Odd Man Karakozov

Odd Man Karakozov

2.0 1
by Claudia Verhoeven
     
 

ISBN-10: 080144652X

ISBN-13: 9780801446528

Pub. Date: 03/12/2009

Publisher: Cornell University Press

On April 4, 1866, just as Alexander II stepped out of Saint Petersburg's Summer Garden and onto the boulevard, a young man named Dmitry Karakozov pulled out a pistol and shot at the tsar. He missed, but his "unheard-of act" changed the course of Russian history—and gave birth to the revolutionary political violence known as terrorism.

Based on clues pulled

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Overview

On April 4, 1866, just as Alexander II stepped out of Saint Petersburg's Summer Garden and onto the boulevard, a young man named Dmitry Karakozov pulled out a pistol and shot at the tsar. He missed, but his "unheard-of act" changed the course of Russian history—and gave birth to the revolutionary political violence known as terrorism.

Based on clues pulled out of the pockets of Karakozov's peasant disguise, investigators concluded that there had been a conspiracy so extensive as to have sprawled across the entirety of the Russian empire and the European continent. Karakozov was said to have been a member of "The Organization," a socialist network at the center of which sat a secret cell of suicide-assassins: "Hell." It is still unclear how much of this "conspiracy" theory was actually true, but of the thirty-six defendants who stood accused during what was Russia's first modern political trial, all but a few were exiled to Siberia, and Karakozov himself was publicly hanged on September 3, 1866. Because Karakozov was decidedly strange, sick, and suicidal, his failed act of political violence has long been relegated to a footnote of Russian history.

In The Odd Man Karakozov, however, Claudia Verhoeven argues that it is precisely this neglected, exceptional case that sheds a new light on the origins of terrorism. The book not only demonstrates how the idea of terrorism first emerged from the reception of Karakozov's attack, but also, importantly, what was really at stake in this novel form of political violence, namely, the birth of a new, modern political subject. Along the way, in characterizing Karakozov's as an essentially modernist crime, Verhoeven traces how his act profoundly impacted Russian culture, including such touchstones as Repin's art and Dostoevsky's literature.

By looking at the history that produced Karakozov and, in turn, the history that Karakozov produced, Verhoeven shows terrorism as a phenomenon inextricably linked to the foundations of the modern world: capitalism, enlightened law and scientific reason, ideology, technology, new media, and above all, people's participation in politics and in the making of history.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801446528
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Publication date:
03/12/2009
Pages:
248
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Note on Transliteration, Translation, Dates, and Dramatis Personae

Introduction
1. From the Files of the Karakozov Case: The Virtual Birth of Terrorism
2. The Real Rakhmetov: The Image of the Revolutionary after Karakozov
3. "A Life for the Tsar": Tsaricide in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
4. Raskolnikov, Karakozov, and the Etiology of a “New Word”
5. Armiak; or “So Many Things in an Overcoat!”
6. “Factual Propaganda,” an Autopsy; or, the Morbid Origins of April 4, 1866
7. The Head of the Tsaricide
Conclusion: The Point of April 4, 1866

Appendixes
A. Dramatis Personae
B. Individuals Involved in the Investigation and Trials
C. The Karakozov Case, 1866–Present: Sources and Historiography

List of Abbreviations
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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The Odd Man Karakozov: Imperial Russia, Modernity, and the Birth of Terrorism 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Bliokh More than 1 year ago
The author correctly identifies the connection between the birth of the terrorism and "modernity" meaning the power of public opinion and the media as the major forces shaping society. Like all postmodernist accounts it suffers from a total lack of humanistic empathy or even an understanding of politics as a meaningful human endeavor. For Claudia Verhoeven, Karakozov's intent to kill one of the ablest Russian autocrats in order to foment a bloody civil war, or so he thought, seems as much of a form of self-expression as eating breakfast or writing a poem. Consequently, Verhoeven engages in "interpretations" of Karakozov's behavior where there is nothing to be interpreted. He, as his cousin and the main intellectual influence-- Ishutin--was an obvious schizophrenic. The name of the Organization's inner circle, "the Hell" suggests that this was more of a macabre cult than a political conspiracy with rational goals. Complete review of the "Odd Man Karakozov" as well as other reviews by A. Bliokh can be viewed at oldpossumsbookreview.blogspot.com