Reflections on the Russian soul - A Memoir
Dmitry S. Likhachev
Dmitry S. Likhachev, was one of Russia's most famous
literary historians and cultural commentators. In the
late 1980's Mikhail Gorbachev enlisted him as Chairman
of the Soviet Cultural Fund. In 1998 he was the first
person since 1917 to be presented with the order of
St. Andrew. He died October 1999, aged 92
"Protector of Russia's heritage."
- The New York Times Obituaries, October 1999
"It is the end of an era."
- Vladimir Gusev, Director of St. Petersburg's
Russian Museum (on the death of D.S. Likhachev)
This compelling and often traumatic book is the memoir
of one of the most important figures in modern Russian
history, Dmitry S. Likhachev, revered as 'a guardian
of national culture'. Reflections on the Russian Soul
is an incredible account of an intellectual's turbulent
journey through twentieth century Russia. Likhachev
re-counts the fortunes of people with whom he came into
contact and reproduces the air of passed years in Russia.
Likhachev vividly portrays his childhood years in St.
Petersburg and continues into his student life at Leningrad
State University that led to an agonizing period of
imprisonment and near death. He describes how a harmless
telegram caught the attention of the Secret Police,
resulting in his exile and confinement within the infamous
prison island of Solovky. He describes his first-hand
experience of brutality in prison during the early Stalin
years and the incident that not only saved him but also
haunted him for the rest of his life.
He reflects on the years after his release from prison
and the events leading up to the Second World War. His
powerful recollection of the blockade of Leningrad provides
the reader with a horrific insight into the harsh effects
of war, hunger and survival. Lichachev goes on to describe
post-war Russia and how his own livelihood developed
from literary editor to a return to Leningrad University
as Professor of History. This compelling autobiography
finishes with Likhachev's poignant return to Solovky
as a free man.
Relections on the Russian Soul is a landmark
of contemporary Russian history and culture that will
appeal to the general reader and anyone interested in
twentieth century Russian history and culture and, above
all it is a story of one man's survival.
"A la fin de ce temoignage de premier plan, le
lecteur a le sentiment que l'auteur a ete un veritable
miracule de l'Histoire, rescape du typhus aux Solovki,
de la repression, de la famine a Leningrad, sauve du
destin tragique qui fut le lot de tant d'intellectuels
de sa generation par des faits souvent infimes et derisoires,
comme son ulcere d'estomac chronique qui le fit parfois
s'absenter de la scene au bon moment. C'est comme si
le destain l'avait epargne pour qu'il puisse temoigner.
On ne peut qu'etre sensible a la qualite litteraire
de l'ensemble, aux dons de conteur de l'auteur qui se
laissent apprehender meme dans cette traduction anglaise.
On a affaire ici a un veritable roman de formation qui
eclaire la parcours spirituel de l'auteur et donne un
sens a toute son oeuvre. Mais ce destin individuel eclaire
aussi celui de toute l'intelligentsia russe au cours
du siecle dernier a un moment ou l'anamnese est si prisee."
- Revue des etudes slaves
ISBN 978-963-9116-46-7 cloth $44.95 / €39.95 / £35.00