This book examines the rhetorical force of certain key words in the discourses of Russian state, political thought, and literature. It shows how terms for cultured conduct (kul'turnost'), political affection (love, liubov', joy-radost' etc.), personhood (lichnost'), truth (pravda) and geographical integrity (tsel'nost') assumed almost sacral meaning. It considers how these terms took on a life of their own, imposing the designs of the Russian state and defining the hopes of educated society in the process.
By exploring the usage of these words in a wide range of texts, Richard Wortman provides glimpses into the ideas and feelings of leading figures and thinkers in Russian history, from Peter the Great to Alexander Herzen and Nicholas Berdiaev, as well as writers like Mikhail Lermontov, Ivan Turgenev, and Fedor Dostoevsky, giving a sense of the intellectual and emotional universe they inhabited.
The Power of Language and Rhetoric in Russian Political History provides both students and scholars with a specific focus through which to approach Russian culture and history. This book is essential reading for students of Russian government, thought, literature and political action.
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Richard S. Wortman is Bryce Professor Emeritus of History at Columbia University, USA. His recent books include the two-volume Scenarios of Power: Myth and Ceremony in Russian Monarchy (1995 and 2000) and two collections of articles, Visual Texts, Ceremonial Texts, Texts of Exploration: Collected Articles on the Representation of Russian Monarchy (2014), Russian Monarchy: Representation and Rule (2013). The second volume of Scenarios was awarded the American Historical Association's George L. Mosse Prize in 2000, and in 2006 both volumes received the Efim Etkind Prize of St. Petersburg European University for the best book of a western scholar on Russian literature and culture.
Author's Preface and Acknowledgements
1. Introduction; Kul'turnost' and the Rhetoric of Proper Conduct
2. The Rhetoric of Consent: Radost', Liubov', Umilenie and Vostorg
3. Lichnost' and the Rhetoric of Duty: The Ethos of Service
4. Lichnost' and the Rhetoric of Duty: In Quest of New Ideals
5. Pravda and the Rhetoric of Moral Transcendence
6. Tselost' (Geographical Integrity) in the Rhetoric of the Russian State
Richard Wortman has spent a lifetime thinking about Russian political culture and this fine book brings together many of his sharpest insights in original and persuasive form. * Simon Dixon, Sir Bernard Pares Chair of Russian History, University College London, UK * It charts a previously neglected realm in the history of modern Russia. Richard Wortman captures an elusive reality - that of politically charged polyvalent words, specific uses of which were capable of generating individual or collective feelings, affections and allegiances. The book is destined to serve as an eye-opener for many a student of Russian politics and culture. * Mikhail Dolbilov, Associate Professor of History, University of Maryland, USA *
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