Large as life impressions of the noble Tsarist city A vivid selection from biographies, novels, letters, poems, diaries, and memoirs traces the story of St. Petersburg from earliest times. Through these pieces, we can observe the city’s foundation by Peter the Great on the marshy shores of the gulf of Finland, see how literature and the other arts flowered so strongly during the nineteenth century, and observe the often violent turning points of its later history. First hand accounts tell of the 1825 Decembrists standing in the snow in Senate Square, refusing to accept Nicholas I as Tsar, being shot down where they stood; of the imprisonment of Dostoevksy and the duel that killed Pushkin; of the last moments of the mad Emperor Paul, confronting his assassins barefoot in a cotton nightcap; of the storming of the Winter Palace by the crowd in 1917. Many more historic scenes are witnessed by such diverse characters as Tolstoy, Catherine the Great, and a voluble maidservant of Irish descent. Designed for on-the-spot use by visitors to the city, and as a highly readable anthology for the armchair traveller, this imaginative guide includes maps, engravings, and notes on history, art, architecture, and everyday city life.
"An indispensable guide to the heart of Russian history and culture."—Universe
"An indispensable anthology of writing about the city."—Harpers & Queen
Laurence Kelly, author of Lermontov: Tragedy in the Caucasus and editor of the Traveller’s Companion series, was born in Brussels and educated at New College, Oxford, where he studied history. The son of a former British ambassador to Russia, he has been a regular visitor to St. Petersburg for many years.