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Written in Blood
Revolutionary Terrorism and Russian Literary Culture, 1861–1881

Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title

Foreign Affairs

Written in Blood offers a fundamentally new interpretation of the emergence of modern terrorism, arguing that it formed in the Russian literary imagination well before any shot was fired or bomb exploded. Lynn Ellen Patyk contends that the prototype for the terrorist was the Russian writer, whose seditious word was interpreted as an audacious deed—and a violent assault on autocratic authority. Deftly combining riveting historical narrative with penetrating literary analysis of major and minor works, Patyk’s groundbreaking book reveals the power of the word to spawn deeds and the power of literature to usher new realities into the world.


Lynn Ellen Patyk is an assistant professor of Russian at Dartmouth College.




“Hers is an innovative study of one of the most pressing issues of our age: what is terrorism, and what makes a terrorist?”
Los Angeles Review of Books

“Destined to find readers far beyond Slavic departments and enthusiasts of Russian literature.”

“An incredibly timely book, providing a long-overdue discussion of the ‘genealogy’ of terrorism. . . . A must read for those interested in deepening their understanding of terrorism today.”
Russian Review

“Vigorous and engaging. . . .This book will be enthusiastically welcomed by anyone wishing to gain a deeper understanding of the dark forebodings that helped drive imperial Russia’s world-historical literary tradition.”
Slavic Review

“A superb model of interdisciplinary scholarship: highly original, subtle, thought-provoking, and a pleasure to read. Analyzing both word and deed, Patyk rewrites the history of modern terrorism showing why the Russian case was pivotal. A gripping story.”
—Susan Morrissey,author of Suicide and the Body Politic in Imperial Russia

“A wonderful book, full of original insights on the intersection between Russian literature and the birth of modern terrorism. Challenging usual ways of thinking, Written in Blood is sure to become a classic in Russian cultural studies, to be read and appreciated by scholars, students, and general readers alike.”
—Anthony Anemone,editor of Just Assassins: The Culture of Terrorism in Russia


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Written in Blood: Revolutionary Terrorism and Russian Literary Culture, 1861–1881

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New in Paperback!
January 2020
LC: 2016045013 PG
368 pp.   6 x 9

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Paper $21.95 s
ISBN 9780299312244
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Cloth $69.95 s
ISBN 9780299312206
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