European powers and a determination to define Russia against them.