Architecture of Oblivion
Ruins and Historical Conciousness in Modern Russia
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: Northern Illinois University Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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...t T_his book would not have existed without Julia Hell, who casually suggested to me, during a boring Christmas party in 2000, that we col-laborate on a project about ruins. T_his brief, innocuous conversation led to a symposium, then a graduate seminar we co-taught at the University of Michigan, then a major interdisciplinary conference, and eventually to ...
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...t T_he provincial Madame Kurdiukova, who speaks in this epigraph, is the heroine of Ivan Miatlev’s humorous parody of travel literature, T_he Sensations and Observations of Madame Kurdiukova Abroad, dans l’étranger (1840). A landowner from Tambov who likes to f_launt her learn-ing by sprinkling macaronic phrases in her speech, she is representative ...
ONE—Ruins and Modernity in Russian Pre-Romanticism
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...t In the second half of the eighteenth century, all over Europe ruins suddenly came into view. T_he discovery of Herculaneum in 1738 and of Pompeii in 1748, followed by the beginning of excavations that are still ongoing, transf_ixed the imagination of travelers. Together with unearthed frescoes, well-preserved buildings from ancient times of_fered more than a ...
TWO—Lessons of the Fire of Moscow in 1812
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We lef_t the city [Moscow—A.S.], lit by the most beautiful f_ire in the world, which formed a gigantic pyramid resembling the prayers of the faithful: its base was on the ground and its tip in the sky. I think the moon was peaking on top of the f_ire. It was a grand spectacle, but I ought to have been alone to contemplate it. T_his is the sad condition that spoils ...
THREE—Aesthetics and Politics in the Romantic Fashion for Ruins
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T H E R O M A N T I C I N F A T U A T I O N W I T H F O R E I G N R U I N St T_he burning of Moscow and its reception among the educated elite f_irmly associated the aesthetics of ruin with a Western European sensibility. T_he scorched earth policy the Russian army adopted in its retreat before Napoleon had been premised on the notion that freedom trumped worldly ...
FOUR—Between Erasure and Nurture
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...t T_he notion that the world was coming to an end loomed very large in the culture of the Silver Age.1 T_here were many reasons for this feeling of doom, not the least of which were the economic decline of the aristoc-racy and the political stagnation of the monarchy. In addition, the rise of modernity, fears about technological progress, and the dislocation com-...
FIVE—Post-Revolutionary Urban Decay
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...t “With the revolution of 1917, Petersburg ended,” Dobuzhinsky wrote in his memoirs. “Under my eyes the city was dying a death of extraordinary beauty, and I attempted as much as I could to capture its terrifying, de-populated and wounded appearance.” Indeed, Petrograd, which had been Russia’s industrial hub, went through rapid economic decline during the ...
SIX—The Ruins of the Blockade of Leningrad and the Aesthetic Struggle for Survival
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...t In early September 1941, Anna Ostroumova-Lebedeva, ever a keen observer of the urban landscape, strolled down to Senate Square in Leningrad to examine the preparations then being undertaken to protect Falconet’s Bronze Horseman against anticipated shelling by the Nazis. A whole army of people, including many volunteers, was hastily burying the ...
SEVEN—Ruin as Transition to Timelessness in Joseph Brodsky’s Poetry
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...t Born in 1940, Joseph Brodsky lived in Leningrad through the f_irst winter of the Blockade, but was, of course, too young to remember anything about it. Af_ter a year in evacuation, his mother took him back to the city in 1943. Growing up in the ruins of postwar Leningrad, he could not fail to be af_fected by the urban landscape (see f_ig. 21). In his literary biography of ...
EIGHT—The Ruin as Alternative Reality
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...t Stalinist wedding-cake architecture, such as the main building of Moscow State University on Sparrow Hills or the Ministry of Foreign Af_fairs on Smolenskaia Square, features numerous neoclassical ornamentations on its facades and roofs, which signaled the Stalinist state’s claims to subsume history and to exist in a glorious timeless present that had absorbed all the ...
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...t T_he preceding chapters have demonstrated the complex forces that bear upon the ruin in Russian society and the diverse ways in which ruins are pressed into service as material evidence and symbolic argument in the context of various cultural debates. T_he conditions for the recogni-tion of ruins were not auspicious. T_he absence of antique ruins (at least ...
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Page Count: 298
Illustrations: 28 halftones
Publication Year: 2011