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From the Shadow of Empire: Defining the Russian Nation through Cultural Mythology, 1855-1870 (Mellon Slavic Studies Initiative Book) Paperback – August 17, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Spanning a wide spectrum of competing visions of what it means to be ‘Russian,’ From the Shadow of Empire represents nationalist ideology as a dynamic interrelation of concurrent positions, intense struggles, and temporary alliances shifting over time.”—Irina Paperno, University of California, Berkeley


“Maiorova’s pathbreaking cultural history of the construction of Russian national identity in the decades after the Crimean War is built on deep analysis of the literature and historiography of the period. It is essential reading for anyone seriously interested in nineteenth-century Russia and in nation-building—in Russia and elsewhere.”—Seymour Becker, Rutgers University



“This book is a brisk and engaging read: scholarly without being pedantic, accessible but not simplistic. . . . From the Shadow of Empire is a richly evidenced, informative, and analytically keen study that will certainly inspire further research on this important topic. It is highly recommended for any scholar or general reader interested in ideological aspects of Russian culture.”—Edyta Bojanowska, The Russian Review



“A rich, lucidly written book vital for anybody interested in the Russian empire-nation problem and nation building in general. . . . Maiorova provides a compelling new historical framework for the future study of Russian literature and culture as of the nineteenth century.”—Susan Layton, Slavic Review



“On the basis of the innovative reading of a wide range of literary works, journalistic treatises and writings by historians, Olga Maiorova tells a fascinating story. . . . The study convincingly argues that the Crimean war triggered not only major political transformations in Russia, but also significant changes in the understandings of Russianness, which, in fact, are still exerting their influence today.”—Vera Tolz, Canadian Slavonic Papers



“Maiorova has added an excellent volume of cultural analysis to the exploration of cultural analysis to the exploration of how Russians imagined themselves in the nineteenth century. Particularly refreshing is that the author approaches her material without imposing reductive anachronistic conceptual categories. Maiorova does not gloss over her protagonists’ contradictory or shifting positions, but rather teases out red threads to highlight common concerns and nation-building strategies. While this volume convincingly documents the emergence of a ‘nation,’ Maiorova leaves readers not with a single vision of what ‘Russia’ actually was, but rather with a clearer understanding of the era’s debates and shared myths. While Maiorova’s argument about the compensatory nature of Russian national identity is sure to provoke debate among historians and scholars of nationalism, this volume’s compelling organization and fluid prose make it not just an essential, but also an accessible work for readers interested in Russian culture and history.”—Anne Dwyer, Slavic and East European Journal


“One can only be grateful that Maiorova succeeded in producing so rich a book. Everyone who thinks about nineteenth century Russia will find it both a pleasure and a revelation.”—Nadieszda Kizenko, The Slavonic and East European Review

About the Author

Olga Maiorova is associate professor of Slavic languages and literatures at the University of Michigan.

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From the Shadow of Empire: Defining the Russian Nation through Cultural Mythology, 1855-1870 (Mellon Slavic Studies Initiative Book)
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