Georgian Themes


This compilation features books of the Central European University Press, published since its establishment in 1993, that have some relevance to Georgia (Sakartvelo), its history and culture. After the latest release, titles in the backlist are arranged by content: contemporary topics are on top, older themes below. For more substantial information about the content and availability, please click on the covers of the book, or on the links inserted into the citations.

“Against the backdrop of the frenzy of reforms under the towering dominance of President Saakashvili, it is easy to forget that he initially came to power with a delicate coalition. It was leadership, rather than the circumstances, that mainly explains the difference between the Georgian reforms and the rest of the CIS.”—from a volume on post-communist regimes.
“The period following the war in 2008 is different from the reformist frenzy of the earlier phase of his rule. On the one hand, the wounded Saakashvili changed from ‘Misha the reformer’ to ‘Misha the builder.’ He started large scale popular projects such as the transformation of Batumi into an international holiday and entertainment center.”
“Towards the end of the campaign period, Saakashvili’s strong personal appearance at rallies seems to have been strongly counterproductive. It appeared to push many voters towards the ‘safe bet’ of the Georgian Dream, who have practiced power without the excesses of Saakashvili.”

“The poems of the young Stalin were typical of a student. They rehash the motifs of Georgian Romanticism, which was a very strong trend in Georgian literature. It was dominated by two principles—the rebellious, generally characteristic of the romantic poet, and the historic-nationalist.”—from the book on the literary output of despots.
“In his 1901 textbook on the theory of literature, the Georgian public figure Mikhail Kelendzeridze included a poem signed by Soselo (one of the first alias Iosif Dzhugashvili) as one of the best examples of Georgian classical literature.”
“Stalin’s trilogy is constructed according to its models. In other words, the biographies of Lenin and Stalin and the Short Course can be understood not simply as works of socialist realism, but as its meta-texts. Stalin was the major Soviet writer.”

Further titles from the CEU Press backlist, older themes on top, contemporary topics below:

  • Three tales of the Caucasus by Aleksandre Qazbegi, one of the most prescient and gifted chroniclers of the Georgian encounter with colonial modernity;
  • The case of Georgia is a recurrent issue both in the book on nationalism in the Romanov empire, and in the collective work on 19th century empires as well as on the nation-building processes within the Ottoman Empire;
  • CEU Press presents Kalmykia to the English reading world – including references to Georgia; 
  • No book can be written on Stalin without frequent mentions of Georgia; 
  • A book on forced migrations in the USSR affected the land and people of Sakartvelo, too; 
  • No part of the empire was exempt from food shortages – was the climate to blame? 

Independent Georgia received (partial) attention in books on the post-soviet realities: 

  • An academic success examines the state building processes after the demise of the USSR; 
  • The author is Georgian and half of the book is on Georgia: comparing the relationship between globalization and contemporary nationalism in Georgia and the Basque country, or rather Sakartvelo and Euskadi;
  • Small in number, Jews in Georgia are also in search of identity; 
  • What was the place of the young republic in the foreign policy of Russia?
  • Together with twenty-eight more post-communist transition countries, the political and economic performance of Ukraine is also examined as part of a search of varieties of transition models. 

Excerpt from Masterpieces of History:

Document No. 58: Session of the CC CPSU Politburo, April 20, 1989.
(Gorbachev was out of the country on April 9 when Soviet forces cracked down on pro-independence demonstrators in Tbilisi, Georgia, killing at least 20 and drawing widespread condemnation. Eleven days later, this Politburo meeting is the first sustained high-level discussion of the still-murky affair.)
Gorbachev: … (the Georgian intelligentsia) is historically deeply tied to the people. It is the carrier of Georgian national symbolism. Everything there-theater, film, music-everything carries a very strong national element, an underlying connection between the intelligentsia and the people. Had the intelligentsia been involved in due time in the process of change it would have responded sincerely and actively.
… Our cadres regard political methods as a manifestation of weakness. Force-that is the real thing! In Georgia they could not transform themselves in the democratic way, to lead genuine advocates of perestroika, to listen to opponents, even to people with extreme views.
Ryzhkov: … We were in Moscow in those days, and what did we know? Armed forces were used, and the general secretary learns about it only the next morning. How then do we appear before Soviet society, before the whole world?
Gorbachev turns to Yazov: Dmitri Timofeyevich, from now on the army cannot take part in such actions without Politburo decisions.