Natasha's Dance

Natasha's Dance

A Cultural History of Russia

Book - 2002
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Baker & Taylor
Examines the culture of Russia, using the lives of writers, artists, and musicians to show how Russia has struggled to define its own soul in the twentieth century.

McMillan Palgrave
History on a grand scale-an enchanting masterpiece that explores the making of one of the world's most vibrant civilizations

A People's Tragedy, wrote Eric Hobsbawm, did "more to help us understand the Russian Revolution than any other book I know." Now, in Natasha's Dance, internationally renowned historian Orlando Figes does the same for Russian culture, summoning the myriad elements that formed a nation and held it together.

Beginning in the eighteenth century with the building of St. Petersburg-a "window on the West"-and culminating with the challenges posed to Russian identity by the Soviet regime, Figes examines how writers, artists, and musicians grappled with the idea of Russia itself-its character, spiritual essence, and destiny. He skillfully interweaves the great works-by Dostoevsky, Stravinsky, and Chagall-with folk embroidery, peasant songs, religious icons, and all the customs of daily life, from food and drink to bathing habits to beliefs about the spirit world. Figes's characters range high and low: the revered Tolstoy, who left his deathbed to search for the Kingdom of God, as well as the serf girl Praskovya, who became Russian opera's first superstar and shocked society by becoming her owner's wife.

Like the European-schooled countess Natasha performing an impromptu folk dance in Tolstoy's War and Peace, the spirit of "Russianness" is revealed by Figes as rich and uplifting, complex and contradictory-a powerful force that unified a vast country and proved more lasting than any Russian ruler or state.


Holtzbrinck
History on a grand scale-an enchanting masterpiece that explores the making of one of the world's most vibrant civilizations A People's Tragedy , wrote Eric Hobsbawm, did "more to help us understand the Russian Revolution than any other book I know." Now, in Natasha's Dance , internationally renowned historian Orlando Figes does the same for Russian culture, summoning the myriad elements that formed a nation and held it together. Beginning in the eighteenth century with the building of St. Petersburg-a "window on the West"-and culminating with the challenges posed to Russian identity by the Soviet regime, Figes examines how writers, artists, and musicians grappled with the idea of Russia itself-its character, spiritual essence, and destiny. He skillfully interweaves the great works-by Dostoevsky, Stravinsky, and Chagall-with folk embroidery, peasant songs, religious icons, and all the customs of daily life, from food and drink to bathing habits to beliefs about the spirit world. Figes's characters range high and low: the revered Tolstoy, who left his deathbed to search for the Kingdom of God, as well as the serf girl Praskovya, who became Russian opera's first superstar and shocked society by becoming her owner's wife. Like the European-schooled countess Natasha performing an impromptu folk dance in Tolstoy's War and Peace , the spirit of "Russianness" is revealed by Figes as rich and uplifting, complex and contradictory-a powerful force that unified a vast country and proved more lasting than any Russian ruler or state.

Blackwell North Amer
Orlando Figes's A People's Tragedy, wrote Eric Hobsbawm, did "more to help us understand the Russian Revolution than any other book I know." Now, in Natasha's Dance, this internationally renowned historian does the same for Russian culture, summoning the myriad elements that formed a nation and held it together.
Beginning in the eighteenth century with the building of St. Petersburg - a "window on the West" - and culminating with the challenges posed to Russian identity by the Soviet regime, Figes examines how writers, artists, and musicians grappled with the idea of Russia itself - its, character, spiritual essence, history, and destiny. What did it mean to be Russian - an illiterate serf or an imperial courtier? And where was the true Russia - in Europe or in Asia? Figes skillfully interweaves the great works - by Dostoevsky and Chekhov, Stravinsky and Chagall - with folk embroidery, peasant songs, religious icons, and all the customs of daily life, from eating, drinking, and bathing habits to beliefs about death and the spirit world. His fascinating characters range high and low; the revered Tolstoy, who left his deathbed to search the wilderness for the Kingdom of God; the serf girl Praskovya, who became Russian opera's first superstar, won the heart of her owner, and shocked society by becoming his wife; the composer Stravinsky, who returned to Russia after fifty years in the West and discovered that the homeland the had left had never left his heart.

Baker
& Taylor

The author of A People's Tragedy turns his attention to the culture of Russia, using the lives of writers, artists, and musicians to show how Russia has struggled to define its own soul in the twentieth century. 25,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt, 2002
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780805057836
0805057838
Branch Call Number: 947 FIGES
Characteristics: xxxiii, 728 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), maps ; 25 cm

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