‘history’ Category

  1. Chekhov’s Prank

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    September 21, 2017 by AK

    Chekhov started writing around 1880 to support his family while studying medicine and produced “more than 500 comic stories, spoofs, and vignettes for Moscow’s popular weekly magazines” in the 1880s. Some of them can be found in The Prank, the collection Chekhov himself compiled (and his brother Nikolai illustrated) in 1882, which was never published …
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  2. “You are a little mistaken about all this.”

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    September 17, 2017 by AK

    Chekhov’s first published work was a short story, A Letter to a Learned Neighbor. It’s what the title say it is – a letter to an apparently retired professor from an old fool full of childishly absurd opinions. The professor has certain ideas à la Jules Verne, which his neighbor rebuts brilliantly: … if people …
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  3. He Who Must Not Be Named

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    September 17, 2017 by AK

    For years, senior Russian officials avoided mentioning Alexey Navalny’s name on TV and in the press. It was hardly a sign of self-confidence and strength. This last Tuesday, Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s op-ed appeared in The New York Times urging Russian “democrats” to adopt the goals and  priorities he favors (thanks to Tim Newman for pointing out …
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  4. A room and a half or even less

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    August 20, 2017 by AK

    Going back to Kirsten Ghodsee’s New York Times article, Why Women Had Better Sex Under Socialism. It was probably a Times editor who came up with the title. As I’ve tried to explain, it’s a complicated subject that cannot be summed up in two words and requires differentiating by country, province and socioeconomic class (which did …
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  5. How about propaganda-free anthropology? 

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    August 16, 2017 by AK

    This article is not as silly as it may sound. A few suggestions for better credibility: Don’t mix propaganda and anthropology. Forget The Female Body under Socialism and focus on the field studies. Take down that Soviet poster and the hammer and sickle. Also, don’t claim the Bolsheviks gave Russian women suffrage: the term is meaningless …
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  6. Pretty sheets of paper

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    August 6, 2017 by AK

    Sir JCass has reminded me that Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in all likelihood, suffered from a paranoid disorder. One can pick out distant echoes of mental distress from this episode, as told by Mme de Genlis in her memoirs: He [JJR] often talked to us of the manner in which he had composed the Nouvelle Héloïse. He …
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  7. Subterranean work

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    August 2, 2017 by AK

    In 1877, Nikolai Nekrasov wrote an epigram, To the Author of Anna Karenina: Tolstoy, you have proven with patience and talent That a woman should not have affairs Either with a sub-chamberlain or with an aide-de-camp When she’s a wife and a mother. There’s still some bite in this because of Tolstoy’s ineradicable moralizing, and …
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  8. A question of hygiene

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    July 14, 2017 by AK

    Due diligence and background checks are sometimes as indispensable as an antiseptic liquid or protective gloves. Some people are literally contagious; others are metaphorically toxic. It may be tempting for a germaphobe’s son to ignore these precautions but prudence shouldn’t have yielded to temptation. I don’t disagree with Prof. Pirrong’s take on the Veselnitskaya-Trump Jr. …
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  9. Tortured with Les Annales de la vertu

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    July 5, 2017 by AK

    Erik McDonald is translating a novella by Sophie (Sof’ia) Engelhardt (Engel’gardt), nėe Novosil’tseva (1828-1894), a Russian author who published her fiction under the pen name Ol’ga N. In 2016, Erik translated another long story by Ol’ga N., The Old Man, now available as a free .mobi e-book. The female narrator in Engelhardt’s story, published in 1867, grew up under the strict …
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  10. Franco in the 1960s: the case of Grimau

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    June 26, 2017 by AK

    Putin was born 60 years after Franco (October 1952, December 1892) and was appointed prime minister 60 years after Franco was installed in Madrid (August 1999, March 1939). Chronologically, Franco’s 1959, the year of the Stabilization and Liberalization Plan, which led to fifteen years of economic growth, roughly corresponds to Putin’s 2019 or 2020. But …
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