Russia

Pyotr F. Sokolov: Watercolour Portraits in the Age of Pushkin

Following my piece ‘On the Fugitive and French and Russian Poetry’ – which considered fugitive poetry in eighteenth-century France, and its influence upon the Golden Age of Russian poets including Alexander Pushkin, Konstantin Batyushkov, and Prince Pyotr Vyazemsky – I thought I would take a look at a Russian painter who encapsulated the Pushkin era. Active from the middle of…

An International Record of Women’s Suffrage

An International Record of Women’s Suffrage

International Women’s Day, celebrated on 8 March each year, took place yesterday. To mark its passing, I thought I would look at some of the dates and backgrounds pertaining to when women first attained the right to vote. I have touched briefly on this subject in a couple of previous pieces: depicting a cultural history of Crimea; and viewing a history of…

A Cultural History of the Potato as Earth Apple

The etymology of the word ‘apple’ takes us back to the Early Middle Ages, when it appeared in various related forms across the Germanic languages: as ‘apful’/’aphul’ or ‘apfel’/’aphel’ in Old High German, ‘appel’ in Old Frisian, ‘appul’ in Old Saxon, ‘epli’ in Old Icelandic, ‘æplæ’ or ‘æpæl’ in Old Danish, and so on. At the time, the word referred sometimes…

The Crimean Referendum: What Comes Next?

The Crimean Referendum: What Comes Next?

The referendum in Crimea which took place yesterday resulted – according to Mikhail Malyshev, the head of the Crimean referendum commission – in 96.77% of voters opting for Crimea’s integration with Russia. The referendum was dismissed and decried by the interim government in Kiev as a ‘circus performance’; by British Foreign Secretary William Hague as a ‘mockery of proper democratic…

Crimea: A Literary Perspective

Crimea: A Literary Perspective

The situation in Crimea continues to develop agallop. Following events in Kiev, unidentified Russian troops have taken control of Crimea’s airports, public buildings, military installations, and ports. Amid claim and counterclaim – the apparent defection of the chief of the Ukrainian Navy, the claimed defection of thousands of Ukrainian armed forces, and allegations that the human rights of UN envoys…

The Scythians and The Rite of Spring: Documents

The Scythians and The Rite of Spring: Documents

Here are a selection of documents and sources – videos, images, and text – relating to and referred to in the piece I just published, on the influence of Nicholas Roerich and Asiatic culture on Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. Mikhail Glinka, Ruslan and Lyudmila (1842) – Overture Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Scheherazade, Op. 35 (1888) Vladimir Soloviev, ‘Pan Mongolism’ (1894) Pan Mongolism! The…

The Scythians and The Rite of Spring: Stravinsky and Roerich

Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (in French, Le Sacre du printemps) – the third ballet which Stravinsky composed for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, after The Firebird (1910) and Petrushka (1911) – was written for the 1913 Paris season, and premiered just over a hundred years ago, on 29 May, in the newly-opened Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. The centenary of this most notorious…