Fourth-quarter finds

Close out the year with the latest lit in Russian and Eurasian studies. You’ll probably get around to reading them long before I do.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the publishers below. This list is the result of trawling 3rd-party bookseller sites like Amazon.com and Paperback Swap. Inclusion ≠ endorsement, but these books are on the list because they *do* look interesting.

Fiction

Tales of the Narts: Ancient Myths and Legends of the Ossetians, trans. Walter May, edited by John Colarusso and Tamirlan Salbiev (Princeton University Press, 2020)

The Nart sagas are to the Caucasus what Greek mythology is to Western civilization. Tales of the Narts expands the canon of this precious body of lore by presenting a wide selection of fascinating tales that are part of a living tradition among the peoples of Ossetia in southern Russia. A mythical tribe of nomad warriors, the Narts are courageous, bold, and good-hearted, but also capable of envy, cruelty, and violence. In this wonderfully vivid and accessible collection, colorful and exciting heroes, heroines, villains, and monsters pursue their destinies though a series of exploits, often with the intervention of ancient gods.

***

Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow by Alexander Radishchev, trans. Andrew Kahn and Irina Reyfman (Columbia University Press, November 2020)

Alexander Radishchev’s Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow is among the most important pieces of writing to come out of Russia in the age of Catherine the Great. An account of a fictional journey along a postal route, it blends literature, philosophy, and political economy to expose social and economic injustices and their causes at all levels of Russian society. Not long after the book’s publication in 1790, Radishchev was condemned to death for its radicalism and ultimately exiled to Siberia instead.

Radishchev’s literary journey is guided by intense moral conviction. He sought to confront the reader with urgent ethical questions, laying bare the cruelty of serfdom and other institutionalized forms of exploitation. The Journey’s multiple strands include sentimental fictions, allegorical discourses, poetry, theatrical plots, historical essays, a treatise on raising children, and comments on corruption and political economy, all informed by Enlightenment arguments and an interest in placing Russia in its European context. Radishchev is perhaps the first in a long line of Russian writer-dissenters such as Herzen and Solzhenitsyn who created a singular literary idiom to express a subversive message. In Andrew Kahn and Irina Reyfman’s idiomatic and stylistically sensitive translation, one of imperial Russia’s most notorious clandestine books is now accessible to English-speaking readers.

Nonfiction – History

Not According to Plan: Filmmaking Under Stalin by Maria Belodubrovskaya (Cornell University Press, November 2020)

In Not According to Plan, Maria Belodubrovskaya reveals the limits on the power of even the most repressive totalitarian regimes to create and control propaganda. Belodubrovskaya’s revisionist account of Soviet filmmaking between 1930 and 1953 highlights the extent to which the Soviet film industry remained stubbornly artisanal in its methods, especially in contrast to the more industrial approach of the Hollywood studio system. Not According to Plan shows that even though Josef Stalin recognized cinema as a “mighty instrument of mass agitation and propaganda” and strove to harness the Soviet film industry to serve the state, directors such as Eisenstein, Alexandrov, and Pudovkin had far more creative control than did party-appointed executives and censors.

***

Stalin: Passage to Revolution by Ronald Grigor Suny (Princeton University Press, 2020)

This is the definitive biography of Joseph Stalin from his birth to the October Revolution of 1917, a panoramic and often chilling account of how an impoverished, idealistic youth from the provinces of tsarist Russia was transformed into a cunning and fearsome outlaw who would one day become one of the twentieth century’s most ruthless dictators.

In this monumental book, Ronald Grigor Suny sheds light on the least understood years of Stalin’s career, bringing to life the turbulent world in which he lived and the extraordinary historical events that shaped him. Suny draws on a wealth of new archival evidence from Stalin’s early years in the Caucasus to chart the psychological metamorphosis of the young Stalin, taking readers from his boyhood as a Georgian nationalist and romantic poet, through his harsh years of schooling, to his commitment to violent engagement in the underground movement to topple the tsarist autocracy. Stalin emerges as an ambitious climber within the Bolshevik ranks, a resourceful leader of a small terrorist band, and a writer and thinker who was deeply engaged with some of the most incendiary debates of his time.

Nonfiction – Cultural Studies

Storytelling in Siberia: The Olonkho Epic in a Changing World by Robin P. Harris (University of Illinois Press, 2017)

Olonkho, the epic narrative and song tradition of Siberia’s Sakha people, declined to the brink of extinction during the Soviet era. In 2005, UNESCO’s Masterpiece Proclamation sparked a resurgence of interest in olonkho by recognizing its important role in humanity’s oral and intangible heritage.

Drawing on her ten years of living in the Russian North, Robin P. Harris documents how the Sakha have used the Masterpiece program to revive olonkho and strengthen their cultural identity. Harris’s personal relationships with and primary research among Sakha people provide vivid insights into understanding olonkho and the attenuation, revitalization, transformation, and sustainability of the Sakha’s cultural reemergence. Interdisciplinary in scope, Storytelling in Siberia considers the nature of folklore alongside ethnomusicology, anthropology, comparative literature, and cultural studies to shed light on how marginalized peoples are revitalizing their own intangible cultural heritage.

***

Cold War II: Hollywood’s Renewed Obsession with Russia by Tatyana Prorokova-Konrad et al (University Press of Mississippi, December 2020)

In recent years, Hollywood cinema has forwarded a growing number of images of the Cold War and entertained a return to memories of conflicts between the USSR and the US, Russians and Americans, and communism and capitalism. Cold War II: Hollywood’s Renewed Obsession with Russia explores the reasons for this sudden renewed interest in the Cold War. Essayists examine such films as Guy Ritchie’s The Man from U. N.C. L.E. , Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen’s Hail, Caesar!, David Leitch’s Atomic Blonde, Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, and Francis Lawrence’s Red Sparrow, among others, as well as such television shows as Comrade Detective and The Americans.

Contributors to this collection interrogate the revival of the Cold War movie genre from multiple angles and examine the issues of patriotism, national identity, otherness, gender, and corruption. They consider cinematic aesthetics and the ethics of these representations. They reveal how Cold War imagery shapes audiences’ understanding of the period in general and of the relationship between the US and Russia in particular. The authors complicate traditional definitions of the Cold War film and invite readers to discover a new phase in the Cold War movie genre: Cold War II.

***

Consumer Culture, Branding and Identity in the New Russia: From Five-Year Plan to 4×4 by Graham H.J. Roberts (Routledge, December 2020)

As shopping has been transformed from a chore into a major source of hedonistic pleasure, a specifically Russian consumer culture has begun to emerge that is unlike any other. This book examines the many different facets of consumption in today’s Russia, including retailing, advertising and social networking. Throughout, emphasis is placed on the inherently visual – not to say spectacular – nature both of consumption generally, and of Russian consumer culture in particular.

Particular attention is paid to the ways in which brands, both Russian and foreign, construct categories of identity in order to claim legitimacy for themselves. What emerges is a fascinating picture of how consumer culture is being reinvented in Russia today, in a society which has one, nostalgic eye turned towards the past, and the other, utopian eye, set firmly on the future.

Nonfiction – Current Affairs

Political Ideologies in Contemporary Russia by Elena Chebankova (McGill-Queen’s University Press, November 2020)

Contrary to the view that a bleak discursive uniformity reigns in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, Political Ideologies in Contemporary Russia shows that the country is engaging in serious theoretical debates across a wide spectrum of modern ideologies including liberalism, nationalism, feminism, and multiculturalism. Elena Chebankova argues that the nation is fragmented and the state seeks to balance the various ideological movements to ensure that none dominates. She shows that each of the main ideological trends is far from uniform, but the major opposition is between liberalism and traditionalism. The pluralistic picture she describes contests many current portrayals of Russia as an authoritarian or even totalitarian state.

***

The Red Mirror: Putin’s Leadership and Russia’s Insecure Identity by Gulnaz Sharafutdinova (Oxford U Press, October 2020)

Solves the puzzle of Russian politics by studying the Soviet experience alongside the nation’s political transition in the 1990s and Putin’s leadership

Draws upon the author’s experience as a Russian immigrant and academic in the US to characterize Russia with empathy and neutrality

Uses a social psychological approach to make sense of authoritarian legitimation

***

Migration and Hybrid Political Regimes: Navigating the Legal Landscape in Russia by Rustamjon Urinboyev (University of California Press, December 2020)

While migration has become an all-important topic of discussion around the globe, mainstream literature on migrants’ legal adaptation and integration has focused on case studies of immigrant communities in Western-style democracies. We know relatively little about how migrants adapt to a new legal environment in the ever-growing hybrid political regimes that are neither clearly democratic nor conventionally authoritarian. This book takes up the case of Russia—an archetypal hybrid political regime and the third largest recipients of migrants worldwide—and investigates how Central Asian migrant workers produce new forms of informal governance and legal order. Migrants use the opportunities provided by a weak rule-of-law and a corrupt political system to navigate the repressive legal landscape and to negotiate—using informal channels—access to employment and other opportunities that are hard to obtain through the official legal framework of their host country. This lively ethnography presents new theoretical perspectives for studying immigrant legal incorporation in similar political contexts.

Featured image by Anthony via Pexels.

17 thoughts on “Fourth-quarter finds

  1. 1) Re: “Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow” by A. Radischev’s

    The book had a SUDDEN SEQUEL by another Alexander – Pushkin. His “Journey from Moscow to St. Petersburg” (it’s rather short and available on-line in full) from the very beginning posits itself… differently.

    Several quotes, if I may (highlights – mine, all caps – Pushkin’s):

    “Gathering for the road, instead of pies and cold veal, I wanted to stock up on books, planning to rely RATHER CARELESSLY on taverns [for food]…

    …I went to my old friend **, whose library I used to use from time to time. I asked him for a book that was boring, but curious in some way. “Wait”, told me **, “I have just a book for you.”

    Saying this he took out a book, apparently published at the end of the last century, from the complete collected works of Alexander Sumarokov and Mikhail Kheraskov. “Please take care of it,” he said in a mysterious voice. “I hope that you will fully appreciate and justify my trust”. I opened it and read the title: Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow. S.P.B. 1790…

    The book, which once thundered with temptation and incurred Catherine’s anger on the writer, a death sentence and exile to Siberia; nowadays it is a typographic rarity that has lost its allurement, accidentally found on the dusty shelf of a bibliomaniac or in the bag of a shabby peddler.

    I sincerely thanked ** and took the “Journey” with me.”

    […]

    “…In Peshki (at the station, now destroyed), Radishchev ate a slice of beef and drank a cup of coffee. He takes this opportunity to mention the misery of the African slaves, and grieves over the fate of the Russian peasant who does not use sugar.

    All this was the then fashionable verbosity. But his description of the Russian hut is wonderful… Look at the pictures attached to his “Journey”. Nothing is more like a Russian village in 1662 than a Russian village in 1833. The hut, the mill, the fence – even this fir tree, this sad brand of northern nature – nothing seems to have changed.

    However, there have been improvements, at least on the big roads: a pipe in every hut; glasses replaced a stretched cow’s bubble; generally more cleanliness, convenience, what the English call by the word “comfort”.

    It is obvious that Radishchev drew a caricature; but he mentions the bath and kvass as the necessities of Russian life. This is already a sign of prosperity. It is also remarkable that Radishchev, forcing his hostess to complain of hunger and crop failure, ends this picture of need and disaster with this line: “AND STARTED TO PUT BREADS IN THE OVEN”.”

    Fonvizin, who had traveled across France fifteen years prior, says that, in good conscience, the fate of the Russian peasant seemed to him happier than the fate of the French farmer.

    I believe him.

    Let us recall the writings of La Bruyère; Madame Sevigne’s own words are even stronger in that she speaks without indignation and bitterness, but simply tells what she sees and what she is used to. The fate of the French peasant did not improve during the reign of Louis XV and his successor…

    Read the complaints of the British factory workers: the hair will stand on end with horror. How many disgusting tortures, incomprehensible torments! On the one hand – what a cold barbarism, on the other – what a terrible poverty!

    You will think that it is about the construction of the Pharaoh pyramids, about the Jews working under the scourge of the Egyptians.

    Not at all: it is about Mr. Smith’s cloth or Mr. Jackson’s needles.

    AND NOTE THAT ALL OF THIS IS NOT AN ABUSE, NOT A CRIME, BUT HAPPENS WITHIN THE STRICT LIMITS OF THE LAW.

    […]

    “Our peasant is neat out of habit and according to the rule: every Saturday he goes to the bathhouse; he washes several times a day … The fate of the peasant improves from day to day as the Enlightenment spreads…

    The well-being of the peasants is closely related to the well-being of the landlords; it is obvious to everyone. Of course: great changes are yet to take place; but it should not rush the time that is already quite active. The best and most lasting changes are those that come from one improvement in morals, without violent political upheavals, terrible for humanity.”

    Here you go. Alexander S. Pushkin. Our everything. “Victim of the Regime” ™. Shilling for the Czar. Disagreeing with the Luminary ™ and his conclusions by traveling backwards, reading chapter after chapter and comparing and contrasting with the reality of his very own 1830s.

    Something tells me that Radischev’s “Journey” saw the light of the Western translation because it’s yet another stone in already enormous edifice of the “Рашка-говняшка”, so popular among our Russian liberasts and also among the “thinking” people abroad. The fact (undeniable fact) that the “Journey” is a work of fiction (i.e. – it is not a documentary, but something made up) is lost on many, many… exalted… readers. They came to read about how “Всё Плохо” ™, because they expect that in Russia everything anytime is Bad. How dare someone crash deny their fix? No, they’d better read Solzhenitsin (and claim To Know the Burning Truth), or watch “Enemy at The Gates” (to claim that Russians/Soviets are human-wave sending Asiatic subhuman barbarians who don’t know how to fight proper, elegant rrrrrracially superior Europeans).

    That’s why I don’t expect any kind of West-lang translation of Pushkin’s very own “Journey”. That would count as “Kremlin’s propaganda”, obviously.

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    1. 1. Welcome back.

      2. Re: Years-old-at-this-point discussion about a Russian History Blog post concerning the use of fiction in history classrooms. Journey from Moscow to St. Petersburg (Radishchev) was assigned in a course I took last year on Russian Imperial History. Its fictive nature was not mentioned. It was studied in the context of expository writing/proto-journalism criticizing catherinian governance. We did not read the entire work, only a translated excerpt and secondary sources explaining its significance.

      3. Could find no complete English translation of Pushkin’s clapback. Perhaps it is hiding in a collected volume somewhere.

      4. You translated and edited the above yourself? 👌 *fear intensifies*

      5. Re: Rashka-govnyashka. No comment.

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      1. 1. 🙂

        3. I couldn’t find it also. That’s why (4) I decided to translate these bits.

        2. “Journey from Moscow to St. Petersburg (Radishchev) was assigned in a course I took last year on Russian Imperial History. Its fictive nature was not mentioned. It was studied in the context of expository writing/proto-journalism criticizing catherinian governance.”

        Well – that unties my hands! 😉 Although, they could have said “proto-blogging” to be more, eh, hip with the kids – and more accurate.

        From the same piece – Pushkin’s very own words about the journalists and journalism as a profession:

        “Petersburg litterateurs for the most part are not really writers, but enterprising and intelligent literary tax farmers. Scholarship, love of art and talents are undeniably on the side of Moscow. Moscow journalism will kill Petersburg journalism.

        Moscow’s [literary] criticism is honorably different from Petersburg criticism. Shevyrev, Kireevsky, Pogodin and others wrote several experiments worthy of being equated with the best articles in English “Reviews”, while Petersburg magazines judge literature as if it was music, and judge music, as if it was political economy, that is, at random and so-so, sometimes to the point and witty, but for the most part, flimsy and superficially.

        […]

        “Today, a writer who blushes at the mere thought of dedicating a book to someone who is above him by two or three ranks, is not ashamed to publicly shake the hand of a journalist who is defamed in general opinion, but who can harm the sale of the book or lure buyers with a laudatory announcement. Nowadays, the lowest of the scribblers, always ready for any private meanness, loudly preaches independence and writes nameless libels on the people before whom he spreads in their office.

        In addition, for some time now, literature has become a profitable craft for us, and the public is able to give more money than His Lordship such and such or His Excellency such and such. Be that as it may, I repeat, forms mean nothing. Lomonosov and Krebb deserve the respect of all honest people, despite their humble dedications, while the gentlemen NN are still contemptuous – despite the fact that in their books they preach independence and that they devote their works not to a kind and intelligent nobleman, but to some kind of scoundrel and liar like themselves.”

        The year is still 1833. 🙂

        But – okay, let’s accept as given the claim of the “Journey” being capable of serving as a historical source, and that it’s kinda “proto-journalism”. In the Chapter/Station Klin he presents his readership with yet another soul-wrenching situation and starring unfortunate, lamentable character – a blind old man, former Army Sergeant, who lost his sight in battle. Now he has to travel from place to place, earning a pittance by singing folk songs. Peasants cry. Radischev, full of exalted… something… cries with them, and explodes into a monologue.

        Situation as presented is believable. Sure, there bound to be some ex-soldiers who lost their sight in the line of duty and, sure, there ought to be beggars earning their daily bread by whatever means. We (humanity in the A.D. 2020) still do have such people all across the globe. But Radischev goes an extra mile here. When he tries to give this old man a ruble (back in 1790 that was a lot of money), the beggar spurs him, because Radischev is a noble. OTOH – he gladly accepts pies, cuts of bread and small change from the peasants with small bow and gratitude.

        The folk songs that the old man sang at the start of the chapter? Never existed. Aka – made up (for the book). Or, because we are entertaining this “proto-journalism” angle, they are FAKE NEWS. This is despite the fact, that in other chapters there are examples of the real folk songs with lyrics (e.g.”Во поле берёзка стояла” from the Chapter/Station “Mednoye”). I think it is also needless to add, that the way, how these blind old peasant talks (and he, surprisingly, talks a lot) in no way resembles the live, factual folk speech of the time.

        The funniest thing is, that Radischev, as the expression goes, “wore his influences on the sleeve” – at the very beginning of the Chapter he says: “Я рыдал вслед за ямским собранием, и слезы мои были столь же для меня сладостны, как исторгнутые из сердца Вертером…”.

        Now, a responsible way to assess the contents of this or any other period piece, would be, first of all, study the epoch, study the people of all time, and study the literature of the time. Otherwise, one can fall into a trap of uncritically accepting of everything as bland faced truth, missing numerous references, allusions, metaphors, laws of the genre, or just plain old “culture code” norms and standards. You know – what philologists suppose to do while working over this or that literary piece.

        But I fail to see how the “Journey” counts as a source material for the Russian history. I already said it (too many to count times) that this particular Western approach to the so-called “Russian Studies”, is erroneous and produces not well rounded specialists, but… Hell knows who with even more (of their professors’) biases, inaccuracies and falsehoods firmly planted in their brains, influencing them for the rest of their lives.

        The fact, that this approach persists, tells us that:

        A) Powers That Be in the Ivory Towers don’t want for the people to know accurate information about Russia.

        B) They themselves were Highly Likely (c) educated in the same lame way and now repeat the process on the fresh batch of young impressionable brains.

        C) Powers That Be in the Ivory Towers are totally safe in their position to perpetuate what would count in any field of precise sciences as malfeasance and academic fraud.

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        1. 1. Translating well into your L2 AND L1. How may I obtain this power?

          2.

          Now, a responsible way to assess the contents of this or any other period piece, would be, first of all, study the epoch, study the people of all time, and study the literature of the time. Otherwise, one can fall into a trap of uncritically accepting of everything as bland faced truth, missing numerous references, allusions, metaphors, laws of the genre, or just plain old “culture code” norms and standards.

          How much time can you realistically expect your average 1-semester class to dedicate to this? For a single work like Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow, I mean.

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          1. “How much time can you realistically expect your average 1-semester class to dedicate to this? For a single work like Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow, I mean.”

            ONE semester class on Russian “Imperial” History?

            […]

            Uhm, we had philosophy either in the form of lectures, or seminars or both lectures and seminars for 3 years in Uni.

            […]

            In the time of my school “yoof”, the “Journey” has been the obligatory “summer reading” (i.e. hardly anyone read it), with the book being in the focus of the ½ year of the Russian literature classes in the 8th grade (for 14 y.os). Of course, the generation of my parents had it harder than us slackers (obviously!) with them having to read, prepare questions and discuss in class 5 chapters. My elder brothers, attending school not that long ago after the collapse of the USSR, enjoyed still robust system of education – in their time they did to 3 chapters.

            Because (of course!) I belong to the lost generation of denigrates and loafers, we studied 2 (two) chapters in class. Add to that introductory class on Radischev, his work and fate, and another one on either a diktant or sochineniye (rarer – some had both).

            In addition to that, by 8th grade pupils are already supposed to cover Russian history in the XVIII c. Meaning, they are supposed to already know most of the background information.

            […]

            Well, studying “Journey” in the Place of the Higher Education ™, where everyone is already a legal adult (i.e. the profs won’t fret at including chapters dealing with excessive violence, sexual violence, prostitution, STDs etc, present at certain chapters), SURELY has to be an advantage, right?! You’re bound to learn more about it all!

            […]

            But, as you said it in the topmost comment, that was not a class on Russian literature. It was a ONE semester class on Russian “Imperial” History?

            […]

            I… I… I don’t even know what to say, J.T. Only – “why include it in the first place”? Or, the reasoning was: “Well, the «Journey» is studied by Russians themselves in school. So, if we do likewise (even if without understanding why), by the magickal law of sympathy, we’re bound to increase our knowledge and understanding as well. Yup, sounds like plan!”

            I can’t offer working advice J.T., for I’m not unbiased. I don’t know how to present history as merely an “auxiliary discipline” even for fellow humanities in such a way, as to it to be both elucidating, and fit for the Procrustean bed of the educational schedule.

            How about this as a central point – study works of fiction in the literature classes, and during history lessons devote all your attention to the facts? There’s this notion, that education should be “fun” and “entertaining” for the students (aka – “paying customers”). My opinion on that issue is not… fashionable.

            I mean, seriously, with all due respect, but “Journey” won’t teach anyone about 2 wars with Turkey, 3 partitions of Poland, Pugachyov’s rebellion, Ulozhennaya komissiya’s failure or administrative reform’s success. If you have only limited number of classes to devote to the second half of the XVIII c. Russia, there are better ways to prioritize.

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  2. 2) Stalin: Passage to Revolution by Ronald Grigor Suny has this sentence: “Stalin emerges as an ambitious climber within the Bolshevik ranks, a resourceful leader of a small terrorist band, and a writer and thinker who was deeply engaged with some of the most incendiary debates of his time.” (c) For the record – Stalin never belonged to the terrorist organization, neither did the Bolsheviks use the terrorism as a method of struggle.

    The “monumental-ness” of the book is nearly, ah, palatable.

    3) Cold War II: Hollywood’s Renewed Obsession with Russia by Tatyana Prorokova-Konrad et al

    “In recent years, Hollywood cinema has forwarded a growing number of images of the Cold War and entertained a return to memories of conflicts between the USSR and the US, Russians and Americans, and communism and capitalism.

    From newest TV series “Condor” (a modern day remake of the cult classic “Three Days of the Condor”):

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Ei9FuJ3XcAAiZpP?format=jpg&name=small
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Ei9FuahXsAYYtw9?format=jpg&name=small

    ^That’s their portrayal of the Russian Federation’s (note the flag in the left corner) embassy in DC.

    […]

    Because, obviously:

    A) “Eternal Russia” is a thing.

    B) Russians are eternal “commies” even now.

    C) “Commies” in Hollywoodish TRADITION are caricatures

    Truth does not matter, because Russians are the Enemy. People watch this flicks because they want to see the Enemy, and they already, through the inter-generational osmosis expect the Enemy to look, behave (and die) in a particular way.

    P.S. Btw – that picture in the embassy symbolizing “totalitarian soc-realism”? It’s Mongolian. But, hey – who differentiates dem hordes from the Asia, amirite?

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  3. JT, if you want to read about young Stalin, please find a book by a Russian historian А.В. Островский:”Кто стоял за спиной Сталина”. I have a premonition it is much better that the one by Suny and hence it will never be translated into English.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. В последнее время появилось немалое количество книг типа “Сталин в молодости.” Смотри также Молодой Сталин Саймона Себаг-Монтефиоре и первый том биографии Сталина Стивена Коткина.

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      1. Ну Монтефиоре странно мне читать. Да и вообще зачем мне читать про советских деятелей в пересказе иностранных ученых (или, что хуже, в пересказе публицистов/журналистов), не все из которых владеют русским языком. Точно так же про США я буду скорее читать американских авторов, а не российских. Просто потому что первые изначально лучше разбираются в истории своей страны.

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        1. Не могу не согласиться с этим. Последний мой ответ являлся замечанием, а не рекомендацией)

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  4. Литенбург, чего ты накинулся на Радищева? Нормальная у него книга. Да и Пушкин к 30-м стал уже немного охранителем (см.”Клеветникам России”), хотя до этого справедливо писал про “барство дикое без чувства, без закона”.

    Меня больше смущает Белодубровская. Очередная эмигрантка на гранте, которая стремится заслужить похвалу хозяина? Трофименкова с его opus magnum про красный Голливуд когда на английский переведут?

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    1. “Литенбург, чего ты накинулся на Радищева? Нормальная у него книга.”

      […]

      Скажите, ЧиК, а вот “Бедная Лиза” Карамзина тоже может служить примером “протожурналистики” и “expository writing” (что имеют ув.тов. профессора под этим термином мне понять сложно) в деле изучения и точного представления о быте российского крестьянства в конце XVIII в.? Или может эти произведения надо оценивать с учётом специфики эпохи и культорного контекста? В смысле, осознать, что оба два являются, во многом, “трибьютом” популярным тогда произведениям в жанре сентименталистики, а не реализма.

      Использование “Путешествия…” не по назначению и вне контекста, это, в лучшем случае, попытка забивать гвозди микроскопом. В худшем случае (как я подозревая) голимая пропаганда.

      “Да и Пушкин к 30-м стал уже немного охранителем”

      И таки это плохо? И что более хожу, по-вашему: что человек стал “охранителем”, или, что стал им к 30 годам жизни? Лицей должен был готовить не поэтов, а высококвалифицированные кадры для Российской Империи. Несмотря на все героические попытки не служить по специальсности (в МИД), Пушкину приходилось сталкивать с “большим миром” и ролью России в нём, будь то в Новороссии и Одещине, на Кавказе или во время известных событий в Польше (и особенно международной реакции на это).

      “хотя до этого справедливо писал про “барство дикое без чувства, без закона””

      А потом у себя в “заточении” в Михайловском прижил… сколько быстрюков? 😉

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      1. Не увидел опровержения своим словам.

        Радищев написал одно, Пушкин – другое. И одного, и другого можно упрекнуть в предвзятости. Не читать Радищева? Почему же, вполне можно. И даже де Кюстена можно. А затем еще почитать исследователей эпохи, чтобы разобраться в вопросе.

        Пушкин-то прижил в Михайловском (я помню, правда, только одну девушку, которую “отослали”), но как это вступает в противоречие с обвинением крепостничества? Креп.права не было? Против него не надо было выступать? Алкоголик не может сочувствовать антиалкогольной кампании? Доказано, что Пушкин девушку изнасильничал, пользуясь ее рабским положением?

        PS пользуясь случаем, хотел бы заверить, что с удовольствием читаю ваши сообщения на просторах интернета.

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        1. “Не увидел опровержения своим словам.

          А я не увидел место, где пишу, что «Путешествие…» плохое произведение.

          “Радищев написал одно, Пушкин – другое. И одного, и другого можно упрекнуть в предвзятости.”

          Несомненно. Но нужно понимать, что каждый из них писал в разное время и в разных жанрах. Радищев, как это было принято в XVIII в., занимался дидактикой. На потребность «осуждать пороки и очищать нравы» наложил свой отпечаток модный тогда в Европе сентиментализм (некоторые пассажи читаются как прямая калька), придав произведению определённую форму.

          Критика Пушкина происходит из-за смены литературных поколений, вкусов и взглядов. В его эпоху в краю угла становится реализм. В этом главная претензия Александра Сергеича. Она совершенно справедлива, если подходить к «Путешествую…» с сугубо реалистических позиций. Но так не надо делать – книга, как по содержанию, так и по форме, не о том.

          Я спрашиваю – а студентам вот это вот всё объясняют? Видимо, нет. В таком случае, нужна вот такая ивазивная Пушкинотерапия с его обратным “Путешествием” (написанным в жанре “нонфикшен”), дабы выветрилось из мозгов всякое лишнее.

          “А затем еще почитать исследователей эпохи, чтобы разобраться в вопросе.”

          Обратный порядок – сначала исследователи, потом худлит. И, самое главное, не использовать данный худлит как источник или учебное пособие. А именно этим и грешат все зарубежные «Russian Studies». Ведь речь идёт не о том, что почитать на досуге, а об образовании. Кого они там готовят? «Экспертов» по России?

          Кстати, а это мысль! Взять в качестве источников по российской истории «Путешествие» + «Бедную Лизу», потом «Записки охотника» Тургенева, потом «Кому на Руси…» Некрасова, и, в завершение, рассказы Короленко, а потом вывести из их содержания обжигающей истины вывод. Оказывается, за сто лет произошла деградация российского крестьянства из прилизанного, почти неотличимого (за исключением пары имён) от западноевропейского, до чего непотребного и, главное, такого непохожего! Источники ведь врать не будут.

          [А если каким-то боком приплести к этому современную Россию… Ух, грантам – быть! :)]

          “Креп.права не было? Против него не надо было выступать?”

          Лицемерие ни капли не помогает этому процессу. Наоборот, отдельные вопиющие примеры могут стать той самой пресловутой «одной-единственной овцой» из пошлого анекдота про шотландца.

          “Доказано, что Пушкин девушку изнасильничал, пользуясь ее рабским положением?”

          Идиома недели: «Свечку не держал»

          “PS пользуясь случаем, хотел бы заверить, что с удовольствием читаю ваши сообщения на просторах интернета.”

          […]

          Запрещённый приём – кто-то говорит хорошее про Lyt’а 😉

          Like

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