St. Petersburg in the Russian Silver Age | Newberry

St. Petersburg in the Russian Silver Age

Led by Julia Kriventsova Denne. Five sessions. 10am - 12pm.
Saturday, July 18, 2020
Saturdays, July 18 - August 15


Full. Please email to join the wait list.

As a precaution to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Adult Education Seminars Program’s Summer 2020 term will be moving online. Virtual seminars will meet via Zoom video conference and will use email and Google Drive folders to share resources and communicate with instructors and participants. For more information about the Newberry’s virtual seminars and these tools, including a Zoom tutorial, please see our Virtual Seminars FAQ page. If you have questions about online learning, please feel free to reach out to

For more information about the Newberry’s response to COVID-19 please visit

Seminar Description

Between 1890 and 1914, St. Petersburg experienced a cultural renaissance in literature, art, architecture, music, and dance. In this seminar, we will examine the city as an urban imperial metropolis, a political capital, an unstable place of vitality and decadence, and an ambivalent cultural myth and metaphor for Russia. Focusing in particular on the burst of creativity in Petersburg’s visual, literary, and performing arts, we will devote specific attention to the poetry of Alexander Blok and Anna Akhmatova, the painting and design of Konstantin Somov and Alexander Benois, and Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes.

Five sessions. Registration – $220

Julia Kriventsova Denne studied literature at St. Petersburg University, Russia, and teaches Russian literature in the Chicago area.

Materials List


  • John E. Bowlt, Moscow & St. Petersburg 1900-1920: Art, Life & Culture of the Russian Silver Age. Vendome Press, 2020. ISBN: 978-0865653788


  • Solomon Volkov, St. Petersburg: A Cultural History. Simon & Schuster, 1995. ISBN: 978-0028740522

First Reading:

  • For the first session, please read the introduction and the chapters “A Double-Headed Eagle”, and “Azure Heights, Sapphire Depths” (pages 9-97) in John E. Bowlt’s Moscow & St. Petersburg 1900-1920: Art, Life & Culture of the Russian Silver Age.

**Newberry Bookshop Update**

Due to ongoing concerns about COVID-19 and the safety and well-being of our patrons, the Newberry Bookshop will be closed during the Summer 2020 term. As such, seminar participants will be responsible for acquiring all required texts for their seminars on their own. We apologize sincerely for the inconvenience, and appreciate your understanding. We have put together a list of helpful resources that should make it easy to find the books you need.

In the coming months, the Rosenberg Bookshop plans to launch an online web store where reading material for seminars will be available, along with other books, gifts, and cards. More on this soon!

Registration Information

Online registration opens at 9 am (CST) on Wednesday, June 3.

Please note: Due to COVID-19, the Adult Education Seminars staff is working remotely and will be unable to process registration over the phone. For more information about registration, including a guide to online registration, see our Registration Information page. Questions? Please contact seminars program staff via email at

We offer a 10% discount to members, seniors, and students.

This seminar has reached capacity. Please email to be added to the wait list.

This seminar is part of the Newberry’s Adult Education Seminars Program. Learn more about registering for a seminar, program policies, or teaching a seminar.