Russian Monarchy: Representation and Rule

Russian Monarchy: Representation and Rule


Richard Wortman

Series: Imperial Encounters in Russian History
ISBN: 9781618112583 (hardcover)
Pages: 325 pp.
Publication Date: September 2013

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This new volume from the author of Scenarios of Power explores the effect of the symbolic and mythical representations of the Russian imperial government on law, administrative practice, and concepts of national and imperial identities throughout centuries of monarchical rule. Richard Wortman demonstrates how the ideologies behind such representations shaped the thought patterns not only of the tsar and the imperial family but also of the Russian political and social elite. He characterizes the monarchy as an active agent in Russia’s political experience, one whose dominant role was resisting change until the inevitable collapse facing all absolute monarchies.

Richard Wortman (PhD University of Chicago) is James Bryce Professor of History Emeritus at Columbia University. He has also taught at the University of Chicago, where he received his PhD, and at Princeton University. His two-volume study, Scenarios of Power: Myth and Ceremony in Russian Monarchy (1995-2000), published by Princeton University Press, is devoted to the role of imagery and representation in the exercise of monarchical power in Russia. An abridged one-volume edition, Scenarios of Power: Myth and Ceremony in Russian Monarchy, From Peter the Great to the Abdication of Nicholas II, was published in 2006.

Wortman and the editors are to be commended for bringing together a coherent collection of essays that articulates Wortman’s important ideas on the tsarist monarchy’s public relations strategies and functions in public discourse. It distills Wortman’s deep knowledge of imperial governmental institutions and the great detail of his two-volume study Scenarios of Power into a single accessible volume.
— Aaron J. Cohen (California State University, Sacramento), in The Russian Review, January 2015 (Vol. 74, No. 1)