Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia
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Tolstoy shows that however grand and foreign-educated they might be, at heart the Russians are Russians. Although it is indeed believed that Zvyozdochkin and Malyutin were inspired by East Asian culture such as the Honshu doll (which is not nested), this is not definitive, and sources differ in the descriptions of the original doll that served as the alleged ‘inspiration’ ranging from a hollow daruma doll portraying a Buddhist monk to a Shichi-Fukujin doll (where the Japanese god of longevity and happiness, Fukurokuju, was the outermost doll, and could be taken apart to reveal six smaller wooden figures representing the other gods). Their characters - aristocrats, Caucasian tribesmen, drunkards, prostitutes and soldiers - gambled, sang and philosophised in each other's company. But, as I have ventured down my Russian rabbit hole I have learned to appreciate their talents and now feel it is a shame that Figes doesn’t spent a little more time on them.
Orlando Figes disecciona muchas falsas creencias y explora las verdaderas raíces que llevan a la destrucción de los zares y la entrada del comunismo. Published first in 2002, the book takes its name from a scene in a giant of Russian literature, Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace, in which Natasha Rostova’s innate Russian-ness breaks through the veneer of enlightened European thinking she has acquired, highlighting the dual-nature of Tsarist Russian society. Diğer bütün bölümlerde siyasi olayları sadece dönemin sanatsal akımlarını daha anlaşılabilir bir biçimde göstermeye yetecek şekilde anlatırken 100 sayfalık bu bölümde neredeyse her iki cümlesinden birisi Stalin rejimi olan bir tarihçinin güvenilirliği ve tarafsızlığı tartışmaya açıktır bence.If you want to know whether Figes truly captured the concept of ‘русскость’ then I would have to say ‘no,’ although he was pretty decent at explaining the importance of ‘родина. Yazar burada karakterin farklı öğretilerle büyütülmüş olmasına rağmen içindeki Rus ruhunu her daim korumasından etkilenerek bu tarih kitabına bu ismi vermiş. There was also influence from Asia which factored into the cultural conundrum—Russia is an immense country stretching from Eastern Europe to across Asia to the very tip of North America, and many minority demographic populations within Russia are Asian in descent and heritage, such as ethnic Siberians and native Mongolians, to say nothing of former Soviet territories existing in the nebulous space between Europe and Central Asia, such as Kazakhstan, Georgia, Abkhazia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. What is completely fascinating is the rich Russian’s obsession with the peasant, from how they are described in novels such as War and Peace, to how the upper classes, tried to live like them and even toil the land like them, bare foot and all. Some, such as Pyotr I and later Catherine II, wanted the former; others, such as Aleksandr III, wanted the second; still others, such as Aleksandr II, preferred the latter.
At the heart of Natasha's dance is the encounter between two entirely different worlds, says Figes: The European culture of the upper classes and the Russian culture of the peasantry - an enduring theme in Russian history that is unfolded in the book. Non può certo essere contenuta in una biblioteca, come gli “otto volumi sottili” che gli esuli mettevano nel loro bagaglio. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of his work, especially as several people have told me his history of the Russian Revolution is a new classic and one of the very best on the subject. Petro’nun başlattığı bu akım Petersburg’daki aristokrat kesimin özümsemesiyle birlikte bence oldukça ilginç boyutlara varmış. Figes mobilizes a cast of serf harems, dynasties, politburos, libertines, filmmakers, novelists, composers, poets, tsars and tyrants .The book begins in the 18th century and extends through the Soviet regime (20th century AD), completely ignoring anything involving Russian culture before 1700 AD. It is a history of folklore, art, music, poetry and famous figures and how they crossed paths to great the Russian identity. There is more than one reference to this and as I result I cannot give this book five starts as it leaves a question over Figes’ validity. Tolstoy was remotely related to Volkonsky, and the latter became the model for Prince Bolkonsky in "War and Peace. Even so some were drawn back to the concept of 'Rodina' the place where ones roots lay where they belonged, where they could hear the music of their native language and see familiar streets and feel the climate and smell the birch forest only then was their Russian Soul at peace.