Description: As the first survey of the history of women in Russia to be published in any language, this book is itself an historic event--the result of the collaboration of the two leading Russian and American specialists on Russian women's history. It encompasses the stories of renowned historical figures as well as of the ordinary women who shaped and preserved Russian customary life over the past millennium. The four sections of the book are devoted to presenting a comprehensive and multifaceted picture of the life of women in Kievan Rus, Muscovy, and Imperial Russia of the 18th and 19th-early 20th centuries, with a concluding discussion of the Soviet period. The study draws upon a great variety of sources including chronicles, travelers' accounts, hagiography, memoirs, literary texts, archeological finds, oral poetry, didactic literature produced by the church, law codes and legal documents, and iconography and portraiture--examples of which highlight the text.
Women in Russian History is the fourth title in the series The New Russian History, which makes examples of the finest work of the most eminent historians in Russia today available to English-language readers. Each volume has been specially prepared with an international audience in mind, and each is introduced by an outstanding Western scholar in the same field.
Comment(s): "The first comprehensive survey of its kind to be published since the 1920s, this book tells the fascinating story of the many extraordinary women--rulers, artists, and revolutionaries--who have made their mark on the history of Russia from Kievan times to the present. It also traces the transformation of womens' status and consciousness through all those centuries. An interesting and engaging study!" -- Barbara Evans Clements, University of Akron
"It is long past time that historians and other students of Russia had an up-to-date and comprehensive survey of Russian women's history. Vast in its chronological and social sweep, this impressive study offers a panoramic view of women's experiences. Of interest not only to scholars but to anyone with the least bit of curiousity about Russia past or present, this book explores the multiple contexts of women's lives and recounts the ordinary as well as extraordinary contributions women have made to the country's social, economic, political, and cultural evolution. It is an invaluable addition to the burgeoning field of Russian women's studies and eloquent testimony to the bounty to be harvested there." -- Barbara T. Norton, Widener University
"Natalia Pushkareva's excellent text, ably and gracefully translated by Eve Levin, is a fundamental work surveying the history of Russian women. Based on a thorough reading of Russian primary and secondary sources and recent Western scholarship, the narrative offers an impressive base of data on women's legal, economic, political, and cultural positions. It also presents convincing interpretations of individual women, familiar and previously hidden, and of women's roles within the dominant society." -- Christine Holden, University of Southern Maine
"This is a very special book, and its translation is a major accomplishment. The long term collaboration between author ... and translator ... joins a tradition more familiar from great work in literary translation. The result is an impressive translation that, if anything, improves on the original. Pushkareva's text itself is rendered with precision and liveliness, while quoted passages convey the flavor of various historical eras. Levin never allows the translation to stumble, and her vocabulary is wonderfully rich but succinct. This version ...suggests a constructive model for interactive work between scholars in women's studies across linguistic and national borders." -- Sibelan Forrester, Swarthmore College ud 12/10/97
Review(s): "[Pushkareva] reveal[s] many interesting aspects of the lives of her subjects. She emphasizes the power of the Russian Orthodox Church and peasant tradition in limiting female participation in society, and she highlights areas of achievement, particularly in the realm of property and judicial rights. Her work is strongest in its depiction of the pre-Moscovite period. ... The first published history of women in this region, this is recommended as an addition to public and academic libraries." -- School Library Journal
"[Pushkareva] reveal[s] many interesting aspects of the lives of her subjects. She emphasizes the power of the Russian Orthodox Church and peasant tradition in limiting female participation in society, and she highlights areas of achievement, particularly in the realm of property and judicial rights. Her work is strongest in its depiction of the pre-Moscovite period. ... The first published history of women in this region, this is recommended as an addition to public and academic libraries." -- Library Journal
"Fascinating reading. ... Pushkareva offers insights into the power and influence of some women rarely mentioned in earlier works. Especially interesting are the chapters on women in the ruling elite before Mongol rule and during the Enlightenment. ... A useful supplementary text in courses in Russian history, women's history, and Russian civilization. For specialists in the twentieth century, the work provides an opportunity to learn about precedents for some practices that became part of the Soviet era. A good bibliography and index assist the reader in using the book as a reference. ... The reader gets an excellent sense of Russian customs and life in each era. ... An essential contribution to the history of Russian women." -- History: Reviews of New Books
"The first comprehensive history of Russian women ... intended for an undergraduate audience." -- Journal of Women's History
"A concise, clear and well-edited survey of interest to student and specialists alike and a timely addition to the growing cannon of Russian historical literature on women in Russia. ... Levin's translation and editing ... has made this book a joy to read. ... Fulfills its goal of presenting a comprehensive and multifaceted picture of Russian women's lives in a short survey format that remains true to the sources. ... The greatest value ... is the consistent and systematic treatment of its subject and the creation of a comprehensive story of ten centuries of Russian womanhood. ... Of interest both to scholars and students of Russia and scholars working on women's issues in other fields. ... One of the most valuable aspects of the work is the interweaving of the various threads across the centuries. ... A thoughtful and well-balanced narrative through ten centuries." -- H-NET Book Review
"Russian women are popularly envisaged as physically strong and exceptionally long-suffering. Natalia Pushkareva's book adds subtlety and variation to this stereotype by placing it in the context of the role and position of women in Russian history. Few are better qualified for this task: Professor Pushkareva is the leading Russian specialist on what is a new topic in Russia. ... A clear overall picture backed up with considerable amounts of detail. ... The book is both thorough and thoughtful." -- Times Literary Supplement
"Impressive amount of data illustrating the multiple contexts and changing contours of women's lives...Drawing on a vast array of secondary and primary materials, including birchbark letters and archeological finds, Women in Russian History not only documents women's accomplishments and exploits but also reconstructs their daily routine and family life...This book is the most comprehensive survey of Russian women ever published." -- Slavic Review