Foundations of Russian Culture

Foundations of Russian Culture

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Hardback, 312 pages
Format Detail
Limited Edition
Feb 6, 2024
7 in x 5 in
Edition Type
Limited Edition
Holy Trinity Seminary Press
Holy Trinity Publications

— About the Book —

A culture that demands only freedom from politics, while rejecting and shunning politics itself, remains inadequate, lifeless, and is ultimately doomed. In its turn, politics that rejects the spiritual oversight of culture inevitably degenerates into tyranny or anarchy, into corruption and mediocrity.

Inside this deceptively modest volume will be found a remarkably prescient collection of broadcasts, that are perhaps even more pertinent to the contemporary culture and politics of Russia than they were to the audience within the Soviet Union to whom they were originally addressed.  Schmemann presents the complex history of Russia and analyzes trends and tendencies within its culture concisely and simply: showing them to be frequently contradictory and even mutually exclusive. He clarifies the multilayered meaning of “foundations”—its  underlying building blocks, the spiritual, the political, the historical, as well as the cultural assets in literature, art, science, and philosophy. In these elements he shows what Russia is grappling with in its struggle to find a synthesis that draws both from its own unique elements and its historical and ongoing interconnectedness with the “West” and the “East.”


 A very limited quantity of this hardcover edition is available only while supplies last.

— Author Biography —

Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann (1921-1983) was born in Estonia, raised and educated in France. He spent most of his working life in the United States as an Orthodox priest, educator, author and radio broadcaster, serving as Dean of St Vladimir's Seminary in Yonkers, New York from 1962 until his death in 1983. Many of his books remain in print both in English, Russian and other languages.

The Rev. Nathan K. Williams is a professional translator. He studied Russian at Holy Trinity Seminary (Jordanville, NY), where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Theology, and went on to receive a master’s degree in Russian from Middlebury College,Vermont. In addition to his work as a translator he serves as an Orthodox priest at St. Alexander Nevsky Church in Gardiner, Maine.
Serge Schmemann is an award winning journalist, writer and broadcaster. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1991 for coverage of the reunification of Germany and an Emmy in 2003 for his work on a television documentary about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He was the deputy foreign editor of the New York Times from 1999 to 2001, having previously served as a Times correspondent and bureau chief in Moscow, Bonn and Jerusalem and at the United Nations. From 2003 to 2013 he worked as editorial page editor of The International Herald Tribune in Paris from 2003 to 2013. A graduate of Harvard College he holds an M.A. from Columbia University. He has authored two books and is a member of the editorial board of the New York Times. He lives in Washington, DC.

— Contents —



Note to the Reader

  1. The Cultural Debate in the USSR: A Protest
  2. The Dispute Over Culture in the Soviet Union
  3. “Culture” in Russian Self-Identity
  4. Paradoxes of Russian Cultural Development: Maximalism
  5. Paradoxes of Russian Cultural Development: Minimalism
  6. Paradoxes of Russian Cultural Development: Utopianism
  7. The “Explosion” of Russian Cultural Identity in the Nineteenth Century (1)
  8. The “Explosion” of Russian Cultural Identity in the Nineteenth Century (2)
  9. The “Explosion” of Russian Cultural Identity in the Nineteenth Century (3)
  10. Renunciation of Culture in the Name of Pragmatism
  11. Renunciation of Culture in the Name of Religion
  12. Renunciation of Culture in the Name of Social Utopia
  13. Tolstoy and Culture
  14. Dostoevsky and Russian Culture
  15. Cultural Identity at “the Beginning of the Century” (1)
  16. Cultural Identity at “the Beginning of the Century” (2)
  17. Abandonment of the Moral Foundations of Culture
  18. The Initial Reaction to the Revolution
  19. The Enslavement of Culture
  20. Creative Resistance (1)
  21. Creative Resistance (2)
  22. Creative Resistance (3)
  23. The Past and Tradition
  24. The West
  25. Technology and Science
  26. Social Topics
  27. Religious Themes
  28. At A Crossroads
  29. On the Path to Synthesis (1)
  30. On the Path to Synthesis (2)
  31. Conclusion



Index of Names

— More from the Author —
Foundations of Russian Culture