Molotov's Magic Lantern

Rachel Polonsky
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ISBN 9780571237814 Format Paperback
Published 03/03/2011 Length 416 pages

About Book

When Rachel Polonsky went to live in Moscow, she found an apartment block in Romanov Street, once a residence of the Soviet elite. One of those ghostly neighbours was Stalin's henchman Vyacheslav Molotov. In his former apartment, Rachel Polonsky discovered his library and an old magic lantern. Molotov - ruthless apparatchik, participant in the collectivizations and the Great Purge - was also an ardent bibliophile.

Molotov's library and his magic lantern became the prisms through which Rachel Polonsky renewed her vision of Russia. She visited cities and landscapes associated with the books in the library - Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Pushkin, Akhmatova and many less well-known figures. Some were sent to the Gulag by the man who collected their books.

  • About Rachel Polonsky

    Rachel Polonsky is the author of English Literature and the Russian Aesthetic Renaissance. She lives in Cambridge with her family.

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