Week X: 2 Nov. Culture and Society, 1801-1855
Assignment: R&S, pp. 317-340; Linc. pp. 3-35; Dmyt. pp. 245-260, 271-282, 284-285, 305
R&S, pp. 317-340:
pp. 217-323 (Ch. 27)
On pp. 317-318 the authors suggest that international (capitalist) markets had a great effect on Russian agricultural development and on Russian society, but that these also revealed the economic weakness of serfdom. Explain their main point here--what changed in response to market pressures (and opportunities), and what forces were limiting change? What effects did this have on life for peasants/serfs and life for the gentry?
What sectors of manufacturing grew most rapidly in 1801-1850s, and how was this changing "traditional" Russian society?
What were the main patterns of domestic (internal) trade in 1801-1850s, and what factors hindered the development of domestic markets?
What were the main patterns of Russia's foreign trade in this period?
In 1801-1850s, what major demographic (population) changes took place in Russia?
What main conclusions do the authors draw regarding the course of economic and social change in Russia in this period?
R&S, pp. 324-340:
What point do the authors make in comparing the "high culture" of the 1700s to that of 1801-1850s? And were advantages of the vibrant culture of the early 1800s shared by all of Russian society? Explain.
In what ways did education expand in this period?
How did Nicholas I and his Minister of Education (Count Uvarov) understand the purpose of education--how did they want to "use" education, and did they promote universal, equal education for all? Explain.
According to the authors, was the state's impact on education in this period entirely negative? Explain.
What scientific fields thrived in Russia in this period?
Russia produced several important historians in this period--what position did they take regarding the autocratic state (were they critical? supportive?)?
The authors argue that Russian literature in this period was characterized more by "realism" than by "romanticism." How do they describe Russian realism, and why do they consider the fables of Ivan Krylov "realism"?
How do the authors characterize the work of Alexander Pushkin, and how do they explain Pushkin's great influence on his contemporaries?
Do the authors consider Mikhail Lermontov a realist or a romantic? Explain.
Which of the works of Nikolai Gogol do the authors consider most important and why?
What "imported" philosophical "school" (set of ideas) seems to have had the greatest influence on Russian intellectual life in this period? Explain.
According to the authors, what was the main argument of Peter Chaadaev's "Philosophical Letter"?
What was "Slavophilism"? What "organic" Russian institutions did the Slavophiles consider most important, and how did that influence their view of Russia's past and its future?
What was the government's relationship with the Slavophiles?
Did the "Westernizers" share any set of core beliefs or ideas? Explain.
How did the Westernizers view Russian history and how did that influence their view of the future?
Explain what the authors tell us about the ideas of:
the Petrashchevskii Circle
What conclusions do the authors reach re. Russian culture in 1801-1850s?
Linc. pp. 3-35:
see last week's study questions (review your notes)
Dmyt. pp. 245-260, 271-282, 284-285, 305 :
*Chaadaev's comments on Russian history and culture (1829) (pp. 245-252)
How did Chaadaev define Russian's relationship to Europe and to Asia, and what did he consider to be the consequences?
How did he "explain" Russian history and its impact on Russian "civilization"/the Russian worldview?
What aspect of Europe's historical legacy did he think Russia "lacked," and why did he think that was important?
Ultimately, on what did he blame Russia's isolation from European thought?
*Belinskii's Letter to Gogol (1847) (pp. 252-260)
What did Belinskii consider Russia's biggest problems in 1847?
What did he think of Gogol's "sudden" turn towards arch-conservativism, and what aspects of Gogol's arguments did he single out for criticism? (e.g., regarding serfdom? corporal punishment? literacy?)
What was Belinskii's view of the "Russian public"?
*Herzen's commentary on the Russian scene (1849-1855) (pp. 272-282)
1) Herzen's letter from Paris (1849) (pp. 272-277)
How did Herzen explain his voluntary exile from Russia, and what about Western European life did he consider superior to life in Russia?
What were Herzen's main criticisms of Russia in 1849 and how did he explain the historical roots of these problems?
What did Herzen mean when he wrote that "Europe does not know us" (p. 276)?
2) Herzen's appeal to Russian Nobles (1853) (pp. 277-281)
Why did Herzen address this appeal to nobles (and not to all Russians)?
How did he define and explain the "shame" facing Russian nobles?
Did he think that all nobles opposed the abolition of serfdom? Explain--what had changed in 1848 and why?
What choice regarding serfdom did he think that Russian nobles were facing in 1853?
What vision of the future did he consider inevitable?
3) Herzen's statement of dedication to his son (1855) (pp. 281-282)
What role did Herzen expect that humane, reasonable, educated Russians would play in Russia's immediate future? Explain!
*Aksakov's defense of freedom of expression (the poem "Free Word") (1853) (pp. 284-285)
Aksakov was a Slavophile and criticized "the West" much as the young Herzen had championed "the West." When it came to the issue of freedom of speech, were Aksakov's views again opposed to those of Herzen? Explain.
Based upon this poem, was Aksakov a defender to "the Nicholas System"? Explain.
*Census data on nobles and serfs, 1835 and 1858 (p. 305)
Had the number of serfs increased between 1835 and 1858? How might we explain this?
In 1835, what "elements" (which census categories) of the nobility controlled the majority of serfs? What might we conclude from these figures?
By 1858, had the distribution of serf ownership among the various elements (census categories) of the nobility changed? What might we conclude from this?