Scenarios of Power. Myth and Ceremony in Russian Monarchy, Volume 2

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9780691029474: Scenarios of Power. Myth and Ceremony in Russian Monarchy, Volume 2
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Richard Wortman continues his unrivaled inquiry into the lavish ceremonies and celebrations of the Russian imperial court, revealing the myths, symbols, and rituals that were central to monarchical rule. In this volume, he explores the presentations and representations of tsarist power under the last three emperors--Alexander II, Alexander III, and Nicholas II--who faced increasing social pressures from modernizing forces. Coronations, funerals, the blessing of the waters, parades as well as art, architecture, and the printed word all captured the mental worlds of these men and showed how they understood the empire they ruled. Wortman describes the evolution of their scenarios during their upbringing and the early years of their reign, making clear how these symbolic settings defined their policies and goals.


The author finds that the last Russian tsars adapted the myth of the transcendent Western emperor to cope with the challenges of liberalism, nationalism, and democracy. They made use of historical celebrations, the press, art, literature, and films to disseminate their images as popular, national monarchs. Alexander III and Nicholas II presented themselves increasingly as the embodiment of the Russian people, rather than the all-Russian emperor governing a multi-ethnic empire--an image perpetuated by Peter the Great. This new means of appeal, Wortman argues, by presenting the tsar as sole representative of the Russian people, enabled him to sustain his determination to counter the Duma and to restore his autocratic privileges.

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From the Back Cover:


"Together with the first volume, this second volume of Scenarios of Power will likely long remain the single best interpretive study of the evolution of modern monarchical ideology in Russia. It is also a superb example of the cultural analysis of monarchical politics, and therefore will interest readers outside of the Russia field. Attentive to the symbolic sources of political action, Wortman illuminates the mythic images and narratives--and the changes in these--that monarchs and elite advocates of the monarchy articulated from the middle of the nineteenth century to the final years of the Romanov monarchy."--Mark D. Steinberg, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


About the Author:

Richard S. Wortman is Professor of History at Columbia University. He is also the author of The Crisis of Russian Populism and The Development of a Russian Legal Consciousness.

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