This book, first published in 1977, begins with a close look at the lives of nineteenth century Russian writers, and at the problems of their profession. It then examines their environment in its broader aspects, the Russian empire being considered from the point of view of geography, ethnography, economics, and the impact of individual Tsars on writers and society. A discussion of the main social ‘estates’ follows, and concluding is an analysis in their literary context of the activities of the competing forces of cohesion and disruption in imperial society: the civil service, law courts, police, army, schools, universities, press, censorship, revolutionaries and agitators. This book makes possible a fuller understanding of the works of Pushkin, Dostoyevsky, Chekhov and the other great Russian writers.
Table of Contents
Part 1. The Writer’s Situation 1. Russian Literature from 1825 to 1904 2. The Writer’s Life and Mission Part 2. The Empire 3. Geography 4. Communications 5. Peoples 6. The Economy 7. Emperors Part 3. The Social Setting 8. The ‘Estates’ 9. Peasants 10. Landowners and Gentlemen 11. Religion 12. Towns Part 4. Law and Disorder 13. Officials 14. Crime and Punishment 15. The Army 16. Education 17. Press and Censorship 18. The Opposition