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A Time to Gather Stones consists of five essays on themes of cultural and historical restoration and ecological preservation. Vladimir Soloukhin is well known as one of the founders of the "village prose" movement in Soviet Russian literature. Like other "vintage prose" writers, Soloukhin is profoundly disturbed by the ravages of the natural environment caused by planned yet ecologically irresponsible industrialization, and by the willful neglect of agriculture and the lot of the country dweller by the urban authorities. Like them, he is also outraged at the neglect and systematic destruction of monuments and cultural artifacts from Russia's past. In its documentary nature and its range of subjects, however, Soloukhin's work dramatically expands the parameters of the genre of village prose. The title essay is an account of the famous Optina monastery, its history, how it was founded, and its fate in the years of Soviet power. Other pieces record Soloukhin's visits to the estates of Derzhavin, Aksakov, and Blok. This first English translation includes all introduction by Valerie Nollan that provides a context in which to consider Soloukhin's work and a brief preface by the author. The wide range of literary, sociopolitical, and ethical themes, and the high literary quality of the essays, will make this volume of interest to specialists and general readers alike.
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- ID: 9780810111271
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