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The Ivy Bookshop and Bird in Hand present the latest installment of Humanities in the Village featuring Jeffrey Brooks, author of The Firebird and the Fox: Russian Culture under Tsars and Bolsheviks.
The talk will be drawn from The Firebird and the Fox: Russian Culture under Tsars and Bolsheviks. The book showcases the brilliance of Russian literature, art, music, and dance over a century of turmoil and shows how genius evolved within a dynamic and diverse cultural ecosystem. The Firebird and the Fox explores the shared traditions, mutual influences, and enduring themes that recur in different media and in popular and high culture from 1850-1950. The book uses two emblematic characters from Russian culture—the firebird, symbol of the transcendent power of art; and the fox, usually female and representing wit, cleverness and the agency of artists—to explore how Russian cultural life changed over the period. High culture drew on folk and popular genres, and then in turn influenced an expanding commercial culture. The talk will show what Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Malevich, Kandinsky, Shostakovich and many other “greats” of the age shared in common with authors and artists who turned out Russian equivalents of penny dreadfuls and cheap illustrations, and how the shared cultural space generated genius.
Jeffrey Brooks is the author of The Firebird and the Fox: Russian Culture under Tsars and Bolsheviks (Dec., 2019), When Russia Learned to Read: Literacy and Popular Literature, 1861-1917 (1985), Thank You, Comrade Stalin: Soviet Public Culture from Revolution to Cold War (2000), Lenin and the Making of the Soviet State: A Brief History with Documents (2006, with Georgiy Chernyavskiy). He is Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University, and in the past has taught at the Universities of Chicago, Minnesota, and Dar es Salaam.
TIME & DATE
Monday, July 27, 2020 - 7:00pm