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University of Iowa News Release


May 14, 2009

UI Press releases new book about theater in imperial Russia

"Theatre and Identity in Imperial Russia" by Catherine A. Schuler will become available from the University of Iowa Press Friday, May 15. The book will be available at bookstores or directly from the UI Press by phone at 800-621-2736 or online at Customers in the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East or Africa may order from the Eurospan Group online at

The book is the latest addition to the UI Press's award-winning Studies in Theatre History and Culture Series.

Schuler asks: What role did the theatre -- both institutionally and literally -- play in Russia's modernization? How did the comparatively harmonious relationship that developed among the state, the nobility, and the theatre in the 18th century transform into ideological warfare between the state and the intelligentsia in the 19th century? How were the identities of the Russian people and the Russian soul configured and altered by actors in St. Petersburg and Moscow?

Using the dramatic events of 19th-century Russian history as a backdrop, she answers these questions by revealing the intricate links among national modernization, identity and theater.

Beth Holmgren of Duke University wrote, "'Theatre and Identity in Imperial Russia' expertly integrates Russian theatre -- its players, playwrights, producers and critics -- into the political and social history of 19th-century imperial Russia, tracing how the fascinating problem of 'being a Russian in Russia' spread from the nation's westernized gentry to critically acclaimed or decried representations of Russianness onstage.

"Spotlighting the biographies and public images of the 19th-century stage's key performers, Schuler richly demonstrates how these stars were read and 'made' by very differently oriented intellectual communities."

Schuler is an associate professor of theater at the University of Maryland, College Park, and co-editor of Theatre Journal. She is the author of "Women in Russian Theatre: The Actress in the Silver Age," winner of the Barnard Hewitt Award, and co-editor of "Theatre and Feminist Aesthetics."

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Thomas, UI Press,; Winston Barclay, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0073,