From Symbolism to Socialist Realism: A Reader

From Symbolism to Socialist Realism: A Reader

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Irene Masing-Delic (Ed.)

Series: Cultural Syllabus
ISBN: 9781936235421 (hardcover) / 9781618112323 (paper)
Pages: 474 pp.
Publication Date: July 2012

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Developed as a reader for upper division undergraduates and beginning graduates, From Symbolism to Socialist Realism offers a broad variety of materials contextualizing the literary texts most frequently read in Russian literature courses at this level. These approaches range from critical-theoretical articles, cultural and historical analyses, literary manifestos and declarations of literary aesthetics, memoirs of revolutionary terrorism and arrests by the NKVD, political denunciations, and “literary vignettes” capturing the spirit of its particular time in a nutshell. The voices of this “polyphonic” reader are diverse: Briusov, Savinkov, Ivanov-Razumnik, Kollontai, Tsvetaeva, Shklovsky, Olesha, Zoshchenko, Zhdanov, Grossman, Evtushenko, and others. The range of specialists on Russian culture represented here is equally broad: Clark, Erlich, Grossman, Nilsson, Peace, Poznansky, Siniavskii, and others. Together they evoke and illuminate a complex and tragic era.


Irene Masing-Delic (Ph.D. University of Stockholm) is a Professor at The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio; author of Abolishing Death (1992).


The first third of the twentieth century saw immense cultural, political and technological changes, and in Russia those processes played out in literature. In this unique reader, Masing-Delic collects in one volume invaluable English translations of key Russian texts, from manifestos of poetic and revolutionary positions to poems, songs, diary entries and excerpts from memoirs. With some of the best English-language critical articles on the period, the volume functions as a primer on late imperial and early Soviet culture. Cultural contexts include the emigre community in Europe after the Bolshevik Revolution, Stalinism, and World War II. Perfect for the classroom or for those who want to explore Russian literary culture on their own. Masing-Delic has done the profession and the general reader a great service with From Symbolism to Socialist Realism.
— Angela Brintlinger, Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Ohio State University