From the Shadow of Empire: Defining The Russian Nation Through Cultural Mythology, 1855?1870 by Olga Maiorova

From the Shadow of Empire: Defining The Russian Nation Through Cultural Mythology, 1855?1870

byOlga Maiorova

Paperback | August 17, 2010

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As nationalism spread across nineteenth-century Europe, Russia’s national identity remained murky: there was no clear distinction between the Russian nation and the expanding multiethnic empire that called itself “Russian.” When Tsar Alexander II’s Great Reforms (1855–1870s) allowed some freedom for public debate, Russian nationalist intellectuals embarked on a major project—which they undertook in daily press, popular historiography, and works of fiction—of finding the Russian nation within the empire and rendering the empire in nationalistic terms.
    From the Shadow of Empire traces how these nationalist writers refashioned key historical myths—the legend of the nation’s spiritual birth, the tale of the founding of Russia, stories of Cossack independence—to portray the Russian people as the ruling nationality, whose character would define the empire. In an effort to press the government to alter its traditional imperial policies, writers from across the political spectrum made the cult of military victories into the dominant form of national myth-making: in the absence of popular political participation, wars allowed for the people’s involvement in public affairs and conjured an image of unity between ruler and nation. With their increasing reliance on the war metaphor, Reform-era thinkers prepared the ground for the brutal Russification policies of the late nineteenth century and contributed to the aggressive character of twentieth-century Russian nationalism.

About The Author

Olga Maiorova is associate professor of Slavic languages and literatures at the University of Michigan.
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Title:From the Shadow of Empire: Defining The Russian Nation Through Cultural Mythology, 1855?1870Format:PaperbackDimensions:294 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.8 inPublished:August 17, 2010Publisher:University Of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0299235947

ISBN - 13:9780299235949

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations   

Introduction: Cultural Myth and National Self-Perception in the Turbulent Reform Era       

1. The Shifting Vision of the Nation in the Aftermath of the Crimean War       
2. The Varangian Legend: Defining the Nation through the Foundation Myth       
3. War as Peace: The Symbol of Popular War during the Polish Uprising (1863)       
4. Literary Representations of a Nation at War: From Apocalyptic Battle to Beehive       
5. The Myth of Spiritual Descent: Re-mapping the Empire       
In Place of a Conclusion: The Legacy of Reform Era Nationalism       

Notes       
Bibliography       
Index   

Editorial Reviews

“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