Worlds of Dissent: Charter 77, The Plastic People of the Universe, and Czech Culture under Communism

Worlds of Dissent: Charter 77, The Plastic People of the Universe, and Czech Culture under Communism

by Jonathan Bolton

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674064386
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 04/25/2012
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 360
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Jonathan Bolton is Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University.

Jonathan Bolton is Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 The Impasse of Dissent 19

2 The Stages of Demobilization 47

3 The Shadow World 72

4 Legends of the Underground 115

5 Everything Changed with the Charter 152

6 The Public of the Powerless 201

7 Dreams of a Dissident 239

Conclusion 266

Notes 285

Acknowledgments 329

Index 331

What People are Saying About This

Padraic Kenney

One of the first truly post-communist, post-commemorative histories of communist Central Europe. Worlds of Dissent is neither embroiled in battles over the past, nor beholden to rigid interpretations of the end of communism. Bolton succeeds in approaching communist Czechoslovakia as it was; he opens the door widely, admitting the reader to the messy world of the past without prejudice. This is a major contribution to our knowledge of dissent and of the communist experience.
Padraic Kenney, Indiana University

Derek Sayer

Intelligent, judicious, and deeply researched, Worlds of Dissent takes us beyond both romantic simplifications and cynical dismissals to recover the ambiguities, complexities, and contradictions of the Cold War phenomenon to which the West once gave the name "dissidence." Perhaps Bolton's greatest achievement is his ability to put communist Czechoslovakia's worlds of dissent into the contexts of their times and places without losing sight of their continuing relevance for our understanding of power, resistance, and subjectivity in the modern world. This is a major addition to the scholarly literature--as well as a damn good read.
Derek Sayer, Lancaster University

Benjamin Frommer

In this riveting and thought-provoking book, Bolton masterfully captures oppositional intellectual life under communist rule in all its vibrant and often contradictory complexity. He demonstrates that 'dissent' and dissidents were neither what outsiders thought they were at the time nor what later historians have imagined them to be. And he does so in a gripping style that brings to life the dissidents and their ideas. Anyone who seeks to understand everyday existence and oppositional thought in the later decades of communist one-party rule must start with this book.
Benjamin Frommer, Northwestern University

Jacques Rupnik

A remarkable book by an erudite and thoughtful scholar who revisits, redefines, and reinvents the study of Czech dissent. Bolton's history wisely rejects the mythologies that have plagued most accounts of the dissident movement. Instead of telling the history of dissent solely through the pronouncements of its leaders, he enlists the stories of a variety of protagonists and, through their eyes, provides the reader with the great diversity of the meanings of "dissent." The originality of Bolton's approach lies precisely in his blurring of the borderlines between disciplines, which allows him to author a much-needed fresh perspective on dissent in Central Europe under communism.
Jacques Rupnik, Sciences Po

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