Dashkova Centre

Roads Not Taken: Book presentation with Alexander Etkind

A journalist, diplomat, and writer, William C. Bullitt (1891–1967) negotiated with Lenin and Stalin, Churchill and de Gaulle, Chiang Kai-shek and Göring. While his former disciples led American diplomacy into the Cold War, Bullitt became an early enthusiast of the European Union. From his early (1919) proposal of disassembling the former Russian Empire into independent states, to his much later (1944) advice to land the American troops in the Balkans rather than in Normandy, Bullitt developed a dissenting vision of the major events of his era. A connoisseur of American politics, Russian history, Viennese psychoanalysis, and French wine, Bullitt also wrote two novels and a number of plays. Mikhail Bulgakov depicted him as the devil figure in The Master and Margarita.

Alexander Etkind presents his recent book on Bullitt, based on unpublished papers and diplomatic documents from the Russian archives. The book portrays Bullitt as an original thinker and elucidates his role as a political actor. His roads were not taken, but the world would have been different if Bullitt’s warnings had been heeded.

Alexander Etkind is Professor of History at the European University Institute at Florence. He has moved to EUI after many years of teaching as Professor at the University of Cambridge, where he also was a fellow of King’s College; he also has extensive experience of teaching at American and Russian universities. Etkind was born in St. Petersburg and defended his PhD in Helsinki. He is the author of Eros of the Impossible. The History of Psychoanalysis in Russia (Westview Press 1996); Internal Colonization: Russia’s Imperial Experience (Polity Press 2011); Warped Mourning: Stories of the Undead in the Land of the Unburied (Stanford University Press 2013); and most recently, Roads not Taken. An Intellectual Biography of William C. Bullitt. (Pittsburgh University Press 2017). He also coauthored Remembering Katyn (Polity 2012) and co-edited Memory and Theory in Eastern Europe (Palgrave 2013), and Cultural Forms of Protest in Russia (Routledge 2017). He is working on a new ambitious book, Natural Evil: A Cultural History of Resources.

Roads Not Taken: Book presentation with Alexander Etkind

Professor Alexander Etkind (Mikhail M. Bakhtin Professor of History of Russia-Europe Relations, European University Institute, Florence) presents his recent book Roads Not Taken: An Intellectual Biography of William C. Bullitt.

Princess Dashkova Russian Centre
19 Buccleuch Place