Beyond Holy Russia: The Life and Times of Stephen Graham

Beyond Holy Russia: The Life and Times of Stephen Graham Author: Michael Hughes
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78374-012-3 £18.95
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-78374-013-0 £32.95
Web PDF ISBN: 978-1-78374-014-7 £5.95

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This biography of the travel writer and novelist Stephen Graham is learned, elegantly written and an original and important contribution to the scholarly literature on Anglo-Russian cultural relations, while also maintaining strong appeal for the general reader. [...] 'Beyond Holy Russia' provides a full and deeply considered account of the long and prolific life of Stephen Graham, alive to all its cultural, political and personal paradoxes. At the same time, it gives a rich portrait of English, Russian and American literary life in the first half of the twentieth century and beyond.
Rachel Polonsky
 

This superb biography carefully traces Graham's life through the years and presents an in-depth inspection of his travel, relationships, and publications at each step. Hughes has critically evaluated a wide range of sources, including Graham's many books and articles, his manuscripts and letters (held in many archives and libraries), and reviews of his books. He demonstrates a thorough knowledge of Russian and British cultural trends, social developments, and political controversies. [...] This book's energy, insight, and clarity would enable advanced undergraduate and graduate students to benefit from reading it for courses in modern Russian or European history.
Matt Miller, The Russian Review, 74.2 (April 2015): 333-34


Stephen Graham stands out in the trickle of Englishmen who travelled Russia in the decade before the Bolshevik Revolution: he walked alone as many thousand miles as he rode in company by train. He was inspired by the Russian classics to teach himself Russian and explore most of European Russia and parts of what was then Turkestan. As a writer of journalism and fiction he veered between mysticism, tweeness, banality and profundity; his prose was so highly polished and individual that, in the course of his long life, his devoted readers were distressed to find his initial reputation plunge (Graham’s style and the fickleness of his fame remind one of Beverley Nichols). Michael Hughes rises above his obvious affection for his subject to treat Graham’s faults and blind spots as frankly as his virtues and perceptions.
— Donald Rayfield, The Times Literary Supplement (12 September 2014): 27


This biography examines the long life of the traveller and author Stephen Graham. Graham walked across large parts of the Tsarist Empire in the years before 1917, describing his adventures in a series of books and articles that helped to shape attitudes towards Russia in Britain and the United States. In later years he travelled widely across Europe and North America, meeting some of the best known writers of the twentieth century, including H.G. Wells and Ernest Hemingway. Graham also wrote numerous novels and biographies that won him a wide readership on both sides of the Atlantic. This book traces Graham’s career as a world traveller, and provides a rich portrait of English, Russian and American literary life in the first half of the twentieth century. It also examines how many aspects of his life and writing coincide with contemporary concerns, including the development of New Age spirituality and the rise of environmental awareness.

Beyond Holy Russia is based on extensive research in archives of private papers in Britain and the USA and on the many works of Graham himself. The author describes with admirable tact and clarity Graham’s heterodox and convoluted spiritual quest. The result is a fascinating portrait of a man who was for many years a significant literary figure on both sides of the Atlantic.
 
Please also visit Michael Hughes's dedicated blog on Stephen Graham.

The Anglo-Russian Research Network blog makes available for streaming a recording of Hughes's talk on Graham at the Research Network reading group in Spring 2013. The podcast is also available on SoundCloud. You can also read Jane Robbins Mize's interview with the author for Cultural Compass.

Since publication this book has been viewed over 1,800 times (last updated May 2015).

Title: Beyond Holy Russia: The Life and Times of Stephen Graham
Author: Michael Hughes
Publication Date: February 2014
Number of pages: xii + 357
Illustrations: 9
Dimensions: 6.14" x 9.21" | 234 x 156 mm
BIC subject codes: BGL (Biography: literary), WTL (Travel writing), 1DVUA (Russia)
ISBN Paperback: 978-1-78374-012-3
ISBN Hardback: 978-1-78374-013-0
ISBN Digital (PDF):
978-1-78374-014-7
ISBN Digital ebook (epub):
978-1-78374-015-4
ISBN Digital ebook (mobi): 978-1-78374-016-1
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0040
List of Illustrations
Epigraph
Acknowledgements
Introduction
1. Chasing the Shadow
2. Searching for the Soul of Russia
3. The Slow Death of Holy Russia
4. The Pilgrim in Uniform
5. Searching for America
6. A Rising or Setting Sun?
7. New Horizons
8. A Time of Strife
9. The Pilgrim Reborn?
Final Thoughts
Bibliography
Index
Michael Hughes is Professor of History at Lancaster University. He received his PhD from the London School of Economics and was a British Council Scholar at Moscow University.  He is the author of numerous books and scholarly articles on Anglo-Russian political and cultural relations including: Inside the Engima: British Officials in Russia, 1900-1939 (1997) and Diplomacy Before the Russian Revolution: Britain, Russia and the Old Diplomacy, 1994-1917 (2000).
Please also visit Michael Hughes's dedicated blog on Stephen Graham.

The Anglo-Russian Research Network blog makes available for streaming a recording of Hughes's talk on Graham at the Research Network reading group in Spring 2013. The same podcast is also available on SoundCloud.