St Petersburg: Shadows of the Past

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9780300169188: St Petersburg: Shadows of the Past
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Fragile, gritty, and vital to an extraordinary degree, St. Petersburg is one of the world’s most alluring cities—a place in which the past is at once ubiquitous and inescapably controversial. Yet outsiders are far more familiar with the city’s pre-1917 and Second World War history than with its recent past. In this beautifully illustrated and highly original book, Catriona Kelly shows how creative engagement with the past has always been fundamental to St. Petersburg’s residents. Weaving together oral history, personal observation, literary and artistic texts, journalism, and archival materials, she traces the at times paradoxical feelings of anxiety and pride that were inspired by living in the city, both when it was socialist Leningrad, and now. Ranging from rubbish dumps to promenades, from the city’s glamorous center to its grimy outskirts, this ambitious book offers a compelling and always unexpected panorama of an extraordinary and elusive place.

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About the Author:

Catriona Kelly is professor of Russian at the University of Oxford and the author of many books about Russian literature and culture. She lives in Oxford and St. Petersburg.

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*Starred Review* The city of St. Petersburg was founded by Czar Peter the Great in 1703, and he viewed it as a window to the West that would enhance his drive to modernize Russia. Indeed, visitors from the West, viewing the wide avenues, magnificent museums, and elegant architecture, often commented on the cosmopolitan nature of the city, contrasting it with a more insular, even dreary, Moscow. Kelly is professor of Russian at Oxford and lives both in Oxford and St. Petersburg. In this excellent examination of the history, art, and everyday life of its citizens, she paints a much more nuanced and interesting portrait of this city on the Baltic. Based on personal experiences, her conversations with friends and acquaintances, and her knowledge of the history and culture, she describes St. Petersburg as a surprisingly inward-looking city, still dealing with problems from the Soviet era, including the prolonged siege by the Nazis and the postwar Stalinist purges. Kelly pays ample tribute to the beauty and artistic glitter, but she also covers a city plagued by a host of typical urban problems, including the squalor of the poorer neighborhoods. This is a well-written and honest look at a large, fascinating, and rapidly evolving city. --Jay Freeman

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9780300219401: St Petersburg: Shadows of the Past

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ISBN 10:  0300219407 ISBN 13:  9780300219401
Publisher: Yale University Press, 2016
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Book Description Yale University Press, United States, 2014. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Fragile, gritty, and vital to an extraordinary degree, St. Petersburg is one of the world's most alluring cities-a place in which the past is at once ubiquitous and inescapably controversial. Yet outsiders are far more familiar with the city's pre-1917 and Second World War history than with its recent past. In this beautifully illustrated and highly original book, Catriona Kelly shows how creative engagement with the past has always been fundamental to St. Petersburg's residents. Weaving together oral history, personal observation, literary and artistic texts, journalism, and archival materials, she traces the at times paradoxical feelings of anxiety and pride that were inspired by living in the city, both when it was socialist Leningrad, and now. Ranging from rubbish dumps to promenades, from the city's glamorous center to its grimy outskirts, this ambitious book offers a compelling and always unexpected panorama of an extraordinary and elusive place. Seller Inventory # AAH9780300169188

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