The purpose of this blog is to chronicle my continued pursuit of an understanding of Russia, Russian and Russians. My background is that of a student of Russian language and teacher of Russian history. My main interests, then, are focused on language, literature and history, but with the understanding that deeper insights into these topics are more easily reached with some knowledge, at least, of many others.
My apologies to those who visit this site expecting it to be about poetry. The name—Russian Tumble—is a wordplay on the second line of a mnemonic for remembering four different kinds of meter in English verse: “The iamb saunters through my book, trochees rush and tumble, while the anapest runs like a hurrying brook, dactyls are stately and classical”. While this site is not specifically about Russian verse, that subject will definitely be touched on at times. And the name does, I think, hint at an emphasis on literature, and makes a bow to the importance of poetry in Russian culture. More importantly, I like the way it sounds better than any other ideas I came up with for a name for this site.
Posts will fall under one of the following categories: Literature; Translation; Culture; Politics; and History. As this blog evolves, more categories may be included, and some of these may be broken up into more specific sub-divisions (e.g.-dance or television under Culture; poetry or folk-tales under Literature).
There may not seem to be an ordered progression of thoughts or ideas from post to post. For example, one day I may write an analysis of my reading of Lenin’s What is to be Done; the next post could find me musing on how Vladimir Putin’s carefully choreographed macho exploits are perceived by Russians; soon after I might reflect on my efforts to understand the importance of word-order in the Russian language, and how to best to convey that in English; and then I might reminisce about an enjoyable dining experience at a courtyard cafe in Moscow.
Taken individually, each of these posts should stand by itself, though some may have a particular appeal only to a particular audience. Taken as a whole, this site should give a good general overview of Russia from the perspective of an interested, intelligent American.
Primarily I hope that this blog will motivate me to investigate, think about and write about aspects of Russia—the place, the language and the people—that have always fascinated me.
If it also informs, entertains or inspires any one else, or provides a platform for thoughtful, constructive discussion, I will feel that I’ve done some good.