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Russian History: in the city and at home

Posted 12th Apr 2017

This year marks the 100 year anniversary of the Russian Revolution, and here at Pushkin we pride ourselves on publishing some of the very best of Russian literature, including much from this period of unrest and aspiration. Happily, there are a wealth of brilliant exhibitions and books (including our very own 1917) out this year to mark this incomparable period of creativity and upheaval.

In the city:

Imagine Moscow, Design Museum, W8

11 February — 17 April 2017

Revolutionary architects and designers set about making utopian plans for the new Soviet capital of Moscow. This exhibition brings together rare architectural drawings, artwork, propaganda and publications to show schemes that were never realised. Exhibits are divided into themes to reflect the life and ideology of the Soviet Union: collectivisation, urban planning, aviation, communication, industrialisation, communal living and recreation.

Liberty and Revolution: Russia 1917 Revisited

April – September 2017 at the British Library

Focusing on the traumatic and extraordinary lives of ordinary Russian people, this exhibition will take a fresh look at the Russian Revolution, its key players and some of its most dramatic moments. This varied collection of items carefully re-counts the multi-layered and complicated history with an unbiased eye.

Voices of the Revolution, Southbank Centre

This programme of concerts by the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Southbank explores the music of the revolution. The season opens with a screening of Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin accompanied by a score by Shostakovich. Vladimir Ashkenazy conducts.

To enjoy at home:

1917 by Boris Dralyuk

The passionate voices of radicals, dreamers, workers, aristocrats, satirists and romantics fill these electrifying poems and prose pieces, written between 1917 and 1919 in the full tumult of the Russian Revolution.

The writings brought together here are by turns fervent, absurd, disorienting and tragic.

Memories: From Moscow to the Black Sea by Teffi

Memories is a blackly funny and heartbreaking account of Russian writer Teffi’s final, frantic journey into exile across Russia-travelling by cart, freight train and rickety steamer-and the ‘ordinary and unheroic’ people she encounters.

From refugees setting up camp on a dockside to a singer desperately buying a few ‘last scraps’ of fabric to make a dress, all are caught up in the whirlwind; all are immortalized by Teffi’s penetrating gaze.

Russia and the Arts: The Age of Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky
by Rosalind P. Blakesley

This book highlights some of the extraordinary developments that took place in Russian culture between 1867 and 1914, a time of vibrant creativity and political change. It features portraits of writers, composers, musicians and actors, together with their more flamboyant patrons.