Synopses & Reviews
The Russians - still one of the most numerous and powerful peoples on earth - have undergone an historical development whose direction and destiny continues to fascinate after more than 1100 years. This book represents an exploration of the ancient roots and subsequent transformations of their cultural history.
By concentrating in the first instance on the seven hundred years up to Russia's "Westernization" in the eighteenth century, the book follows several important social, cultural and artistic themes through to modern times. Thus pre-modern and folk-based cultural patterns are shown to have had an afterlife that has contributed essential components to the configuration of modern Russian culture, even in its ostensibly sophisticated and "Europeanized" manifestations.
Landscape and geographical constants are seen to have played a large part in determining both the material and imaginative culture of Rus (as Old Russia was known). This is the main subject of the book's first chapter, together with an account of the traditional Russian way of life. Thereafter the socio-political development and the belief-systems of Rus/Russia are discussed and related to historical events. The two final chapters treat, respectively, the role of language and literature in Russian consciousness, and the "iconic world" as manifested in various aspects of Russia's visual and oral culture.
The Russians provides a wide-ranging and original exploration of the Russian cultural experience. An underlying theme is that of the meaning of "Russianness" at both a collective and personal level. The book thus contributes, too, to our understanding of controversial matters of ethnicity and historical identity for this hugely influential, if often unstable, nation.
This book explores the ancient roots and transformations of the cultural history of the Russians, still one of the most numerous and powerful peoples on earth. The Russians have undergone an historical development whose direction and destiny remain fascinating after more than 1100 years.
The Russians concentrates on the 700 years preceding Russia's Westernization' in the eighteenth century, following important social, cultural, and artistic themes to modern times. It illustrates how pre-modern and folk-based cultural patterns have contributed to modern sophisticated and Europeanized' Russian culture.
The Russians examines geographical factors, the traditional Russian way of life, the socio-political development and the belief-systems of Russia -- and their relation to historical events. It also explores the role of language and literature in Russian consciousness, and the "iconic world" of Russia's visual and oral culture.
This wide-ranging and original survey of the Russian cultural experience evaluates the meaning of Russianness' at both a collective and personal level, contributing to our understanding of this hugely influential, if often unstable nation.
This book examines the history of the Russian peoples from the time of the first inhabitants of "Old Russia", or "Rus", up to the present day.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -238) and index.
About the Author
"Milner-Gulland's strength lies in his ability to write with equal facility and conviction about literature and the visual arts, about the fourteenth or the twentieth century, a strength underpinned by a reluctance to compartmentalize the arts with conventional historical periodization ... I can think of few better books for opening doors into a fascinating but often misunderstood world." Seer
Table of Contents
List of Plates.
List of Figures.
Introduction: Aims and Methods of the Book.
1. Rus as Land and People.
2. Rus as People and as State.
3. Belief Systems.
4. Let us Join Word to Word.
5. Iconic Russia.
Chronological Table to 1917.