The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture (Paperback)Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal (editor)
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A pioneering, richly interdisciplinary volume, this is the first work in any language on a subject that has long attracted interest in the West and is now of consuming interest in Russia itself. The cultural ferment unleashed by the collapse of the Soviet Union reawakened interest in the study of Russian religion and spirituality. This book provides a comprehensive account of the influence of occult beliefs and doctrines on intellectual and cultural life in twentieth-century Russia.
Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal's introduction delineates the characteristics of occult cosmology which distinguish it from mysticism and theology, and situates Russian occultism in historical and pan-European contexts. Contributors explore the varieties of occult thinking characteristic of prerevolutionary Russia, including Kabbala, theosophy, anthroposophy, and the fascination with Satanism.
Other contributors document occultism in the cultural life of the early Soviet period, examine the surprising traces of the occult in the culture of the high Stalin era, and describe the occult revival in contemporary Russia. The volume includes bibliographical essays on Russian occult materials available outside Russia.
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Number of pages: 480
Weight: 28 g
Dimensions: 235 x 155 x 25 mm
"Casting a rather wide net, the essays in this book succeed in documenting an amazing array of occult or occult-like ideas and practices, not only during the symbolist age, but also in the seemingly rational, materialist, and antisuperstitious Soviet period. In this sense, the book offers a contribution to the ongoing reevaluation of the relationship between modernist and Stalinist culture. . . . The main intention of this collection, according to Rosenthal, was 'to raise new issues for research and discussion.' The book certainly fulfills this purpose admirably."-Adrian Wanner, Slavic Review
"A valuable contribution toward a deeper understanding of the intellectual atmosphere in which Communism developed."-Shoshana Keller, H-Net Reviews
"A fascinating exploration of occult themes in Russian culture, from turn-of-the-century modernism to the post-Communist scene, not excluding the nooks and crannies of the Soviet period. Admirable for its range and scholarly detail."-Laura Engelstein, Princeton University
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