Electoral epistemology

From CNBC’s recent Russia dispatch: Adeline Van Houtte, Europe analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, noted Wednesday that the vote will be an important test for United Russia… “United Russia is now polling at around 30%, substantially lower than in 2016. Despite…

Once again, reinvent the book

Ian Bogost writes in The Atlantic: …Ebook devices are extremely compatible with an idea of bookiness that values holding and carrying a potentially large number of books at once; that prefers direct flow from start to finish over random access;…

The Treaty of Kars: some background

A sequel to the post on the Treaty of Kars centenary (1921-2021). In much of the XIX century, Britain and France propped up the weak Ottoman Empire as a bulwark against Russian expansion. With the rise of the Entente Cordiale,…

The Treaty of Kars, 1921-2021

The first centenary of the Kars Treaty between three Soviet Republics and Turkey is coming up in October. Its predecessor, the Treaty of Moscow between Russia and Turkey, turned 100 in March 2021. It’s probably worth repeating that 2015 marked…

Rorty misquoted (again)

Writing in the New Republic, Chris Lehmann points out that a certain passage in Richard Rorty’s 1998 book, Achieving Our Country, appeared to prophesy the conditions of Donald Trump’s shocking ascension to the presidency. Lehmann then summarizes Rorty’s argument –…

Presentiment

Of nothing in particular. Ruins of Ivan Zholtovsky’s puzzling pavilion, grainy rain clouds above, a pop-artsy fence, and tired, lifeless grass in the foreground: Dusk in Gorky Park. By way of explanation, a quote by Alexandra Selivanova pasted from this…

Pines in wet climates

The pine forest on the left grows in the Pskov region of European Russia, not far from Pushkin’s ancestral estate. The climate there is moderately cold and rather wet, with more than 700 mm of precipitation per year.  Winters are…

The director’s part

“We liked how Actress X played her part – we just didn’t like Director Y’s production.” Every now and then, critics write this – without noticing the contradiction within. More often than not, it turns out that Actress X excelled…

East Europeans at Bayreuth

The Bayreuth Festival opened last Sunday with a performance of The Flying Dutchman (Der Fliegende Holländer). The first thing that meets the eye is the roster of the artists who created this production. Most of the key names are Eastern…

Olalla II

How did R. L. Stevenson intend Olalla to be pronounced – in English, since he wrote in English? (The Spanish pronunciation is discussed in the comments to Baia, the post at Language Hat’s that inspired this and the previous one.)…