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This is the first study in any language to trace the emergence of the art historical interest in icon painting in the nineteenth century with its evident impact on the course of Russian modernism in the twentieth century. Given the surge in popularity of the Russian avant-garde, a book devoted to the gradual awareness of the artistic value of icons and their effect on Russian aesthetics is timely. The discoveries, the false starts, the incompetence, the interaction of dilettantes and academics, the meddling of tsars and church officials, all make for a fascinating tale of growing cultural awarenss. It is a story that prepares the ground for the explosioin of Russian cultural creativity and acceptability in the early twentieth century.
Advisor: John W. Emerich
Translator: Paul Williams
Tsybikov was the first scholar with a European education to visit Tibet and describe its monasteries and temples as an eyewitness traveler and an objective researcher. Tsybikov had two distinct advantages: an ethnic Buryat he could travel as a Buddhist pilgrim and thus have a chance of reaching its mysterious capital Lhasa, the religious and political center of Tibet, which was barred to outsiders, especially Europeans; as a scholar educated at a European university he had the historical and linguistic background to understand and describe what he saw. Tsybikov understood the secretive nature of the lama state and was careful to hide his work as a researcher. It was his journal that became the basis of A Buddhist Pilgrim at the Shrines of Tibet, which has both the vividness of a traveller’s eyewitness account and the informed detachment of a scholar. As a record of both religious practices and the everyday life in Tibet before Chinese inroads during the twentieth century effaced that way of life, Tsybikov’s book is a unique and invaluable snapshot of a lost culture.
Advisor: John W. Emerich
Translator: Paul Williams
Ruslan Grigor'evitch Skrynnikov unfolds the drama of terror under Ivan the Terrible and his oprichnina. He uses new kinds of evidence paying close attention to primary sources. The conflicts between Ivan and the gentry, the crushing of Novgorod autonomy, the ways in which Ivan interpreted his authority and sought to create an alternative base of power in a loyal body of henchmen-followers known as the oprichnina, the alienation of different groups in society from the government, the impoverishment and weakening of whole regions leading to the Time of Troubles are among the themes that Skrynnikov develops. The details of Ivan’s confrontations with those he perceived as opponents, the forms of execution he inflicted on his enemies, the atmosphere of peril and suspicion that he created justify the description of his reign as one of terror, relevant of course to later periods of history with obvious echoes of the Stalinist period.