Russian artists and publicists created a symbolic language of revolution in left-leaning satirical magazines during and after the Revolution of 1905. They reversed the traditional association of the occult with rebellion and pictured tsarist officials as monsters, vampires, and demons. They stigmatized the old order and portrayed death as its murderous ally. They also evoked death as an instrument of revolution. This essay explores the imagery they used and the context in which they worked.
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The author of The Firebird and the Fox: Russian Culture under Tsars and Bolsheviks (Cambridge University Press, 2019) responds to comments of Michael David-Fox, Muireann Maguire, Kevin Platt, William Mills Todd, and Olga Velikanova. He expresses appreciation for the reflections provided and elaborates on several points raised by the commentators individually and collectively: the theoretical framing of the work and the importance of agency; continuity of culture over episodes of political disjuncture; the applicability of the term “cultural ecosystem;” an alternative treatment of the topic that would have accorded greater emphasis to political power and the life cycle of revolutions; and the relationship of the work to analysis of institutional history and cultural theory. He finds the five commentaries to be valuable companion pieces for readers of The Firebird and the Fox and stimulants to further scholarship.