The Face of Russia: Anguish, Aspiration, and Achievement in Russian Culture

Overview

When the Soviet communist empire was overthrown by the Russians themselves in August 1991, the change was more clearly anticipated by humanistic students of creativity than by economic and political scientists surrounded by statistics and information. Does the Russian pattern of creativity provide any hints as to how the Russians might solve problems today? Having borrowed the democratic political model of their erstwhile American enemy, will they be able to create a distinctive Russian variant that can endure? ...

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Overview

When the Soviet communist empire was overthrown by the Russians themselves in August 1991, the change was more clearly anticipated by humanistic students of creativity than by economic and political scientists surrounded by statistics and information. Does the Russian pattern of creativity provide any hints as to how the Russians might solve problems today? Having borrowed the democratic political model of their erstwhile American enemy, will they be able to create a distinctive Russian variant that can endure? Or will they end up destroying their own experiment at accountable, constitutional government and returning to their long tradition of authoritarianism?The Face of Russia—a companion book to the corresponding PBS series—addresses these questions. This is a dazzling and forward-looking history of the Russian people as told through their art—from one of the world's great experts on Russian culture. The story covers eight hundred years of Russian creativity, and introduces us to the new art forms that burst onto the Russian scene and became the vehicles for expressing the creative aspirations of an age as well as the enduring Russian quest to find salvation and entertainment in art.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556356766
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/28/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

James H. Billington has served since 1987 as the thirteenth Librarian of Congress of the United States. A Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, he taught modern history with a special focus on Russian culture at Harvard and Princeton Universities from 1957 to 1973. He was Director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC, from 1973 to 1987. Dr. Billington is the author of the classic The Icon and the Ax: An Interpretive History of Russian Culture; Fire in the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith; and Russia Transformed: Breakthrough to Hope, an eyewitness account of the failed Communist coup in 1991 and the emergence of Russia as a democratic nation. He is one of the world's leading experts on Russia and has been a policy advisor to presidents and congressmen as well as leaders in the academic, ecclesiastical, and private sectors.

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Table of Contents


Preface     11
Introduction     15
The Monks     19
The Face on the Firewood: The Painting of Rublev     31
The Aristocrats     71
The Facade of Power: The Architecture of Rastrelli     80
Speech after Silence: The Literature of Gogol     103
The Masses     141
The Sounds of the People: The Music of Musorgsky     151
The Face of the Future: The Films of Eisenstein     185
The Human Reality: Facing Freedom     221
Conclusion     241
Bibliography     251
Index     257
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