All posts in category Russian History

Katorga and exile illustrated

Whilst planning a section of my chapter on pre-revolutionary works on Siberian prison and exile, I’ve been considering the role of images as well as the words, as many of the books I’ve been reading – at least most of those published after around 1880 in the UK and the States, and after around 1900 […]

Convicts and serfs: two books on Russian penal reform

I’m currently reading and re-reading material for a chapter of my book on narratives of prison, exile and hard labour, and have a few thoughts to put in order in relation to two books on Russian penal reform: Bruce F. Adams, The Politics of Punishment: Prison Reform in Russia 1863-1917 (DeKalb: North Illinois University Press, 1996) Abby […]

No worse than English prisons…

My work on nineteenth-century narratives about Russian imprisonment and exile has not only led me to read the classics that established the genre, notably Dostoevsky’s House of the Dead and Chekhov’s Sakhalin Island, but has also necessitated ploughing through many less celebrated works by both travellers and former prisoners and exiles. (See my previous post […]

“Russians” in Lewes

Last weekend I visited Lewes to give a lecture on Crime and Punishment at the Lewes Little Theatre, ahead of their forthcoming production of the novel, which opens on 12 October. I had a wonderful time, with a very appreciative and knowledgeable audience, and really interesting discussions with the cast and production team, whose perspectives on Crime […]

Four short links: Victor Serge

I’ve read quite a few of Victor Serge’s (Victor Lvovich Kibalchich’s) fictional and autobiographical works recently, and have come to the conclusion that he is a truly remarkable writer – indeed one of the most underrated writers of the twentieth century. My plan to write a longer post or two about his work has stalled […]

In Herzen’s footsteps: a visit to Ventnor

You never quite know where your research is going to take you, but I have to admit I didn’t expect it to be to the Isle of Wight. That, however, is where I ended up a couple of months ago as a result of my Russians in London post on Alexander Herzen, after I was […]

E. H. Carr on women

I’ve been re-reading parts of E. H. Carr’s The Romantic Exiles (1933) in preparation for a couple of forthcoming posts on Alexander Herzen, and it’s left an unpleasant taste that I have to address before I can even get onto Herzen. Clearly I’m far from being the first person to take issue with Carr – Norman […]

Four short links: photographs of Russia and Eastern Europe

1. Photographs of Old St Petersburg. A great mapping website with a wonderful collection of old photographs. It’s in Russian only, but easy to use even if you don’t speak the language. 2. Henri Cartier-Bresson. Pictures by one of my favourite photographers, mainly taken during his 1954 visit to Moscow. 3. Vintage Photographs of St […]

BASEES highlights

I was only able to visit a small number of panels at BASEES last weekend, and the ones I chose were a bit of a departure from my usual interests, but there were some very good papers. I was sorry to miss the first half of Hubert Bergmann’s paper on Russophilia in the German youth […]

Atamansha

According to one of my mailing lists, a poll to identify the women who best symbolize modern-day Russia has seen the top two places given to ageing  lite entertainment diva and staple of celebrity gossip magazines, Alla Pugacheva (I could never see the point, even ironically – perhaps because I like music), and the arch-Putinite […]