Synopses & Reviews
The weather in Moscow is good, there's no cholera, there's also no lesbian love...Brrr! Remembering those persons of whom you write me makes me nauseous as if I'd eaten a rotten sardine. Moscow doesn't have them--and that's marvellous."
Anton Chekhov, writing to his publisher in 1895
Chekhov's barbed comment suggests the climate in which Sophia Parnok was writing, and is an added testament to to the strength and confidence with which she pursued both her personal and artistic life. Author of five volumes of poetry, and lover of Marina Tsvetaeva, Sophia Parnok was the only openly lesbian voice in Russian poetry during the Silver Age of Russian letters. Despite her unique contribution to modern Russian lyricism however, Parnok's life and work have essentially been forgotten.
Parnok was not a political activist, and she had no engagement with the feminism vogueish in young Russian intellectual circles. From a young age, however, she deplored all forms of male posturing and condescension and felt alienated from what she called patriarchal virtues. Parnok's approach to her sexuality was equally forthright. Accepting lesbianism as her natural disposition, Parnok acknowledged her relationships with women, both sexual and non-sexual, to be the centre of her creative existence.
Diana Burgin's extensively researched life of Parnok is deliberately woven around the poet's own account, visible in her writings. The book is divided into seven chapters, which reflect seven natural divisions in Parnok's life. This lends Burgin's work a particular poetic resonance, owing to its structural affinity with one of Parnok's last and greatest poetic achievements, the cycle of love lyrics Ursa Major. Dedicated to her last lover, Parnok refers to this cycle as a seven-star of verses, after the seven stars that make up the constellation. Parnok's poems, translated here for the first time in English, added to a wealth of biographical material, make this book a fascinating and lyrical account of an important Russian poet. Burgin's work is essential reading for students of Russian literature, lesbian history and women's studies.
The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries saw the rise of capitalism and the modern nation-state, the establishment of an increasingly international economy, and the beginnings of modern colonialism. It was a turbulent time, marked by revolutionary developments in culture and religion, social conflict, political upheaval, and civil war. It was also an age of passionate debate and radical innovation in political theory and practice. Many contemporary political ideologies and conceptsideas of the state, civil society, property, and individual rights, to name a fewcan trace their ancestry to this era.
Illuminating the roots of contemporary Western political thought, A Trumpet of Sedition surveys canonical texts by prominent thinkers such as Thomas More, Richard Hooker, Thomas Hobbes, and John Locke, radicals like the Levellers and Gerrard Winstanley and other less well known but important figures. In clear and lively prose, while situating them in their social and political context in new and original ways and contrasting the English case to others in Europe. By examining political ideas not merely as free-floating abstractions but as living encounters with the historical experiencethe formation of the English state and the rise of agrarian capitalismA Trumpet of Sedition illuminates the roots of contemporary Western political thought.
About the Author
Ellen Meiksins Wood
is co-editor of Monthly Review
; author of many books, including The Pristine Culture of Capitalism
(1991) and Democracy Against Capitalism
(1995); and co-editor of In Defense of History
Neal Wood is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at York University. His books include The Foundations of Political Economy, Cicero's Social and Political Thought, and John Locke and Agrarian Capitalism.