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sian archives would greatly enhance our understanding of his life in Russia,

and would throw considerable light on his relations with the Russian court and
the origins and nature of the opposition toward him from the conservative
press. In her recent article, The Disowning of Anton Rubinstein, Marina FrolovaWalker has rightly suggested that its causes were complex and anti-Semitism
was only one factor.8 His Jewish origins were undoubtedly an impediment to attaining proper recognition in Russia and certainly account for the anti-Semitic
attacks on him, particularly during the reign of Alexander III. But an even
greater barrier existed for him, particularly at the start of his career, and that
was the problem of class in a country where social standing was innitely more
important than talent or ability. Born the son of a merchant, he did not achieve
elevation to the hereditary dvoryanstvo [gentry] until 1877. Publicly he appeared to disdain such honors, but privately he coveted them. A ercely proud
man, Rubinstein probably felt that his talent placed him in a class outside the
norm. When he was nally awarded the rank of Privy Counselor in 1888, for
instance, he declared: Before I was a king, and for many a god. Now I am a
general, so that, properly speaking, means a demotion for me. But in our country a person without a title even to this day is a nothing.9 An attitude such as
this was bound to rufe imperial feathers, and Rubinsteins irascible temperament and outspoken manner would earn him many enemies.
***
The appendixes contain a list of Rubinsteins works, the programs of the Historical Concerts, a genealogical table, and selections from Gedankenkorb [A
basket of thoughts] (a sort of diary Rubinstein began in the 1880s and continued to write until his death, except during the years when he was preoccupied
with other literary works). He gave authorization for it to be published posthumously, and the book eventually appeared in Leipzig in 1897. It consists of
470 entries, or aphorisms, of which a small number are translated in the appendix under rubrics rather than in the random manner of the original. Translating
the whole of A Basket of Thoughts would take up far too much space, but even
the limited selection given here will provide the reader with a vivid insight into
Rubinsteins aesthetics and the breadth and scope of his interests in art, morality,
religion, history, and politics. The entries may raise a smile of amusement, or a
frown of disapprobation, but rarely are they devoid of interest. Whether cynical,
paradoxical, true, thought-provoking, prophetic, or false, they make for fascinating and stimulating reading.

Introduction xxv