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Natasha's Dance - A Cultural History of Russia (Paperback, New Ed) Loot Price: R251
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Natasha's Dance - A Cultural History of Russia (Paperback, New Ed)

Orlando Figes

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List price R360 Loot Price R251 Discovery Miles 2 510 You Save R109 (30%)

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In this huge volume Figes tries to answer complex questions about Russian identity and culture - what makes the country and the people tick - and he does this brilliantly with insight and humour. Russia has always been an enigma to the Western world. We probably know more about its political history than about its people, and thankfully the book does not get stuck in the political mire. Far from it; Figes entertains the reader without watering down the history, and draws us in to the heartbeat of the Russian people. One of the chapters is titled 'In search of the Russian soul' and deals with the almost morbid veneration of suffering, the great desire for martyrdom, which seems to be a core element of the national character; and how Russian composers, artists and writers sought to express this trait and question its origins. He writes about the lives of the peasants, their rituals, their weddings, how they cooked, and what they ate. 'Moscow was a city of gourmands', Figes tells us as he writes of the excesses of the nobility, where princes vied with one another for the best chef and the best hospitality, and drank themselves silly on vodka. His portrait is intimate, eavesdropping into the hearts and minds of the populace, revealing their suffering and their humour. The writing is delightfully accessible and packed full of facts, yet its tone is light. He studies Tchaikovsky, Chagall, Stravinsky, religious icons and daily customs, and Russia's pagan roots. There is a fascinating chapter entitled 'Descendants of Genghiz Khan' and one about the artist Kandinsky's personal exploration of the Komi region, as he studied the roots of Russian folk culture. Then there are the brutalising effects of revolt and revolution, the rise of Lenin and Stalin, and how individual expression was crushed in the 20th century by communism. As an introduction to Russian culture there is nothing better than this, and there is plenty of meat for Russophiles everywhere. Figes is an internationally renowned historian and here he makes the history of this strange and melancholy country available to all. (Kirkus UK)

Orlando Figes’s enthralling, richly evocative history has been heralded as a literary masterpiece on Russia, the lives of those who have shaped its culture, and the enduring spirit of a people.

‘Awe-inspiring … Natasha’s Dance has all the qualities of an epic tragedy’ 
Frances Welsh, Mail on Sunday

‘A tour de force by the great storyteller of modern Russian historians … Figes mobilizes a cast of serf harems, dynasties, politburos, libertines, filmmakers, novelists, composers, poets, tsars and tyrants … superb, flamboyant and masterful’ 
Simon Sebag Montefiore, Financial Times

‘It is so much fun to read that I hesitate to write too much, for fear of spoiling the pleasures and surprises of the book’ 
Anne Applebaum, Sunday Telegraph

‘Magnificent … Figes is at his exciting best’ 
Robert Service, Guardian

‘Breathtaking … The title of this masterly history comes from War and Peace, when the aristocratic heroine, Natasha Rostova, finds herself intuitively picking up the rhythm of a peasant dance … One of those books that, at times, makes you wonder how you have so far managed to do without it’ 
Robin Buss, Independent on Sunday

‘Thrilling, dizzying … I would defy any reader not to be captivated’ 
Lindsey Hughes, Literary Review

‘Pour yourself a shot of vodka, open this brilliant, ambitious book, read and revel in it’ 
Melissa Murray, Sunday Tribune


 

 

General

Imprint: Penguin Books
Country of origin: United Kingdom
Release date: September 2003
Authors: Orlando Figes
Dimensions: 199 x 130 x 35mm (L x W x T)
Format: Paperback - B-format
Pages: 728
Edition: New Ed
ISBN-13: 978-0-14-029796-6
Categories: Books > Arts & Architecture > The arts: general issues
Books > Reference & Interdisciplinary > Interdisciplinary studies
Books > Humanities > History
Books > Arts & Architecture > The arts: general issues > General
Books > Reference & Interdisciplinary > Interdisciplinary studies > Cultural studies
Books > Humanities > History > European history
Books > Humanities > History > History of specific subjects
Books > Reference & Interdisciplinary > Interdisciplinary studies > Cultural studies > General
Books > Humanities > History > European history > General
Books > Humanities > History > History of specific subjects > Social & cultural history
Books > History > European history
Books > History > European history > General
Books > History > History of specific subjects
Books > History > History of specific subjects > Social & cultural history
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LSN: 0-14-029796-0
Barcode: 9780140297966

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