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.
Russian life and literature of the nineteenth century abounded with scenes of gambling--nowhere more prominently than in the lives and work of three of Russia's greatest writers: Pushkin, Tolstoi, and Dostoevskii. Focusing on the intersection of gambling performances in society and in literature, this book reveals the significance of gambling as an index of character in nineteenth-century Russia and traces its role in the fate of the gentry over the course of the century.
During the reigns of Alexander I and Nicholas I, Ian Helfant argues, gambling became an essential proving-ground and symbolic locus for noble identity in Russia--a way for the nobility to assert its values (fearlessness, disdain for money, implacable self-possession, deification of whim and will, and stylish performance) against nineteenth-century economics and bourgeois sentimentality. In <i>The High Stakes of Identity</i> Helfant's twin concerns are to analyze the structural components of the myth of the noble "beau joueur" and to show how gambling performances in society and in literature reciprocally reinforced, complicated, and eventually disintegrated its mystique.
Using a broad variety of sources--memoiristic, epistolary, journalistic, legal, fictional, theatrical--Helfant reconstructs both the prevalence and the particular codes of gambling's cultural system in the first few decades of the nineteenth century. These codes allow him to interpret the iconoclastic performances of truly legendary gamblers and to assess the importance and purpose of gambling in works ranging from Pushkin's "Queen of Spades" to Lermontov's "Masquerade." Throughout, Helfant gives voice to the rich variety of discourses, from tsarist laws to moralistic tracts, that came to bear on the culture of gambling in the 1830s and eventually led to its displacement as the key marker of nobility.
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.
Is today’s Russia capable of democracy, the free market, and a pluralist ideology? In this new edition of A History of Russia, Paul Dukes investigates these questions, taking into full account the extraordinary changes that have occurred since the arrival of first Mikhail Gorbachev and then Boris Yeltsin. Substantially expanded and rewritten, this new edition sets these events within the context of over 1100 years of Russian history. Dukes reviews the successive phases in Russian history from medieval Kiev and Muscovy to the current post-Soviet Union, with distinctive sections on political, economic, and cultural aspects of each period. With its breadth of scope and conciseness of presentation, this third edition of A History of Russia will be invaluable to students of European and Russian history, and also to students of Russian language, literature, and social science.
In the eighteenth century, as modern forms of literature began to emerge in Russia, most of the writers producing it were members of the nobility. But their literary pursuits competed with strictly enforced obligations to imperial state service. Unique to Russia was the Table of Ranks, introduced by Emperor Peter the Great in 1722. Noblesse oblige was not just a lofty principle; aristocrats were expected to serve in the military, civil service, or the court, and their status among peers depended on advancement in ranks.
Irina Reyfman illuminates the surprisingly diverse effects of the Table of Ranks on writers, their work, and literary culture in Russia. From Sumarokov and Derzhavin in the eighteenth century through Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, and poets serving in the military in the nineteenth, state service affected the self-images of writers and the themes of their creative output. Reyfman also notes its effects on Russia’s atypical course in the professionalization and social status of literary work.
In How Women Must Write, Olga Peters Hasty takes us from an emphatically male Romantic age to a modernist period preoccupied with women’s creativity but also with its containment. In late nineteenth and early twentieth-century Russia, the woman poet was invented: by women poets themselves, by readers who projected gender biases into their poems, and by male poets who wrote posing as women. Examining Karolina Pavlova and Evdokiia Rostopchina, who inspired those writing after them, as well as two women invented by men, Cherubina de Gabriak and Briusov’s Nelli, and challenges to male authority by Marina Tsvetaeva and Anna Akhmatova, this book shows women as purposeful actors realizing themselves creatively and advancing the woman poet’s cause. It will appeal to the general reader and to specialists in Russian literature, women’s studies, and cultural history.