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  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: July 2012

1 - Russian cultural history: introduction


What are the lessons of Russian culture, what does it have to offer us and our time? Fortunately, Russian cultural studies have a rich history that provides orientation and points of engagement in answering such questions. In spite of a rich diversity of approaches that have changed over time and in reaction to historical and social context, most cultural analysts depend on certain basic vantage points they assume in common, whether in part or in whole. They are: the language foundations of a culture, its geographic location, its religious and ideological attachments, and its broadly based folk ethos. Yet other points of view exist in aesthetic texts that are equally open to history and later uses but that have some material permanence in their media of transmission.

Such is the basis of the present book's structure. It is divided into two parts: the first combining major approaches to culture which influence both observers and participants; the second, offering brief histories of Russian contributions to the arts and emphasizing the modern period from 1860 on. The intersections of these analytical and creative concerns as well as the intersections within them of different personalities, events, and artifacts provide a comprehensive overview, although considerations of space and general readership have limited the contributors to introductions of many of the complex and varied parts of the Russian cultural experience.

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The Cambridge Companion to Modern Russian Culture
  • Online ISBN: 9781139030359
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