Pub. Date:
Northwestern University Press
The Cultural Origins of the Socialist Realist Aesthetic: 1890-1934

The Cultural Origins of the Socialist Realist Aesthetic: 1890-1934

by Irina Gutkin


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The Cultural Origins of the Socialist Realist Aesthetic: 1890-1934

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780810115453
Publisher: Northwestern University Press
Publication date: 09/01/1999
Series: SRLT Series
Edition description: 1
Pages: 243
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

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

Table of Contents


Chapter One      The Emergence of the Soviet Project: The Two Avant-gardes and Two Utopias
Chapter Two      The Road to Socialist Realism: Culture in Search of a Life-Transforming Aesthetic
Chapter Three     The Struggle with Byt as a Problem of the Relationship between Art and Life
Chapter Four     Revolutionary Paradigms of Ideal Humanity
Chapter Five      Avant-garde Patterns of Gender Relations: The Construction of the New Woman and the Symbolic                                              Meanings of the Love Plot
Conclusion     Historical Lessons of Socialist Realism

Works Cited

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