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From the award winning author of The Whisperers Orlando Figes Natasha's Dance A Cultural History of Russia is a dazzling history of Russia's mighty cultureOrlando Figes' 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'Wonderfully rich magnificent and compelling a delight to read'  Antony Beevor'A tour de force by the great storyteller of modern Russian historians Figes mobilizes a cast of serf harems dynasties I'm tempted to say that this is a great book because like Russian art it has a soul but that sounds presumptuous since I've not an expert on any Russian art and I've never been to Russia But I've been a fan of Russian literature especially the great novels of the 19th century and of Russian music and particularly of the Russian ballet and its offshoots in the West The book starts with an episode from War and Peace in which Natasha and her brother visit an retired army officer their uncle who lives in a cabin on the edge of the estate During the visit Natasha unconsciously begins dancing to a peasant melody The point is that she has the soul of the Russian people in her heart and even though she's the daughter of an aristocratic count she understands the culture of the Russian peasants The book ends with an eually emotional scene the return of Stravinsky to Russia in 1962 during the Khrushchev thaw I remember that scene from US television coverage Stravinsky arriving at the airport and also at a performance of The Rite of Spring at the Marisky Theatre in what was then Leningrad Both episodes represent a deep seated emotional attachment to the land something that seems to pervade every Russian art and which some of us like me find both fantastic and strangely appealing The intervening review of Russian literature painting and other visual arts architecture music opera ballet film even science fiction in the period from the 18th century to the present is discussed or less chronologically but significantly set in the context of Russian history including the war with Napoleon the cultural conflict between Moscow and Petersburg the influence of the church and of the peasants the affect of the Mongol invasion as well as Russian's colonization of Asian lands and finally of the Soviet period and the influence of Russian émigrés in the west The organization was sort of like music a theme and elaboration with repetitions so the reader doesn't get lost I found it confusing at first but then found I enjoyed it

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Natasha's Dance A Cultural History of RussiaE 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'   Independent on Sunday'Thrilling dizzying I would defy any reader not to be captivated'   Literary ReviewOrlando Figes is Professor of History at Birkbeck College University of London He is the author of Peasant Russia Civil War A People's Tragedy Natasha's Dance The Whisperers and Just Send Me Word His books have been translated into over twenty languag Orlando Figes is a Professor of History at Birkbeck College University of London and has written 8 books about Russia Natasha's Dance is a seminal work of over 700 pages with maps and notes and further reading History is a statement of facts that is those that have not been suppressed in the archives Writing history is uncomplicated but writing about the culture of Russia without being Russian is infinitely difficult Figes facts are impressive but I felt a certain underlying antipathy for Russia I don't believe Figes understood the significance of Orthodoxy on the lives of ordinary Russian Christians throughout the ages including during Soviet times when so many were martyred for their faith Russian tradition food music entertainment literature and the elusive Russian Soul all follow the church calendar its many feasts and fasts Figes website shows extensive first hand research through his interviews with Russian people from minority groups and Russians who lived through the communist era who support the Soviet ideology but nothing from the Diaspora and pro Tsarist Russians living in exile in Europe America Australia Sth America or Britain The Russian language is very rich and has many foreign words especially French words because French was the language of the nobility of the elite Tsar Peter the Great opened the window to the West flooding Russia with European ideas architecture music art and European languages Figes says the Russian language was lacking which is why it became peppered with French German English words He says Russia was backward and lacking in most respects If that is true then how can there be a legacy of world acclaimed literature art music dance and architecture? The roots of this can be seen in the ancient Golden Ring towns where the most beautiful churches and monasteries with amazing frescos and iconography date back to 10th and 11th century In the last section of Natasha's Dance 'Russians Abroad' on p538 he says the émigrés in Berlin Paris and New York 'created their own mythical versions of the good Russian life before 1917' Figes says they began to go to Easter midnight Masses and 'now as exiles clung to native customs and beliefs' Catholics have Mass Orthodox have Liturgy Ask why did the Tsars build beautiful cathedrals in the 1800s in Jerusalem and hostel for pilgrims Paris Cannes Nice Florence Baden Baden Dresden and other cities in Europe if church going Russians were not already travelling and living for long periods in these cities? Russians living in exile expected this to be a temporary condition believing communism would soon fall and they would return home again to Matushka Rossiya Most of them reviled the new regime Even so some were drawn back to the concept of 'Rodina' the place where ones roots lay where they belonged where they could hear the music of their native language and see familiar streets and feel the climate and smell the birch forest only then was their Russian Soul at peace This cultural concept was not explored I prefer the writings of Suzanne and Robert Massie they seem to have understood the idea of Russianness Rodina and the Russian Soul together with the painful and often maligned history that is Russia

Orlando Figes ´ Natasha's Dance A Cultural History of Russia book

reader ☆ Natasha's Dance A Cultural History of Russia ↠ Paperback Ê [Download] ➹ Natasha's Dance A Cultural History of Russia ➾ Orlando Figes – From the award winning author of The Whisperers Orlando Figes Natasha's Dance A Cultural History of Russia is a dazzlinPolitburos libertines filmmakers novelists composers poets tsars and tyrants superb flamboyant and masterful'  Simon Sebag Montefiore Financial Times'Awe inspiring Natasha's Dance has all the ualities of an epic tragedy'   Mail on Sunday'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'   Sunday Telegraph'Magnificent Figes is at his exciting best'   Guardian'Breathtaking The title of this masterly history comes from War and Peace when the aristocratic heroin This book is much better than the sum of its parts For the period from roughly 1760 to 1960 it contains histories of Russian literature painting ballet and classical music There are weaknesses in all four areas but together they make a compelling narrative According to Figes Russia indeed has a soul at least from the perspective of high art The great tragedy of the communist political experiment was that it destroyed the cultural traditions in these areas drove the artists into ignominious graves Tales of the gulags provoke rage This elegiac work invokes delightful melancholyJust beware this work was written for me It might not work as well as for you I attended my first symphonic performance in 1964 The main item on the program was Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition which Figes analyzes at some depth in this book Since then my serendipitous voyage as a cultural dilettante has featured many encounters with Russian works I was a subscriber to the local opera company for a 20 year period during which they staged at least one Russian work per year Similarly the local ballet company is highly committed to the Russian repertory Finally I have own a copy of Sergei Bondarchuk's epic movie version of War and Peace which features the stunning dance by Natasha Like most Goodreads members of my age I have sampled Tolstoy Dostoevsky and Gorky Paintings by Chagall and Kandinsky can be found in most major North American art galleries If over the years chance has not brought you into touch with Russian works in literature painting ballet and opera Natasha's Dance will be extremely tedious in places