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Diaghilev Paperback – 26 Aug 1993

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Paperback, 26 Aug 1993
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; New edition edition (26 Aug. 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297813773
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297813774
  • Product Dimensions: 15.8 x 3.8 x 23.5 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,355,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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“A labour of love…one feels as if one had been there in 1909 when the transformed Russian Ballet suddenly burst on Paris…This is a very good book.” -- Johan Lawrence, New Society

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'HE DOTH BESTRIDE the narrow world like a Colossus.' Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Everything was easier with the ballet 6 Feb. 2010
By M. A Newman - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very interesting book on Serge Diaghilev, the impresario and dynamo behind the Ballet Russe. Richard Buckle brings both strengths and weaknesses to the task of writing this biography and while it succeeds on several levels, its shortcomings cannot be ignored.

Buckle's primary advantage is the understanding he brings to the world of ballet. When he wrote this biography, Buckle had founded a magazine on ballet, had written critical articles on dance for leading British newspapers, and had written a well respected biography on Nijinsky. These are considerable strengths and these are apparent in the second two thirds of the book when Diaghilev was living in Europe. In these portions Buckle has a unique understanding of what it takes to run a dance company both in terms of the nuts and bolts of choreography and commissioning new works and managing the considerable egos. There is also the matter of Diaghilev's constant need for money, and here Buckle is really good in showing what made Diaghilev an effective producer of artistic successes ranging from magazines to art shows, to operas to ballets. The reason he ended up remembered chiefly for ballets is that of the four creative outlets, ballets were the cheapest to produce.

Where Buckle has his primary limitation is in placing Diaghilev within the larger context of Russian culture in the late 19th and early 20th century.. Had Buckle understood that Russian culture was taking a look back at itself to the Middle Ages, much as Britain had during the Victorian Gothic period. This movement was attempt to reconcile modernity with tradition, an effort that came unstuck with World War I. However, while it lasted Many of Diaghilev's efforts to rediscover value in some the older Russian portrait painters and attempts to incorporate folk traditions (also having an impact on Russian modern painters) would be best appreciated from this perspective.

Finally, there is Buckle's spelling of Russian names. It is very odd indeed and does not appear to confirm to any current accepted system of transliteration, but harkens back to a style that went out of use around the time of Constance Garnett (who was translating works from Russian into English around the same time Diaghilev was publishing "Mir Iskusstva" in St Petersburg,

This is an interesting an useful book and worth reading, but to understand really what is happening in this book it probably would be good to read one or two general cultural histories of Russia before embarking on reading this work.
5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Diaghilev - Founder of the great Ballets Russes - His life story. 26 July 2005
By L. Klaja - Published on
Format: Paperback
Diaghilev coming out of Marius Petipas's stronghold on ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia astounded the world with a new form of ballet and took it out into the western world, changing it forever. Great ballets with great artists such as Nijinsky and Pavlova are still unforgetable and formed the foundation of our modern ballet. Diaghilev left us a great legacy.
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