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Jan Claas Behrends’ (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) “Constructing a New Moscow: Observations on a Changing Symbol of Soviet Modernity” discusses the development of the Soviet capital into one of the foremost symbols of Soviet modernity. Several projects — the Palace of the Soviets, the metro, the canals and the Stalin Plan — were at the heart of this endeavor. While life in the Soviet metro­polis remained difficult, official discourse described the city in utopian terms. The 1930s project was partially, yet never fully abandoned during the Second World War and the Thaw. The discourse about Moscow as a symbol of Soviet modernity remained in place until the dissolution of the USSR.

In Alec D. Epstein and Andrey Kozhevnikov’s “The Formation of Art Museums in French Cities: Civil-Society Initiatives in the Era of Modernity,” the authors analyze the creation of art museums in France; particular emphasis is placed on the introduction of works of modern art to museum collections. Epstein and Kozhevnikov indicate that although French state institutions supported the idea of creating public museums, they did very little to get later nineteenth-century/early twentieth-century paintings and graphic works into museum collections — that is, those works of art which are now considered to be the pinnacle of French art and which are today the main draw for tourists to France. The first Euro­pean museum of modern art to allow living artists to exhibit their work appea­red in 1818, in the Gallerie in Paris’ Jardin de Luxembourg; but the Gallerie did not acquire state-museum status for more than a century. The fact that France’s museu­ms now show works by Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissaro, Eugène Boudin, Maurice Utrillo, Raoul Dufy, Henri Matis­se and other painters today considered the pride and glory of French culture, has nothing to do with state offices or academic curators. Rather, we are indebted to the sensitivity, persistence and prophetic gifts of those art conno­isseurs who with their own money and at their own risk (and often, up against significant resistance on the part of professional curators and bureaucrats), bought these paintings and donated them to the museums of their homeland (eithe­r during their lifetime or according to last will and testament). France’s public art collections were effectively created by individual philanthropists and ci­vil-ini­tiative groups, with more or less support from local authorities in different cities. Epstein and Kozhevnikov highlight two basic models of museum creation and the formation of their collections: by groups of individuals, through the creation of art-lovers’ societies (this is how the museums in Le Havre and Pau were founded); and by individual philanthropists who donated their collections to their home cities, either during their lifetime or through last will and testament, and who donated funds to build art galleries (thus appeared the museums in Clermont-Ferrand, Limoges and Montpellier). France’s state institutions began to play a leading role in these processes only in the last few decades.

This section opens with an article by Irina Lunevich (Strelka Institute for
Media, Architecture and Design
), “The Authenticity of Urban Tourist Experience Given the Rise in Popularity of Location-Based Social Networks.” Although the tourist industry seeks to accommodate tourists’ desire to have authentic experiences during their travels, it is proving incapable of providing such experience. By dictating frameworks for travelers’ behavior, travel agents limit their freedom of activity. Meanwhile, digital technologies are qualitatively transforming tourism and helping to individualize tourist practices, enabling a whole new experience of cities for tourists. Lunevich’s study answers the question: how have new communicative technologies reconstructed the tourist industry by providing new opportunities to both tourism agencies and tourists themselves?

An article from Maria Romashova (Perm State University), “Grandmothers in Short Supply: the Soviet Discourse of Old-Age and Scenarios for Aging,” investigates the phenomenon of the “Soviet grandmother” and the representation of the role of grandparents in Soviet culture. The article examines the scenarios for aging approved by the authorities and by society, such as were offered to women in the 1950s. Romashova investigates how these scenarios correlated with the existing age- and gender-related order in Soviet society.  



Compiled by Sergey Troitsky

In studying cultural memory and practices of “forgetting” and “remembering,” scholars have encountered a great number of phenomena that have remained nameless and practically undescribed in the literature, and have thus persisted in effectively “illegal” status. Moreover, the use of existing terminology necessarily forced the application of established investigative strategies, which because of its retrospective nature did not recognize these phenomena. Thus arose the necessity of describing them, “illuminating” them with the help of concrete terminological “naming.” Sergey Troitsky’s (SPbGU) “The Problem of Terminological Precision in Studying Zones of Cultural Estrangement” is dedicated to the description of the basic terms that enable the description of heretofore unnoticed cultural phenomena. His article describes such terms as “zones of cultural estrangement,” “current (field) of culture,” “deactualization,” “reactualization” and “zones of cultural liminality.”

In her article, “Ethics and Ideology: Scenarios of Interaction in Russian Culture (1700s–1850),” Elena Ovchinnikova (SPbGU) uses historical materials from the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth centuries to analyze the formation of ethics as an area of scientific knowledge and a theoretical discipline in the space of Russian culture. She highlights a series of historical stages within which she traces the influence of the ideological and socio-political stances that determined the status and subject matter of ethics. The given historical period closes with a prohibition of ethics as an academic subject in universities and with ethics’ “decamp­ment” from the educational system. However, Ovchinnikova notes that this process of “squeezing out” ethics from its space among the disciplines leads to the formation of a particular “ethicocentrism” in Russian culture, which came to full fruition in latter half of the nineteenth century.

Anna Troitskaya’s (SPbGU) “The Actualization and Deactualization of the Study of Art: the Institute of Art History” addresses the specific position of the study of art in Russia at the time of its emergence and in the first decades of Soviet power. Looking at the Institute of Art History, Russia’s first teaching and research establishment for art history, Troitsskaya examines transformations in the relation­ship toward the study of art in the 1920s–30s, spurred mainly by ideological pressure. The problems encountered by the institute were an individual manifestation of changes in the status of the study of art at this time. Troitsskaya investigates the processes whereby the new discipline was brought up to date (“actualized”) and “deactualized,” and studies the mechanisms used by the authorities to eject the study of art, in its initial pure form, from the current field of culture.

The section concludes with an article by Andrey Malinov (SPbGU) and Izolda Peshperova (SPbGU / RANEPA), “Regionalism in Historical Retrospective.” Regio­nalism was a movement among provincial intellectuals in Russia in the second half of the nineteenth century. Regionalist ideology was focused on the protection of local interests and on defending the priorities of the regions’ socio-economic and cultural development. Regionalism’s program aimed for the spiritual awakening of the people, greater support for cultural diversity and the development of independent philosophical thinking. Nineteenth-century regionalism can be divided into three areas: Great Russian (Russian), Ukrainian (Ukrainophilic) and Siberian. The most complete and original philosophical themes were developed by Siberian regionalists and based on leading examples from European philosophy.



“Soccer in Soviet and Expatriate Poetry of the 1920s” by Alsu Akmaldinova (HSE), Oleg Lekmanov (HSE), and Mikhail Sverdlov (HSE) focuses on the writings of journalist poets who reported in verse on soccer games for “Red Sport,” providing a background for the poetry of Vladimir Mayakovsky, Eduard Bagritsky, Mark Tarlovsky, Vladimir Nabokov, as well as for one of the most notable prose works of the time, Yuri Olesha’s novel “Envy.” The article concludes with an exten­sive analysis of “Soccer,” a poem by Nikolay Zabolotsky.



Compiled by Ilya Kalinin

Peter Steiner’s (Pennsylvania University) “The Praxis of Irony: Viktor Shklovsky’s Zoo” analyzes the intricate interplay of revealing and concealing that characterizes this novel. The text is simultaneously a love correspondence between the author and Elsa Triolet, an avant-garde novel challenging the traditional understanding of this genre, and a political document—a plea by the exiled Shklovsky to be pardoned by the Russian Communist party. An incessant oscillation among these three levels prevents the reader from establishing a single point of view unifying the work from within. If the trope of irony is a speech act that denies what it actual­ly says, the discourse in Zoo is distinctly meta-ironic: an irony pretending that it is sincere.

Asya Bulatova’s (Nanyang Technological University) “Viktor Shklovsky’s Inappro­priate Modernism: Letters Not about Love and the Borders of Literature” claims that Shklovsky’s book Zoo, or Letters Not about Love came to represent a “theory as practice” approach to literature and literary theory. The unique position of this text in the history of world literature and in the intellectual history of the twentieth century can be explained by its ability to serve as an example of cutting-edge modernist experimentalism and at same time introduce and put in practice Formalist theories of language and literature. This article engages with this twofold understanding of a border as a boundary between genres and a category of literary cartographies. It suggests that the subject’s geographical displacement (e.g., exile) provides a vantage point from which a Formalist re-evaluation of the notion of genre becomes possible. Shklovsky’s notorious blurring of the border­s between fiction and literary theory becomes possible because in Zoo, or Let­ters Not about Love language is a means of re-creating the writer’s unstable literary and ideological position. To further investigate the link between language and exile, the article draws parallels between Shklovsky’s rethinking of the literary and geographical notions of border and Jacques Derrida’s theories of writing which link the inherent instability of language to its essential foreignness.

In “The Folkloristic Foundations of Viktor Shklovsky’s Theory of Prose,” Jessic­a Merrill (Stanford University) demonstrates that the conceptual foundations of Shklovsky’s literary theory were based on examples and ideas drawn from nineteenth-century folklore study. This had far-reaching implications for the fundamental oppositions on which Shklovsky based his thought: art vs. life, siuzhet vs. fabula, and ostranenie vs. automatization. In Shklovsky’s writings folklo­ristic examples work as a middle field, negotiating between art and life. Universal structural patterns (devices) found in folklore, Shklovsky assumes, emerged as a response to universal psychic drives common to all human beings. Shklovsky further assumes that written literature and folklore are related as more complex and simple instances of the same phenomenon, and that therefore elemental plot devices identified in fairytales or epic songs will hold true for contemporary prose. Tracing his use of folklore shows that Shklovsky did not see literature as a sphere autonomous from life, but rather as the product of resistance to universal drives inherent in human nature.

According to Ilya Kalinin (NZ SPbGU; “Art as Device of the Resurrection of the Word: Viktor Shklovsky and Philosophy of the Common Task”), the teachings of Fedorov, having influenced many figures of the Russian avant-garde, including Vladimir Mayakovsky and Velemir Khlebnikov, Pavel Filonov and Andrey Platonov, were by the early 1930s suppressed along with the utopianism of early revolutionary culture. It is all the more interesting to encounter the open evocation of Fedorov’s name and ideas in the work of an officially recognized author such as Viktor Shklovsky, who had assumed this status from the 1930s and who had emerged most forcefully at the center of cultural life in the era of the Thaw, when his roots in the avant-garde origins of Soviet culture endowed him with additio­nal symbolic weight. Even more striking, one must note that in Shklovsky’s early works, enrooted in the avant-guard art, the name of Fedorov was completely absent. However, in the perspective of already revealed Fedorovian stratum one may find the echo of Russian cosmism even in these early works.



In this section, we publish a selection of materials including a short biographical sketch, examples of poetry and manifestos written by “the father of Ukrainian Futurism,” Mikhail’ Semenko (1892–1937), accompanied by detailed commentary, as well as a full bibliography of works published during Semenko’s lifetime. It is hoped that these materials will open a new chapter for Russian readers in the history of the avant-garde. In this way, it seems, multiplying in various translations, the artefacts of Ukrainian Pan-Futurism will overcome cultural, political and chronological boundaries and find their way to new scholars. It is hard to overestimate Semenko’s role — as poet and Futurist leader — in the context of contemporary Ukrainian literature. The sots-art and conceptualism of the 1980s–90s, whose representatives range from Sergey Zhadan to Vladimir Tsybul’ko, Igor Bonda­r-Tereshchenko and other writers, grew directly out of pan-Futurist cultural memory. Actionist and synthetist projects of the 80s and 90s generations make overt reference to similar avant-garde projects of the 1920s. The generation that came of age in the 2000s also makes no secret of its reverence for Semenko, which constitutes further testimony to the poet’s relevance to contemporary
literary discourse. The section was compiled by Anna Belaya (Gorlovka Insti­tute of Foreign Languages, Donbas Pedagogical University, Ukraine) and Andrey Rossomakhin (European University in St. Petersburg). 



An essay from Yuri Leving (University of Dalhausie), “Approaching the Visual Aesthetics of Joseph Brodsky. Five Notes on the Avant-Garde,” investigates the pictorial and other visual allusions in Brodsky’s early poetry. The artists to whom, in Leving’s analysis, Brodsky refers both overtly and covertly include Théodore Géricault, Umberto Bocconi, Mikhail Larionov, Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, Pyotr Kanchalovsky, Kazimir Malevich and other less famous artists.



An article from Ekaterina Vasilieva (Berlin), “The Camp as a Performance. The Theater Theme in Dostoevsky and Dovlatov’s Prison Narratives,” investigates elemen­ts of the performative and the theatrical spectacle. These categories are appli­ed to the majority of texts containing accounts of camp experience. This
aspect is most clearly manifest, however, in those episodes that refer directly to theatrical performances. Vasilieva’s article analyzes the “theatrical” lines in two works from different eras and stylistic paradigms: Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes from the House of the Dead and Sergey Dovlatov’s “The Zone.” A comparison of these texts — the first of which is foundational for Russian camp literature, while the second marks a postmodern turn in the development of the theme — is meant to demonstrate the shared principles of the performative in camp narratives, and to help clarify the changes that took place in this connection against the background of new relationships between the subject and reality.

In her article, “The Vishera Anti-Novel as Unidentified Object,” Elena Mikhailik (University of New South Wales) examines Varlam Shalamov’s VisheraAn anti-no­vel, which is assumed to have been finished in 1971. The draft of this work consists of 18 sketches of varying length relating the author’s first camp experience in the early 1930s, camp customs, people encountered (prisoners and Cheka members), as well as a related story, “Butyrka Prison,” about later events in 1937. Mikhailik asserts that unlike the Kolyma Tales and Sketches of the Criminal World, which are still used as an argument in disputes about Russia’s social history, and unlike Shalamov’s poetry, there is a reason why this text with its strange title of Vishera. An anti-novel exists on the periphery of Shalamov’s work. Mikhailik makes the paradoxical observation that in Vishera, Shalamov achieves success as a literary theorist — attempting to show camp experience from the inside and from the past — but fails utterly as an artist. Her article provides a detailed explanation of the reasons for this failure. 



It would seem that Michael Palmer (b. 1943) needs no introduction — from the early 1990s his poems have appeared regularly in Russian-language journals and almanacs (Zvezda Vostoka, Kommentarii, Translit); the poetry collection Sun, translated by Aleksey Parshchikov, was published in 2000; and in 2013, through the efforts of Vladimir Aristov, the journal Inostrannaya literatura published a large selection of materials devoted to Palmer’s work, which in addition to poems included fragments from essays, speeches and interviews. Nevertheless, a few things should still be said about the translations published here, which come from the collection Thread (2011). This book stands apart from Palmer’s other work. It could be called his “book of the dead”: in it, Palmer conducts a lyrical dialogue with departed poets including Robert Duncan, Jack Spicer, Robert Creeley, Gennady Aigi, Gustaf Sobin and the Chilean poet and prose writer Roberto Bolaño. Thread is shot through with references to their poetry, lives and deaths; Palmer was friends with many of them, and many of them (like Creeley and Spicer) influenced his growth as a poet. Hence the particular intimacy and hermeticism of these texts, which are noticeably distant from the poetics of the Language School (with which Palmer is usually associated) and Palmer’s own earlier poetics. Palmer’s work is presented in translations by Alexander Skidan.

- See more at: http://www.nlobooks.ru/node/6341#sthash.65rCmMY7.dpuf

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