Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: March 2008

5 - Russian culture: 1801–1917

from Part II - Culture, Ideas, Identities


To gain a sense of the achievements of Russian culture during this period, it is instructive to compare the comments made on the subject by Petr Chaadaev in a 'Philosophical Letter'. The fate of Chaadaev's 'Philosophical Letter', meanwhile, exemplifies the cultural atmosphere under Nicholas I as a whole. During Alexander II's reign Russian culture flourished. Alexander III reacted to the violent circumstances of his father's death by introducing repressive measures which actually attempted to undo some of the 1860s reforms, and by increasing censorship. Tchaikovsky also made a serious contribution to the renewal of Russian church music. The main symphony concert series, which had been inaugurated by the Russian Musical Society in 1859, had become increasingly reliant on the classical repertoire by the 1880s and was beginning to lack freshness. Two new ventures which were to have a lasting impact on Russian cultural life were launched in 1898, one in Moscow and the other in St Petersburg.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO
Afanasiev, A., Russian Fairy Tales Collected by Aleksandr Afanasiev (New York: Pantheon, 1945).
Bird, A., A History of Russian Painting (Oxford: Phaidon, 1987).
Bowlt, J. E. (ed.), Russian Art of the Avant-Garde: Theory and Criticism (London: Thames and Hudson, 1988).
Ely, Christopher, This Meager Nature: Landscape and National Identity in Imperial Russia (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2002).
Gray, C., The Russian Experiment in Art, 1863–1922 (London: Thames and Hudson, 1986).
Kamensky, V. (ed.), The World of Art Movement in Early Twentieth-Century Russia, (Leningrad: Avrora, 1991).
Kelly, C., and Shepherd, D. (eds.), Constructing Russian Culture in the Age of Revolution: 1881–1940 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998).
Kelly, L., Lermontov: Tragedy in the Caucasus (London: Robin Clark, 1983).
Leatherbarrow, W., and Offord, D. (eds.), A Documentary History of Russian Thought from the Enlightenment to Marxism (Ann Arbor: Ardis, 1987).
Levitt, M., Russian Literary Politics and the Pushkin Celebration of 1880 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1989).
Maes, F., A History of Russian Music from Kamarinskaya to Babi Yar (Berkeley: California University Press, 2002).
Mirsky, D. S., A History of Russian Literature from its Beginnings to 1900 (New York: Vintage, 1958).
Pushkin, A., Complete Prose Fiction, trans., intro. and notes Debreczeny, Paul (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1983).
Rzhevsky, N. (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Modern Russian Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).
Stasov, V., Selected Essays on Music (London: Barrie and Rockliff, 1968).
Stavrou, T. G. (ed.), Art and Culture in Nineteenth-Century Russia (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1983).
Taruskin, Richard, ‘Ital’yanshchina’, in Defining Russia Musically: Historical and Hermeneutical Essays (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997).
Taruskin, R., Stravinsky and the Russian Traditions, 2 vols. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1966).
Valkenier, E. K., Russian Realist Art, the State, and Society: The Peredvizhniki and their Tradition (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989).
Virginia, Woolf, ‘The Russian Point of View’, in The Common Reader (London: Hogarth Press, 1925).
Walicki, A., A History of Russian Thought from the Enlightenment to Marxism (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1979).
Walsh, Stephen, Stravinsky: A Creative Spring, Russia and France 1882–1934 (London: Jonathan Cape, 1999).