08.02.2010


Books for Winter Reading
Literary and Cultural Histories and More

The following are a handful of books that have recently come to our attention. Most have been recently published or updated and provide a wide range of interesting material.

End of the Cold War and More

Taming the Wild EastBusiness

Taming the Wild East  (FREE!)
This book, brought online for free via a special partnership between SRAS and its publisher, tells the stories of some of Russia's first entrepreneurs after the fall of the USSR. This book © Delta Private Equity Partners. Reprinted with permission of Delta Private Equity Partners.

Russian Business Power
Russian Business Power explores the powerful impact business is having on the evolution of the Russian state and its foreign behaviour. Unlike other books, which focus either on Russia's foreign and security policy, or on the evolution of Russian business, legal and illegal, within the context of Russia's domestic transition, this book considers how far Russia's foreign and security policy is shaped by business. It considers a wide range of issues, including energy, the arms trade, international drug flows, and human trafficking, and examines the impact of Russian business in Russia's dealings with Western and Eastern Europe, the Caspian, the Caucasus and the Far East.

 

Cultural Histories

Cultural Histories of Sovereignty\"\"
In The Captive and the Gift: Cultural Histories of Sovereignty in Russia and the Caucasus, anthropologist Bruce Grant explores the long relationship between Russia and the Caucasus and the means by which sovereignty has been exercised in this contested area. Taking his lead from Aleksandr Pushkin's 1822 poem "Prisoner of the Caucasus," Grant explores the extraordinary resonances of the themes of violence, captivity, and empire in the Caucasus through mythology, poetry, short stories, ballet, opera, and film. Grant argues that while the recurring Russian captivity narrative reflected a wide range of political positions, it most often and compellingly suggested a vision of Caucasus peoples as thankless, lawless subjects of empire who were unwilling to acknowledge and accept the gifts of civilization and protection extended by Russian leaders.

Cultural History of Russian Literature\"\"
To tell the story of each period, the authors provide an introductory essay touching on the highpoints of its development and then concentrate on one biography, one literary or cultural event, and one literary work, which serve as prisms through which the main outlines of a given period's development can be discerned. Although the focus is on literature, individual works, lives and events are placed in broad historical context as well as in the framework of parallel developments in Russian art and music.

The Decembrist Myth in Russian Culture\"\"
This book is the first interdisciplinary treatment of the mythic image of the Decembrists. By exploring Russian literature, history, film and opera this book shows how the Decembrist myth evolved over time depending on political agendas. Though originally it functioned as a myth of opposition to authority and espoused self-sacrifice, it later became a legitimating myth for the Soviet regime. Ludmilla Trigos reveals how the Decembrist myth inspired generations of Russian revolutionaries and writers and still retains its hold on the Russian cultural imagination.

 

Literature, Literary Histories

Memoirs of TolstayaThe Memoirs of Sofia Andreevna Tolstaya\"\"
Acting in the capacity of literary assistant, translator, transcriber, and editor, Sofia Andreevna Tolstaya played an integral part in the development of Tolstoy's legacy. Her complete and unabridged memoirs, available in English for the first time, provide a unique and intimate portrait of one of the greatest literary minds of all time. Sofia began writing My Life in 1904, starting with her memories of childhood. Her story takes us from the early years of her marriage to Tolstoy through the writing of War and Peace and Anna Karenina and into the first year of the twentieth century. Her remarkable narrative reveals the significant contributions Tolstaya made to her husband's career and sheds new light on a beloved literary icon.

Mandelstam
Now available for the first time in English, Oleg Lekmanov's critically acclaimed Mandelstam presents the maverick Russian poet's life and work to a wider audience and includes the most reliable details of the poet's life which were recently found and released from the KGB archives. Through his engaging narrative, Lekmanov carries the reader through Mandelstam's early life and education in pre-revolutionary Petersburg and at the Sorbonne in Paris and in Heidelberg and his return to revolutionary Russia. Over 500,000 political prisoners were sent to the Gulags in 1938; between 1931 and 1940, over 300,000 prisoners died in the Gulags - one of them was the poet Osip Mandelstam. This is the tragic story of his life pre-empted by the black cloth of Stalinism.

The Original of Laura\"\"
Dmitri Nabokov, now seventy-five--the Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov's only surviving heir, and translator of many of his books--has wrestled for three decades with the decision of whether to honor his father's wish to burn his last book - or preserve it for posterity. His decision finally to allow publication of the fragmented narrative--dark yet playful, preoccupied with mortality--affords us one last experience of Nabokov's magnificent creativity, the quintessence of his unparalleled body of work.

The 20th Century Russian Short Story\"\"
The 20th Century Russian Short Story: A Critical Companion is a collection of the most informative critical articles on some of the best twentieth-century Russian short stories from Chekhov and Bunin to Tolstaya and Pelevin. While each article focuses on a particular short story, collectively they elucidate the developments in each author's oeuvre and in the subjects, structure, and themes of the twentieth-century Russian short story. American, European and Russian scholars discuss the recurrent themes of language's power and limits, of childhood and old age, of art and sexuality, and of cultural, individual and artistic memory. The book opens with a discussion of the short story genre and its socio-cultural function. 

 

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