Statue of Liberty

Norman Stone

  • The Crisis of the Old Order in Russia: Gentry and Government by Roberta Thompson Manning
    Princeton, 555 pp, £35.30, February 1983, ISBN 0 691 05349 9
  • Mikhail Bakunin: A Study in the Psychology and Politics of Utopianism by Aileen Kelly
    Oxford, 320 pp, £17.50, November 1982, ISBN 0 19 827244 8

The Russian gentry of the 19th century produced a strangely long list of ‘names’. Can you imagine the English nobility, in that or any other era, producing Tolstoys or Turgenevs, Mussorgskys or Herzens? The contrast between actual and would-be, in 19th-century Russia, was vast, and was to stimulate literature of a very high order: in this respect, there is a parallel between the Russian case and the Anglo-Irish one, among others. In Italy, Sicily was by far the most backward part: but all the most interesting Italians – and certainly the funniest – came from the South. An upper class looking ‘west’ in a countryside that looked ‘east’ had much to sharpen its sense of irony.

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