The Cultural Origins of the Socialist Realist Aesthetic

Paper Text – $34.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3986-2

Cloth Text – $99.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-1545-3
Publication Date
September 1999
Page Count
243 pages
Trim Size
6 1/8 x 9 1/4
ISBN
0-8101-1545-X

The Cultural Origins of the Socialist Realist Aesthetic

1890-1934
Irina Gutkin

The past fifteen years have seen an important shift in the way scholars look at socialist realism. Where it was seen as a straitjacket imposed by the Stalinist regime, it is now understood to be an aesthetic movement in its own right, one whose internal logic had to be understood if it was to be criticized. International specialists remain divided, however, over the provenance of Soviet aesthetic ideology, particularly over the role of the avant-garde in its emergence.



In The Cultural Origins of the Socialist Realist Aesthetic, Irina Gutkin brings together the best work written on the subject to argue that socialist realism encompassed a philosophical worldview that marked thinking in the USSR on all levels: political, social, and linguistic. Using a wealth of diverse cultural material, Gutkin traces the emergence of the central tenants of socialist realist theory from Symbolism and Futurism through the 1920s and 1930s.


About the Author

Gutkin is an assistant professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Reviews

“The clearest strength of Gutkin’s study is the remarkable variety of materials that figure in her analysis, including major works of socialist realist fiction, pre-revolutionary aesthetic manifestos, political texts, and even an unusal 1925 “TOP SECRET” directive from Glavlit.” —Slavonic and East European Review

“Literary scholars, historians, and indeed any scholar or student of the Soviet period will be gratified to see many of their presuppositions about socialist realism validated in Gutkin’s analysis of the cultural history of the socialist realist aesthetic.” —Slavic Review
 

"Literary scholars, historians, and indeed any scholar or student of the Soviet period will be gratified to see many of their presuppositions about socialist realism validated in Gutkin's analysis of the cultural history of the socialist realist aesthetic." —Slavic Review