This book is a study of a Soviet cultural phenomenon of the 1950s through the 1980s known as guitar poetry—songs accompanied by guitar and considered poetry in much the same way as those of, for example, Bob Dylan. Platonov’s is the most comprehensive book in English to date to analyze guitar poetry, which has rarely received scholarly attention outside of Russia. Going well beyond the conventional, text-centered view of guitar poetry as a form of political or artistic dissent, largely a function of the Cold War climate in which it began, Platonov argues for a more complex understanding of guitar poetry as a means of self-invention and community formation. Although grounded in literary studies, the book effectively brings historical, anthropological, and musicological perspectives to bear on an understudied phenomenon of the post-Stalin period.
"Rachel Platonov is the first non-Russian to address the stabilized post-Soviet situation of [guitar poetry] at book length…[Singing the Self: Guitar Poetry, Community, and Identity in the Post-Stalin Period] is the most soundly documented general study of the subject that we have in any language…a conscientious processing of this Russian legacy." —The Slavonic and East European Review