Alexander Serov and the Birth of the Russian Modern (New and Revised 2nd edition)


du Quenoy, Paul, PhD


Paul du Quenoy is a historian and critic. He has taught at multiple universities in the United States and abroad and is the author of four books. He holds a Ph.D. in History from Georgetown University

When did Russia become “modern?” Historians of Russia – including even many Russian historians – have long tried to identify Russia’s “modern” moment. While most scholars have looked to economic or ideological transitions, noted historian and critic Paul du Quenoy approaches the problem through culture, and specifically the performing arts, as told through the prism of one of its leading nineteenth-century practitioners, the composer and critic Alexander Serov.

Born in 1820, Serov grew to adulthood under the reign of Tsar Nicholas I (1825-1855). Long disparaged as a dark and reactionary period of Russia’s past, it instead offered many educational, cultural, and professional opportunities that conventional histories have failed to appreciate. Educated in law and tutored in music, Serov rose to become Russia’s first significant music critic and a noted composer whose three operas won him fame and gestured toward the creation of a national style. Although his renown was fleeting after his untimely death in 1871, his life and observations provide a vital eyewitness account to a Russia poised to embrace a fresh and fully modern identity. In a new and revised edition prepared to mark the 150th anniversary of Serov’s death, du Quenoy’s pastiche of Russian life offers one of the best approaches to Russia’s imperial past and its legacies today.

History, Music, Cultural Studies, Russia, Russian Music, European History, Music Criticism, Musicology
Release Date: 
October 15, 2021
978-1680537550 Hardcover
Trim Size: 

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