Out of Focus
Russia at the Margins

Catriona Kelly

Selected Essays 8


14 February 2023  •  356pp

ISBN: 978-1-781887-82-0 (hardback)  •  RRP £85, $115, €99

ISBN: 978-1-781887-86-8 (paperback, forthcoming)

ISBN: 978-1-781887-90-5 (JSTOR ebook)

Access online: Books@JSTOR


A conventional view of Russia represents it as a country where autocracy, centralised rule, and domination by the ‘power vertical’ both inside and outside the country are inescapable facts of the past and present. But Russia’s variety is as important a feature of the place as its size, and over time, politics and culture have radically altered to accommodate historical cataclysms, as well as periods of calm. This collection of essays by Catriona Kelly examines a Russia that is ‘out of focus’, beyond the usual simplifying optic. It considers often overlooked areas of historical and contemporary experience such as the lives and creative culture of Russian women, of children and teenagers, and of ethnic minorities. An internationally known specialist in Russian culture acts as a guide to unexpected discoveries and unexplored territories at the margins of Empire and the fringes of Europe.

Catriona Kelly is Senior Research Fellow in Russian and Soviet Culture at Trinity College and Honorary Professor of Russian and Soviet Culture in the University of Cambridge. She is also Emeritus Fellow in Russian at New College and an Honorary Faculty Research Fellow in Russian at the University of Oxford. She was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 2007. She has published many books and articles on Russian history and culture, including A History of Russian Women’s Writing (1994), Comrade Pavlik: the Rise and Fall of a Soviet Boy Hero (2005), Children’s World: Growing Up in Russia, 1890–1991 (2008), St Petersburg, Shadows of the Past (2014), and Soviet Art House: Lenfilm Studio under Brezhnev (2021).


  • ‘For a collection of scholarly pieces, Out of Focus is a very personal project. Catriona Kelly presents a view of Russian culture that deliberately eschews Big History and looks instead at 'unconsidered trifles' and the experiences of marginal groups 'beyond the focus of Russian history as conventionally practised'.’ — Wendy Slater, Times Literary Supplement 16 June 2023
  • ‘Kelly’s pivot towards documenting the tiny details, daily intrigues, and cultural stereotypes dominant among both the Russian elites and ordinary people amounts to a genuinely new and illuminating view on Russian history. In this book she observes, not the tip of the historical iceberg, but the section lurking under the surface.’ — Valery Vyugin, Modern Language Review 119.2, 2024, 292-94 (full text online)

For a contents listing, see this volume at JSTOR.

Bibliography entry:

Kelly, Catriona, Out of Focus: Russia at the Margins, Selected Essays, 8 (Legenda, 2023)

First footnote reference: 35 Out of Focus: Russia at the Margins, catriona Kelly, Selected Essays, 8 (Legenda, 2023), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Kelly, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Kelly, Catriona. 2023. Out of Focus: Russia at the Margins, Selected Essays, 8 (Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Kelly 2023: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Kelly 2023: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

This title is distributed on behalf of MHRA by Ingram’s. Booksellers and libraries can order direct from Ingram by setting up a free ipage® Account: click here for more.

Permanent link to this title: