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Revolutions and the Making of the Modern World

From Peter the Great to Karl Marx

James Cracraft

Edited By William Benton Whisenhunt

Professor James Cracraft is an established specialist on early modern Russian history, particularly the era of Peter the Great (1682-1725), tsar and first Russian emperor. This volume gathers some of the many key articles and reviews published by him over the last forty years and more in a wide variety of scholarly venues, some of which are not readily accessible. They constitute in sum important contributions not only to Russian history broadly understood, but also to the study of history itself. The collection will include a preface by the editor and an introduction by the author, where he will sum up his decades of historical work and point to new avenues of needed research, all the while emphasizing that "history" properly understood does not exist somewhere on its own but is the creation, however imperfect, of professional historians (as "chemistry", say, is properly understood as the work, however imperfect, of professional chemists).

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2 Some Dreams of Peter the Great

Extract

In 1884 M. I. Semevskii published the more or less fragmentary records of twelve nocturnal dreams that were experienced by Peter the Great between November, 1714 and November, 1716, to which he joined the records of two dreams that occurred to Peter’s second wife, the future Catherine I, on two successive nights in January, 1719. The records were found by Semevskii among the papers of the so-called Kabinet of Peter the Great, that vast and still not fully organized collection of documents which is now housed in the Central State Archives-TsGADA-in Moscow. Evidently Peter’s dreams—his recollections of them—were written down by Peter himself soon after waking and were then transcribed by various attendants, although only one of the dream-records that Semevskii prints was (or is) extant in Peter’s original as well as in a contemporary copy. Catherine’s recollections of her dreams were taken down by a private secretary (she was illiterate). How many other of their dreams, if any, might have been recorded or might thus have survived in the archives, Semevskii does not say (if in fact he knew). Yet in spite of this and other editorial slips here his scholarly reputation is beyond question, and we can accept the material that he has assembled as authentic.1 We have positive evidence, in other words, not merely that Peter and his wife dreamt ←17 | 18→(a fact of no inherent interest), but that they were careful to record some of their dreams, the by all accounts rather stupid...

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