Based on her recent book of the same title, Catriona Kelly shows how a creative engagement with the past has always been fundamental to St Petersburg’s residents. Weaving together oral history, personal observations, literary and artistic texts, journalism and archival materials, she traces the sometimes paradoxical feelings of anxiety and pride that living in the city has inspired, both when it was socialist Leningrad, and now. Ranging from rubbish dumps to promenades, from the city’s glamorous centre to its grimy outskirts, this ambitious talk offers a compelling and always unexpected panorama of an extraordinary and elusive place.
Catriona Kelly is Professor of Russian at the University of Oxford, a Fellow of the British Academy, and the author of many books about Russian literature and culture. She lives in Oxford and St Petersburg.
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