This article investigates the role of the screenplay in early Russian cinema and the life and work of Aleksandr Voznesenskii, who is considered to be the first professional writer of screenplays in Russia. It is no coincidence that Voznesenskii, who had been a novelist, a poet, a playwright, a literary critic, a universal writer of the Russian Silver Age, was the first major Russian writer for the screen, since, in a country with a logocentric culture, film was closely connected with literature from its very beginnings. Voznesenskii's screenplays (‘Tears’, ‘Silent Witnesses’, ‘The Queen of the Screen’, etc.) had a major influence on the development of early Russian cinema and he had a productive creative relationship with Evgenii Bauer. His writings (particularly his theoretical essays of the 1910s and his 1924 book, The Art of the Screen) played a key role in the development of cinema studies in Russia. He polemicized with Lev Kuleshov in the post-Revolutionary debates about the relative merits of the ‘Russian’ and ‘American’ montage systems. Furthermore, Voznesenskii was one of the pioneers of Russian film education. He made increasingly doomed attempts to adapt to the new cultural models of the Soviet period. Yet the role and achievements of this exemplary and pivotal figure have so far drawn little scholarly attention. The article draws upon a wide range of archival materials.
This paper is ah intorduction to the special issue of the journal devoted to Russian ennvironmental history. The special issue is edited by Jonathan Oldfield, Denis Shaw and Julia Lajus and is bradly concerned with exploring the different ways in which Russian society engaged with the natural environment from the late seventienth century htrough to late Soviet period.
This paper argues that as Dostoevsky endeavored to affirm a moral ideal in his struggle against nihilism—attempting to overcome the “inertia” of his protagonist the Underground Man—he gave lucid articulation to the moral-aesthetic values that would later become a staple for Russian revolutionaries, particularly the “conscientious” terrorist. Within this context the case of Vera Zasulich will be examined as an unanticipated realization of Dostoevsky’s moral ideal.
The article focuses on the legacy of Alexandre Kojève's interpretation of the Phenomenology of the Spirit by Hegel in the novel Homeward from Heaven by Boris Poplavskii, Russian émigré poet and writer who attended Kojève's seminar at the École pratique des hautes études in 1934–35 while writing his final narrative. This enables us to reconfigure the well-known notion of the ‘unnoticed generation’, which claims the cultural isolation of young émigrés in interwar Paris.
One of the most notable events in the cultural history of eighteenth-century Russia is arguably the 1730 publication of Vasilii Trediakovskii’s Ezda v ostrov luibvi (Journey to the Island of Love), a translation of Paul Tallemant’s novel Le Voyage de l’Isle d’Amour. This work, focused as it was on describing and even celebrating the evolution of its protagonist’s amorous feelings, is rightly considered to have opened a new page not only in the history of Russian literature, which hitherto had not known such genres, but also in the history of the Russian language. With its explicit depiction of sexual desires, with its thinly veiled portrayal of caressing different parts of female body as ‘climbing up the hills’ and descending into ‘deep valleys’, this was a text unlike anything the Russians had previously seen in print. It was in the course of producing this translation that Trediakovskii had to codify a new, previously non-existent vocabulary for conducting a polite secular discourse about carnal love and the affective states that accompany it. This vocabulary, in turn, played the key role in the evolution of lyrical poetry and of language of feelings later in the century.
Review of Ellen Mickiewicz's book, 'No illusions: the voices of Russia's future leaders'.
Review of: Hutcheson, Derek S. Parliamentary Elections in Russia: A Quarter-Century of Multiparty Politics. British Academy Monographs. The British Academy and Oxford University Press, London, Oxford and New York, 2018.
Russian Populists of the 1870s generation who remained in the country after 1917 struggled to find a place in the new society but also to defend their legacy as genuine revolutionaries who had pursued a different path from that of the Bolsheviks. Working collaboratively with others of his generation, many of whom were now members of the Society of Former Political Prisoners and Exiles (OPK), Nikolai Charushin wrote his memoirs (O dalekom proshlom, 3 vols, 1926–31) in close collaboration with several other surviving figures in that generation and under duress, to ‘get history right’ and provide an authentic rendition of their life experiences. The authors deploy the tools of memory and generational studies to show how a joint process of memoir writing evolved into one of collective auto/biography. This close study and comparison of the text of Charushin’s memoirs with those of others of his generation, of their unpublished correspondence — including previously overlooked letters of Vera Figner — and of the activities of the OPK sheds light on the ‘memory wars’ of the early Soviet era.
Review of Igal Halfin's book Intimate Enemies: Demonizing the Bolshevik Opposition, 1918-1928
This is a review of Rendle's scholarly study of Russian tsarist elites in 1917. The review analyses the main argument and the evidence provided in the book.
This is a review of two recent books on Leon Trotsky, one of the most prominent Russian revolutionary leaders and an ardent critic of Stalin. The review analyses the main arguments of both books as well as their contribution to the study of Trotsky's personality and political legacy.
The article explores the connection between Russia and the marine environment during the seventeenth century prior to the modernizing reforms of Peter the Great. Drawing from archival sources, it traces the links binding local and regional actors (e.g. state officials, local fishermen, monastic authorities, etc.) to an array of maritime resources and actors. Emphasis is placed on analysing the routine practices associated with natural resource use evident at this time in order to reveal a relatively complex management system underpinning Russia's exploitation of the maritime environment.
The paper argues that the new emotional models elaborated within the sentimentalist culture of the late eighteenth century were appropriated not only by the aristocratic elite but also by some educated members of the Russian “middle class”. The author focuses on the biographical details of the archivist, bureaucrat, and translator Aleksei Fedorovich Malinovskii (1762–1840) who authored a translation of the drama Poverty and Nobleness of Mind by August von Kozebue (1795) staged not only in Moscow Public Theater but also privately at Count Aleksandr Vorontsov’s estate theater in 1799. The paper considers the performance of the play that debated the issues of love and noble honour and used the language of sentiments as a form of a dialogue between Malinovskii and his patrons that, eventually, paved the way to justifying his eligibility as a prospective marriage partner for Vorontsov’s niece Anna Petrovna Islen’eva.