1917: The Russian Revolution: In History… In Memory… In Literature

Exhibit Location: The Joseph Regenstein Library, Second Floor
Exhibit Dates: September 25 – December 31, 2017

The year 1917 imposed next to a flag of the Hammer & Sickle, the emblem of the new Soviet State“The Russian Revolution was, at least in terms of its effects, one of the biggest events in the history of the world. Within a generation of the establishment of Soviet power, one-third of humanity was living under regimes modeled upon it. The revolution of 1917 has defined the shape of the contemporary world.” This statement by Orlando Figes in the introduction to his book A People’s Tragedy: the Russian Revolution, 1891-1924 (New York: Viking, 1996) succinctly states the reasons why the centenary of this event is being commemorated far beyond the borders of Russia, not only by those whose lives and families have been changed by it, for good or ill, but also by those who have studied its meaning and consequences.

It was an almost impossible task to select from among the thousands of books written in dozens of languages on any given aspect of the Russian Revolution. Instead, this two-case exhibit highlights the complexity of the era in three ways: through works of history written in the years immediately after the revolution and civil war, as well those written after the end of the Soviet era (1989) when Soviet archives were at last opened to scholars; through the personal memoirs, diaries and oral histories of those who lived through these events; and through a selection of the literature which the revolution inspired.

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