Alexander Serov and the Birth of the Russian Modern


du Quenoy, Paul, Ph.D.


Ph.D, Georgetown University; Professor D/History American University of Beirut

This is an original scholarly monograph about the life and work of the Russian composer and critic Alexander Serov (1820-1871), studied through the lens of his understanding of modernity as it developed in Russia in the mid nineteenth century. This research monograph is first full-length biography of Alexander Serov in English utilizing original records and archive sand the first in any language since 1985. It will use the life of the composer/critic as a tool for understanding Russian conceptions and misconceptions of modernity.

An introduction and conclusion will bracket five chapters defined by major periods in Alex. Serov’s life. Chapter I focuses on his youth and education from 1820 to 1840. Chapter II studies his young adulthood as a judicial bureaucrat with artistic aspirations, from 1840 to 1850. Chapter III focuses on Serov's criticism, which he did from his departure from state service in 1850 until he turned to composition a decade later. A fourth chapter will examine the remaining 11 years of his life, from 1860 to 1871, during which he briefly reigned as Russia's leading composer while still contributing to the national cultural debate as a critic. The last chapter will present his legacy and contributions, which are much overlooked by Russian cultural historians and critics as well as by many Western researchers, with a view of stating a case for Serov's cultural importance in the silver age and in the revolutions to come.

Russian cultural history,19thc,modern Russian history, modernism and Russia,origins of the Silver age, Russian art and music 1850-1900, cultural elites in czarist, Russia,musical criticism, Cui, Rimsky- Korsakov, Mussorgsky and Tchaikovsky
Release Date: 
March 1, 2015
Cloth: 978-1-936320-94-3
Trim Size: 

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