Download PDF by Orlando Figes: Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia

By Orlando Figes

ISBN-10: 0312421958

ISBN-13: 9780312421953

Starting within the eighteenth century with the construction of St. Petersburg and culminating with the Soviet regime, Figes examines how writers, artists, and musicians grappled with the belief of Russia itself--its personality, religious essence, and future. Skillfully interweaving the good works--by Dostoevsky, Stravinsky, and Chagall--with folks embroidery, peasant songs, non secular icons, and the entire customs of everyday life, Figes unearths the spirit of "Russianness" as wealthy and uplifting, complicated and contradictory--and extra lasting than any Russian ruler or state.

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18   brotherliness, and thought that the psychologically most thorough portions of Tolstoy’s War and Peace may be cited in this connection (1958c:349). A little further on in the same text (p. 350) there is a passage which may be interpreted as an expression of a desire in Weber to look for an answer to this particular kind of unbrotherliness. Like Tolstoy, Weber had studied the Quaker ethic, and he found in this ethic (as displayed in William Penn’s letters to his wife) a genuinely humane interpretation of the value of marriage: its linkage with the thought of ethical responsibility for one another ‘up to the pianissimo of old age’13.

The disenchantment of the world has reached science itself. In his Sociology of Religion, (part of Economy and Society), Weber described the quest of today’s intellectual in a world without meaning. The intellectual seeks in various ways... to endow his life with a pervasive meaning, and thus to find unity with himself, with his fellow men, and with the cosmos. It is the intellectual who transforms the concept of the world into the problem of meaning. As intellectualism suppresses belief in magic, the world’s processes become disenchanted...

Again it was Russia which provided him with an example. In his study on the Russian revolution of 1905 – the time when in Russia there was an intense discussion about the question whether the Russian people should receive the right to vote in spite of a total lack of political experience and in spite of the fact that most of them could neither read nor write –, at this time Weber wrote: I know Russian democrats who defend the point of view: fiat iustitia, pereat mundus (justice must be done even if it leads the world to ruin).

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Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia by Orlando Figes


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