This study group will examine the history of Imperial Russia through the lens of the literature, music and art that has faithfully mirrored the historical experience of the Russian people and reflected, or even created, their sense of themselves as a nation. The fall semester will cover the period from Peter the Great to the end of the 19th century. In the spring, we will continue our study beginning with the 1890s, moving through the revolutions of 1917 to the age of Stalin. We will discover how intense spirituality of Orthodox iconography, the starkly realist paintings and novels of the nineteenth century, the vibrant modernist experimentation of the early twentieth century, and the heroic depictions of Socialist Realism, all contributed to the identity of Russian people today. Historical background will be provided by Natasha’s Dance by Orlando Figes (Henry Holt & Company, 2002). Every third week we will explore a work of literature written in the period we are studying. Novels will include Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin, Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol, Fathers & Sons by Ivan Turgenev, and Crime & Punishment by Feodor Dostoevsky. Any edition of the novels is acceptable.