Natasha's dance

a cultural history of Russia

By Figes, Orlando

Publishers Summary:
"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."--BOOK JACKET.

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ISBN
978-0-80505-783-6
Publisher
New York : Metropolitan Books, 2002.


REVIEWS

Library Journal

Reviewed on October 1, 2002

Figes (history, Univ. of London; A People's Tragedy) describes the twists and turns of Russian history through cultural and artistic events from the founding of Rus in the 12th century through the Soviet era. He uses Tolstoy's War and Peace as a centerpiece of art imitating life. The title of Figes's book comes from the scene in which Natasha Rostov and her brother Nikolai are invited by their "uncle" to a r...Log In or Sign Up to Read More

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