- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Cornell University Press; First Edition edition (October 17, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0801487099
- ISBN-13: 978-0801487095
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,436,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Russia and Soul: An Exploration Paperback – October 17, 2000
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From Library Journal
Based on interviews with inhabitants of the industrial Russian city of Omsk during the historically charged 1990s, virtual artist Pesmen's fascinating book is unique in its exploration of the Russian national character, the dusha, or "soul." Other books addressing this topic, such as Jerrold and Leona Schecter's Back in the USSR: An American Family Returns to Moscow (LJ 2/1/89. o.p.), have concentrated on Moscow or St. Petersburg, or, like Mikhail Bakhtin's Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics, focused on literary texts. Pesmen contrasts dusha with byt, the boring and unimaginative routine of everyday life, and shows how her subjects stress the unpredictability of dusha, whose protean qualities make it difficult to define. These qualities, Pesmen states, are best explained by Bakhtin, who regards dusha as speaking not with one voice but as a dialog between differing voices. A brilliant book that is highly recommended. Bert Beynen, Des Moines Area Community Coll., Ankeny, IA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"A brilliant book that is highly recommended."(Library Journal)
"Certainly the best and most intricate book ever written about how crucial, barely definable words in the Russian language... combine to shape the Russian character... As Pesmen unpacks her rich material with marvelous learning and verve, the indomitable spirituality of the Russian personality after 70 years of Soviet misery and 10 of capitalist corruction emerges."(The Philadelphia Inquirer)
"Dale Pesmen has written a beautiful book about a grand but hard-to-grasp topic: the soul. The specific soul under investigation here is dusha, a specific Russian one, but Pesmen is careful not to preclude affinities with the souls of peoples from other countries. Soul, essentially, is about life, and so if Pesmen's book."(Slavic Review)
"Dale Pesmen... is sensitive, perceptive, responsive, curious, and obsevant. Judging from her account, she has learned excellent Russion. She presents a vivid picture, which an experienced Russian hand witth recognize as authentic, of Russian habits and conversations in a mid-sized Siberian city. Her powers of illuminating description of places, situations, and people are admirable."(Russian Review)
"Dazzlingly original and penetratingly insightful, this is a volume of singular erudition, bound to be a touchstone for all future studies of Russian culture, society, philosophy, and literature. Dale Pesmen has peered into the seeming cliché of Russian soul to reveal an intricate cosmology, one that profoundly shapes social behavior and self-creation."(Nancy Ries, Colgate University)
"The book provides some wonderful insights into Russians' recent struggles with their own identities."(Booklist)
"This is the best book about Russia ever written. By using dusha as her organizing principle, Dale Pesmen has captured what it is like to be Russian and to live in Russia. Russia and Soul is so readable that when I open it at any page I have difficulty putting it down. It is like a mandala, drawing you into itself and causing you to contemplate the nature of existence."(Victor A. Friedman, University of Chicago)
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