The Magical Chorus: A History of Russian Culture from Tolstoy to Solzhenitsyn

The Magical Chorus A History of Russian Culture from Tolstoy to Solzhenitsyn New Hardcover with dust jacket

  • Title: The Magical Chorus: A History of Russian Culture from Tolstoy to Solzhenitsyn
  • Author: Solomon Volkov Antonina W. Bouis
  • ISBN: 9781400042722
  • Page: 169
  • Format: Hardcover
  • New Hardcover with dust jacket

    699 Comment

    • Biblio Curious says:

      Another one to buy and highlight. If you like author bios and their historical context, this would be a great one! I read only the first chapter. It's my next book purchase.

    • Cody says:

      The title (taken from Anna Akhmatova’s christening of a group of her students) could’ve just as easily been *The Mystical Chorus.* Volkov persuasively shows the requisite religious fervor with which art has been pursued in Russia since Tolstoy--an issue that is reigns relevant, as Putin/Medvedev tighten their grip over current Russian culture and media. For a State that was officially "sans religion," headed by a government that dealt with artists as violently as any persecuted religion (And [...]

    • Krista says:

      "Magical Chorus" is a typical Volkov book--very, very intelligent, very interesting, but challenging to read. Volkov's style (as brought to us by his translator) is deceptively simple, but requires multiple re-reads to follow the narrative and recall all of the players he mentions.In this particular demonstration of his style, Volkov re-tells 20th century Russia by a discussion of its cultural icons. From Tolstoy through "Russian Ark," he shows the interaction between the highest elites of the C [...]

    • Lauren Albert says:

      Surprisingly dull. It didn't seem to have any overall thrust or structure. It was just one anecdote after another--Gorky with Stalin, Akhmatova's persecution, the politicking over the Nobel Prize. I mean, I didn't need convincing about there being a relationship between politics and art in the Soviet Union. I guess I'd hoped for some synthesizing argument. 8/09

    • John says:

      Interesting analysis of Russian cultural life c 1890 – 2000 a time of political topsy turvy – Tszardom to perestroika with a revolution thrown in, Soviet Union, glasnostThe book kicks off with the death of Tolstoy in 1910, his influence in life and death. Many less well known figures in Russia's rich cultural and complex make up I was unfamiliar with. I struggled to recall some of their names and roles. I found the effect of regime change on cultural life more than fascinating, Stalin in par [...]

    • Justin Evans says:

      Another reviewer says that Volkov's style is 'deceptively simple,' and the book requires multiple re-readings to follow the narrative. That seems to me a very nice way of saying it's a disorganized mass of anecdotes, lacking any guiding thread. On the upside, some of the anecdotes are good.

    • Cybermilitia says:

      Dedikodular dedikodular ve dedikodular. Ama sanata ve 20. yy Rus aydınlarına dair ne varsa bu kitapta var. Adlarını bilmediğim kişileri nette arattım ve özellikle ressamlar arasında hiç bilmediğim onlarca mükemmel insan olduğunu farkettim. Biz işin popüler kısmında takılıyormuşuz.Ve bir de, öyle bir sanat çevresi olan toplum tabi devrim yapar. Sonu pek de iç açıcı olmasa da

    • Liviu says:

      Good but peters out after a great start - maybe its length is just not enough to do the subject justice, maybe the author just scattered himself, but I thought this could have been a great book based on its first third which is superb

    • Mehmet AkifKoc says:

      Solomon Volkov'un Sovyet dönemi devlet-sanat-toplum ilişkilerini ve kültür tarihini incelediği kitap, alanında önemli bir başvuru kaynağı. Özellikle Stalin'in kültür hayatına merakı ve yakın müdahaleleri, ödül-ceza sistemi ve çoğunlukla Sibirya'da veya yurtdışında sürgünde sonlanan kültür adamlarının hayat hikayeleri kaydadeğer. Bilhassa Leo Tolstoy, Gorki, Şolohov, Pasternak, Ahmatova, Soljenitsin'in devrin liderleriyle ve diğer kültür adamlarıyla sıkıntıl [...]

    • LucidStyle says:

      Russian history through cultural expression – beautifully presented! One thing this book needs, however, is a study guide that walks the reader through each piece of artwork, each piece of music, film, and so on. This book evokes the volatile atmosphere of Russia throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, times of high ideals, great change, and obscene disappointment. Certainly, history is written through human interaction and reaction, and motifs of experience are played by each participant, con [...]

    • Bhig says:

      Not that I like the book, but it suddenly made me think: maybe Russian literature is worth reading after all?

    • Sooz says:

      this book is an amazing resource that i will likely return to again and again. as i broaden my reading of 20th century Russian writers, i will want to put them into the political/cultural context of their time and country, along side all the other artist mentioned in The Magical Chorus. editing this book must have been a bitch. it is not overly long considering how many artists (mostly writers (journalist, novelist, poets) but also theatre and film directors, painters, and composers) are discuss [...]

    • Stop says:

      Read the STOP SMILING review of The Magical Chorus:The Magical Chorus, the latest book by Solomon Volkov, a Russian émigré and veteran journalist and historian, offers a fresh and complex history of the interplay between art and politics in 20th century Russia.Volkov begins by showing how the avant-garde played a critical role in bringing about political revolution. Many Russian artists in the early 20th century were attracted to the idea of a market-free society as extolled by Marxist and Bol [...]

    • Stefanie says:

      an excellent overview of the complex interplay between 20th century russian politics and artists. the examination includes many luminaries, such as tolstoy, chekhov, akhmatova, mandelstam, gorky, bely, bunin, pasternak, babel, platanov, nabakov, brodsky, solzhenitsyn, prokofiev, rachmaninoff, eisenstein, karkovsky, along with many others. this book provides useful reference material for deeper investigations.

    • Kate says:

      I gasped with horror when I looked at this book more closely and realized that it had been written by some Soviet emigre dude and translated into English. I expected dry going. But OMG, this really is what it promises to be - a masterful look at Russian culture in the 20th century. Now if someone could pick up where this leaves off and write a masterful history of popular Soviet culture from the Khrushchev era to the present day

    • Diego says:

      It's an interesting approach to the natural relation between culture and politics, in this case from the fall of the zar until the 2000's. It's well written despite the (anti)chronology style and invites the reader to go deeper into the cultural events that impacted the development and fall of the URSS.

    • bill greene says:

      interesting, but a little gossipy. i think taking on all art forms for the entire 20th century in 400 pages was perhaps a bit too ambitious. towering figures like akhmatova, pasternak, babel, mandelstam, prokofiev, stravinsky, stanislavsky each goes flying by in a few pages. think of this book as a very superficial overview and it's not so bad.

    • Quirkyreader says:

      This book was a wonderful historical work spanning the age of Tolstoy to the deatho f Solzhenitsye only drawback to this book, in my opinion, was that it didn't have a bibliography. If this book had one, I would tried some new authors. Alas, there isn't one.

    • Moriartyandherbooks says:

      I couldn't finish this. I'm sure it's a fascinating read, but the way it's presented is so boring and confusing with all the names that I was getting nothing out of it, and never felt like picking it up.

    • John says:

      Halfway through and will come back to it later.

    • Berseri says:

      Very interesting! Was savouring every page.

    • Sue Pit says:

      This is a most informative read of Russian culture and politics and the intermix of the two since Tolstoy's day.

    • John Ellison says:

      An excellent overview of 20th century Russian/Soviet culture. Disappointingly short on the modern but some very nice readings along the way.

    • Manda says:

      Fascinating book on the intersectionality of politics and the arts in 20th century Russia, and one from which I learned a lot.

    • Dmitry says:

      Very accurate and intelligent guide to Russian culture of XX century.

    • Liz says:

      It's like a Russian lit class but with the addition of all cultural fields. Awesome!!

    • Boris Kheyfets says:

      I always take notes of things I find interesting -- even when I read fiction. But with this book I had to write down 95% of text.

    • Mary Beth says:

      Great overview of Soviet artists, but a little dense because of the language and assumptions needed to understand the Russian terms.

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