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Natalia Murray

This book is the first biography of Nikolay Punin (1888-1953). One of the most prominent art-critics of the avant-garde, in 1919 Punin was the Commissar of the Hermitage and Russian Museums, he was lecturing at the Academy of Arts and at the State University in Petrograd (and subsequently Leningrad). He was the right hand of Lunacharsky and the head of the Petrograd branch of the Visual Arts Department of Narkompross. From 1913 till 1938, Punin worked at the Russian Museum and organized several major exhibitions of Russian art. Yet his name is not widely known in the West, primarily because his file languished in the KGB archives since he died in 1953, partly because his grave in the Gulag where he died is marked only by a number, and partly because his own reputation became submerged under that of his lover, poet and writer Anna Akhmatova. Through the life and inheritance of Nikolay Punin, this book will examine the very phenomenon of the Russian avant-garde and its fate after the October Revolution, as well as the artistic trends and cultural policies which dominated Soviet art in the 1930-1950s.

For an interview with the author on The Voice of Russia (July 19th, 2012): click here.

Reformulating Russia

The Cultural and Intellectual Historiography of Russian First-Wave Émigré Writers


Kåre Johan Mjør

Georgii Fedotov’s Saints of Ancient Russia, Georgii Florovskii’s The Ways of Russian Theology, Nikolai Berdiaev’s The Russian Idea and Vasilii Zenkovskii’s History of Russian Philosophy—these are among the most well-known and widely-read historical studies of Russian thought and culture. Having left their homeland after the Bolshevik Revolution, these four authors aimed to present their readers with a common past and thus with a common identity, and their historical works emerged out of the need for reorientation in a post-revolutionary, émigré situation. At the same time, they were to elaborate highly contrasting versions of the Russian past. By means of in-depth narrative and contextual analyses, Reformulating Russia provides a detailed examination of the visions of Russia contained in these four works.


PATRICIA CARDEN (Ithaca, NY, U.S.A.) WIT AND UNDERSTANDING: THE VOICES OF LIDIIA GINZBURG Theory and history o f literature are not for unifying, but for differentiating phenomena, and for striving to reveal and define their specificity.1 We have become accustomed to the voice o f Lidiia

Boris Dralyuk

Eric Laursen, Toxic Voices: The Villain from Early Soviet Literature to Socialist Realism . Evanston, IL : Northwestern University Press, 2013. xi, 170 pp. $ 45.00. In his well-conceived, engagingly written, and utterly convincing brief monograph on the role of villains in Soviet

Balkan Transitions to Modernity and Nation-States

Through the Eyes of Three Generations of Merchants (1780s-1890s)


Evguenia Davidova

In contrast to research on elites or “history from below,” this study offers an approach that can be called “mesohistory” – a collective social biography of the Balkan merchants. In foregrounding the voices of traders, this study sheds fresh light on multiethnic networks of social actors navigating multiple social, political, and economic systems – supporting and opposing various aspects of nationalist ideologies. Personal accounts humanize features of these “faceless” socially mediating groups. Merchants’ generation-specific perspectives on the economy, society, and state, both in times of war and peace, are analyzed against the backdrop of Balkan, Ottoman, and European history. The study captures a dialogue between primary and secondary sources and the major debates regarding nationalism, modernity, and the Ottoman legacy.

Angela Brintlinger

officials, and FSU academic specialists. Despite its scientific terminology, Environment and Technology in the Former USSR is not technically overwhelming for non-scientifically trained readers. Anne Fitzpatrick Los Alamos National L a b o r a t o r y Sally Dalton-Brown. Voices from the Void: The Genres

Robert W. Thurston

. Speaking in Soviet Tongues: Language Culture a n d the Politics o f Voice in Revolutionary Russia. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2003. xi, 266 pp. $40.00. The revolutionary Soviet government faced a huge problem in communicating with and mobilizing the country's people. How could the state

G.M. Hamburg

9 1 7 : A Liberal Voice in Tsarist Rus- sia. N e w York: Peter Lang, 2000. 462 pp. $70.95. Professor Daniel B a l m u t h ' s new book offers us, in the narrowest sense, a biogra- phy o f one o f imperial R u s s i a ' s most important newspapers, from its foundation to the February 1917 Revolution

Daniel T. Orlovsky

B O O K R E V I E W S / C O M P T E S R E N D U S G. R. V. Barratt. Voices in Exile: The Decembrist Memoirs. Montreal and London: Mc- Gill Queen's University Press, 1974. xxi, 381 pp. $18.50. T h i s v o l u m e , c o n s i s t i n g o f t r a n s l a t e d e x c e r p t s f r o m D e c e m b r