Synopses & Reviews
For more than three centuries, St. Petersburg, founded in 1703 by Peter the Great as Russia's westward-oriented capital and as a visually stunning showcase of Russia's imperial ambitions, has been the country's most mythologized city. Like a museum piece, it has functioned as a site for preservation, a literal and imaginative place where Russians can commune with idealized pasts. Preserving Petersburg represents a significant departure from traditional representations. By moving beyond the "Petersburg text" created by canonized writers and artists, the contributors to this engrossing volume trace the ways in which St. Petersburg has become a "museum piece," embodying history, nostalgia, and recourse to memories of the past. The essays in this attractively illustrated volume trace a process of preservation that stretches back nearly three centuries, as manifest in the works of noted historians, poets, novelists, artists, architects, filmmakers, and dramatists.
This collection brings together history, literature, architecture, and the politics of memory. The essays Goscilo (literature, Univ. of Pittsburgh) and Norris (film, Miami Univ., Ohio) have gathered look at the image of St. Petersburg, past and present, with particular reference to the city as a "preserved" site, both in the sense of being cherished in memory and the more negative sense of being embalmed as a kind of open-air museum rather than a vibrant living city. Essays on Petersburg in literary texts, poetry, and the visual arts (by Goscilo, Julie Buckler, Zara Torlone, Vladimir Khazan) join historical articles by William Brumfield (who looks at architecture), Steve Duke (who discusses multi-ethnic Petersburg), Cynthia Simmons (memory of the siege in WW II), and Richard Stites (culture and memory, especially in the early 19th century). Norris analyzes recent portrayals of Petersburg in popular culture, including film. The book includes a number of excellent images (both photographs of the city and images of art works showing different aspects of Petersburg life). Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.T. R. Weeks, Southern Illinois University, Choice, Feb. 2009--T. R. Weeks, Southern Illinois University"Choice" (01/01/2009)
"An interesting and important contribution to existing scholarship on St. Petersburg's myth, cult, and text. --Catharine Theimer Nepomnyashchy, Barnard College A truly innovative contribution to the scholarship on Petersburg... The volume should be read by all serious Slavic scholars." --Emily Johnson, University of Oklahoma Indiana University Press
Innovative perspectives on how St. Petersburg's rich cultural heritage is preserved and remembered
About the Author
Helena Goscilo is Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh. Her many books include Russia Women Culture, edited with Beth Holmgren (IUP, 1996), and Anastasia Verbitskaia's Keys to Happiness, translated and edited with Beth Holmgren (IUP, 1999).
Stephen M. Norris is Associate Professor of History at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. He is author of A War of Images: Russian Popular Prints, Wartime Culture, and National Identity, 1812-1945 and editor (with Zara Torlone) of Insiders and Outsiders in Russian Cinema (IUP, 2008).
Table of Contents
Introduction: Preserving Petersburg / Helena Goscilo and Stephen M. Norris
1. St. Petersburg and the Art of Survival / William Craft Brumfield
2. The City's Memory: Texts of Preservation and Loss in Imperial St. Petersburg / Julie Buckler
3. Unsaintly St. Petersburg? Visions and Visuals / Helena Goscilo
4. A Tale of Two Cities: Ancient Rome and St. Petersburg in Mandelstam's Poetry / Zara Torlone
5. Petersburg in the Poetry of the Russian Emigration / Vladimir Khazan
6. Multiethnic St. Petersburg: The Late Imperial Period / Steven Duke
7. Leningrad Culture under Siege (19411944) / Cynthia Simmons
8. Cultural Capital and Cultural Heritage: St. Petersburg and the Arts of Imperial Russia / Richard Stites
9. Strolls Through Postmodern Petersburg: Celebrating the City in 2003 / Stephen M. Norris
List of Contributors