In 1880 Opekushin's statue of Pushkin was erected in Moscow to great celebratory noise: it is still a prominent place in Moscow, the siteof Poetry Day readings, dissident demonstrations, police surveillance, and Glasnost'-era displays of "public opinion." What most of us know about the Pushkin celebration of 1880 is 1) that it was the inauguration of a new poetic cult and 2) that Dostoevskii made a spectacular speech which everyone cites but no one understands. Marcuss Levitt's book explains the historical context and the consequence of the first, does as good as can be done with the second, and places the event in a perspective which elucidates not so much the literary politics (as the title suggests) as the political history of late nineteenth- century Russia. Written as the book is during the turmoils of the Gorbachev era, it is fully conscious of contemporary parallels with the turmoils a century ago. Levitt's analysis is as much as anything a historian's attempt to describe the Loris-Melikov "Thaw" (that last reformist year of Alexander II's reign which was undone so quickly after he was assassinated by the reactionary politics of his successor). The original impulse for the research project must
Canadian-American Slavic Studies – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1993
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