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Publisher's Summary

From the earliest recorded history of the Russian state, its people have sought to define their place in the world. And while many of us look to make sense of Russia through its political history, in many ways a real grasp of this awe-inspiring country comes from looking closely at its cultural achievements. 

The 24 lectures of Understanding Russia: A Cultural History survey hundreds of years of Russian culture, from the world of Ivan the Terrible to the dawn of the Soviet Union to the post-war tensions of Putin’s Russia. Blending history with cultural studies, they are designed to bring you closer than ever before to the Russian people - not just the authoritarian rulers like Peter the Great, the Romanovs, and Stalin but the everyday men and women who sought their own meaning in the poetry of Pushkin, the comfort of early folk tales, the faith of medieval iconography, the avant-garde films of Eisenstein, and more. 

You’ll discover surprising insights into centuries of cultural history, including peasant superstitions, such as avoiding whistling indoors, and the culture of queuing for goods and services that defined everyday life for ordinary Soviets. You’ll also spend time in the company of novelists, painters, poets, filmmakers, impresarios, composers, revolutionaries, and intellectuals who shaped Russia in myriad ways, including The Five, a group of composers who created a distinctly national sound based in part on Russian folk music; and Sergei Eisenstein, the filmmaker whose Battleship Potemkin revolutionized the language of cinema. 

In a time when the eyes of the Western world are constantly drawn to Russia, it’s amazing how little we really know about its culture. These lectures will help you finally understand that complex, thrilling, and undeniably fascinating spirit. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.  

©2018 The Great Courses (P)2018 The Teaching Company, LLC

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