Friday, June 18, 2010

Thirty Five Years in Russia

by Geroge Hume, 312 pages

Better account than Fox’s Mission to Russia, much more in line with the typical travel account. Somewhat repetitive, insists on its own singular importance, makes grotesque generalizations about the Russian character, renders gendered analogies and feminine signifiers for race. The same qualities that make it highly suspect as a fair descriptor of Russia are useful in showing the weight of foreign bias, and it’s an above-average use for my specific academic project.

The most surprising thing in reading this piece was how little difference the extended time in Russia made. Despite living there decades the main details are covered briefly and with a similar set of prioriteis, and the work is always careful to insist on its own distinctiveness from and ability to provide judgement on Russia. Not for the first time a Western narrative of exploration configures itself so as to categorize the eastern land for the perception of the Western audience.

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