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The House of Government: A Saga of the Russian Revolution
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House of Government > House of Government Book Two, Part IV (17-22)

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Biblio Curious (bibliocurious) | 164 comments In Chapter 17, we learn how they're all related to each other & consider each other to be comrades.

Chapter 18 is the geographical layout of the city & the House is the center of it all.

Chapter 19 is all about pettines but many works of art are mentioned.

Chapter 20 is all over themes of mortality with more works of art of course.

Chapter 21 brings us back to childhood & early education.

Chapter 22 talks about recent graduates.


Dianne Biblio wrote: "In Chapter 17, we learn how they're all related to each other & consider each other to be comrades.

Chapter 18 is the geographical layout of the city & the House is the center of it all.

Chapter..."


Thanks Biblio!

In Chapter 17, Next of Kin, we delve into the depths of family relationships and some poignant love letters are shared. The story of Tania and Mikhail was particularly gripping, and through her letters to him you see the slow creep of depression overwhelming her as she struggles in political isolation with very little responsiveness from Mikhail. He, of course, could not have responded because he was arrested as a Ukrainian nationalist.

What did you think of the familywide socialist contract that was discussed in this chapter? It was interesting that Tania and her husband desired to indoctrinate their children at such a young age!


Dianne Chapter 18 - The Center of the World - This chapter was really interesting to me - to see how the USSR was structured as a series of concentric circles. Slezkine goes into another lengthy digression, as he did in earlier chapters about world religion, in this case regarding city structures across the globe and their architectural styles and objectives. He noted that Soviet neoclassicism was to be both monumental and "essentially rational" - what does that mean?


Dianne Chapter 19 - The Pettiness of Existence - This chapter seemed rather disjointed to me - it veers from the literature preferences of House residents, to Arosev's discontentment with life, to new structures at the House, to a question about what a 'good Communist home' would look like. I was surprised the accumulation of new residents wasn't monitored- it appears strict scrutiny was limited to the staff?


Biblio Curious (bibliocurious) | 164 comments Your welcome!! I haven't read any of this yet, so I'll get caught up on Monday. (Need a breather from the density of this book!!)


Dianne Chapter 20 - The Thought of Death - This was interesting because it was more about immortality and how to achieve it than the thought of death itself. Literature and love are each means to this end and various specific works and personal relationships are explored.


Dianne Chapter 21 - The Happy Childhood - I was actually surprised at how idyllic the lives were for children of the House. Most were taught at home and had groups of friends and various classes for music, sports, chess, art, etc. Many also spent time at their own dachas with all kinds of other activities. Reading was expected to be non-stop, and theater was also emphasized. What's not to love?


Dianne Chapter 22 - The New Men - This chapter was interesting because it talked about what happened to the children of the house, when they became, essentially, 'the new men.' They faced many more difficulties and had to learn to adapt. This chapter was largely anecdotal but still discussed the political backdrop of the time.


Biblio Curious (bibliocurious) | 164 comments Whew!! This section! Some of the books Slezkine mentions are repetitive but it's interesting to see these how these books are viewed in slightly different ways as the HoG progresses.

It's also interesting to see how the new 'ideal' family units are not going according to plan. So the Soviet life is divided into public & private spheres.

Then, the corruption creeps in ... we see the outrage of how expensive this house is to run. And the appalling way it's dealt with, that staff are replaced with basically lower ranking communists :$

The Centre of the World chapter was very interesting! There's a book at my library devoted to cities. It's basically a micro history of city planning. I was thisclose to borrowing it a few weeks ago. I'll have to track down the title and link it here.


Dianne Biblio wrote: "Whew!! This section! Some of the books Slezkine mentions are repetitive but it's interesting to see these how these books are viewed in slightly different ways as the HoG progresses.

It's also in..."


link to that would be great! I thought the centre of the world chapter was fascinating also, I wonder what the views are now on that construction style, and if it works efficiently.


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