Postmodern Crises: From Lolita to Pussy Riot

Postmodern Crises: From Lolita to Pussy Riot


Mark Lipovetsky

Series: Ars Rossica
ISBN: 9781618115584 (hardcover)
Pages: 276 pp.; 3 illus
Publication Date: January 2017

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Postmodern Crises collects previously published and yet unpublished Mark Lipovetsky’s articles on Russian literature and film. Written in different years, they focus on cultural and aesthetic crises that, taken together, constitute the postmodern condition of Russian culture. The reader will find here articles about classic subversive texts (such as Nabokov’s Lolita), performances (Pussy Riot), and recent, but also subversive, films. Other articles discuss such authors as Vladimir Sorokin, such sociocultural discourses  as the discourse of scientific intelligentsia; post-Soviet adaptations of Socialist Realism, and contemporary trends of “complex” literature, as well as literary characters turned into cultural tropes (the Strugatsky’s progressors). The book will be interesting for teachers and scholars of contemporary Russian literature and culture; it can be used both in undergraduate and graduate courses.

Mark Lipovetsky is professor and chair of the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Colorado-Boulder. He is the author of more than a hundred articles and eight books, as well as co-editor of fifteen volumes on Russian literature and culture. Currently, Lipovetsky is working on a critical biography of Dmitry Prigov and serves as the editor of the poet's collected works. In 2014, Lipovetsky received an award of the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages for the outstanding contribution to scholarship.

Advance Praise

As the leading scholar on Russian postmodernism, Lipovetsky has gathered in this volume a range of texts written over the last 20 years that address critical moments in Soviet and Russian cultural history. Whether writing on the prose of Nabokov and Sorokin, on Pussy Riot, or on the films of Loznitsa and Todorovsky, Lipovetsky offers tantalizing readings through a lens that reveals the texts’ potential for fragmentation and destabilization. Lipovetsky’s analysis is always profound, but this volume shows the breadth of his vision, both in the range of genres and the timescale covered
— Birgit Beumers, Aberystwyth University
The most authoritative and insightful expert of modern Russian literature and culture, Mark Lipovetsky suggests in his new book an original view of the main trends of development of Russian culture and a fresh interpretation of a number of key literary texts and films. For Lipovetsky, postmodern theory offers a unique point from which to meditate on the overall dynamic of modern Russian culture. This fascinating work of theoretical boldness and real imagination enables us to experience Soviet and post-Soviet values and sensibilities and will be indispensable for anyone who is interested in contemporary Russian culture
— Evgeny Dobrenko, University of Sheffield
In recent years, few scholars have transformed the fields of Russian and Slavic literary studies as rigorously as Mark Lipovetsky has. With Postmodern Crises, he unpacks the interconnections between intellectual and popular cultures and politics in contemporary Russia in a series of erudite, nuanced, nonessentialist, and—invariably!—rhetorically powerful analytical inquiries. Scholars, students, philosophers, and politicians who want to understand the crisis of postmodern paradigms, contemporary Russian literature and art, and the political crises of Putin’s Russia: read this book.
— Ellen Rutten, University of Amsterdam

Table of Contents



The War of Discourses: Lolita and the Failure of a Transcendental Project
The Poetics of the ITR Discourse: In the 1960s and Today
The Progressor between the Imperial and the Colonial
Cycles and Continuities in Contemporary Russian Literature
Flеshing/Flashing the Discourse: Sorokin’s Master Trope
Pussy Riot as the Trickstar
The Formal Is Political


Post-Soc: Transformations of Socialist Realism in the Popular Culture of the Late 1990s–Early 2000s
War as the Family Value: My Stepbrother Frankenstein by Valery Todorovsky
A Road of Violence: My Joy by Sergei Loznitsa
In Denial: The Geographer Drank His Globe Away by Aleksandr Veledinsky
Lost in Translation: Short Stories by Mikhail Segal

Works Cited