Russia's New Fin de Siècle (Book)

Contemporary Culture between Past and Present

Edited by Birgit Beumers

This volume investigates Russian culture at the turn of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with scholars from Britain, Sweden, Russia and the United States exploring aspects of culture with regard to one overarching question: What is the impact of the Soviet discourse on contemporary culture? This question comes at a time when Russia is concerned with integrating itself into European arts and culture while enhancing its uniqueness through references to its Soviet past. Thus, contributions investigate the phenomenon of post-Soviet culture and try to define the relationship of contemporary art to the past.

Category: Performing Arts


Introduction: Russia’s New fin de siècle: Contemporary Culture between Past and Present 

PART I: Written Discourse

Chapter 1: The Function of the Soviet Experience in Post-Soviet Discourse – Maria Litovskaya

Chapter 2: Cycles, Continuity and Change in Contemporary Russian Culture – Mark Lipovetsky

Chapter 3: Victor Pelevin and the Void – Meghan Vicks

Chapter 4: From Homo Zapiens to Media Sapiens: Post-Soviet Television in Russian Fiction – Andrei Rogatchevski

PART II: Visual and Popular Culture 

Chapter 5: Afrika and Monroe – Post-Soviet Appropriation, East and West – Amy Bryzgel

Chapter 6: Military Dandyism, Cosmism and Eurasian Imper-Art – Maria Engström

Chapter 7: Sweet Dreams: Retro Imagery on Chocolate Packaging in Post-Soviet Russia – Bettina Jungen

Chapter 8: Victory Day: Rituals and Practices of War Commemoration in Russia – Nataliya Danilova

PART III: Cinematic Culture 

Chapter 9: A Kiss for the KGB: Putin as Cinematic Hero – Stephen M. Norris

Chapter 10: ‘Address Your Questions to Dostoevsky’: Privatizing Punishment in Russian Cinema – Serguei Alex. Oushakine

Chapter 11: Freedom and Uncertainty: The Cinema of Slava Tsukerman – Peter Rollberg

Chapter 12: Muratova’s Cinema before and after Perestroika: Deconstructing and Rebuilding Film Aesthetics – Eugénie Zvonkine

Chapter 13: The Place of Action Must Not be Changed: Aleksei Balabanov’s St Petersburg – Birgit Beumers

'Writers and filmmakers attempt not to revive the past but instead to open up new spaces for interpreting the past through the present. Summing Up: Recommended.' 

Choice, A. J DeBlasio

'Beumers’s is the first coherent multidisciplinary volume that looks at post-Soviet cultural production at the turn of the twenty-first century... Beumers’s volume, its time frame is confined to the wild-west capitalist 1990s under President Boris Yeltsin. Since then Russian society has undergone many changes, and Beumers’s collection successfully updates the content of her predecessor’s work.' 

Larissa Rudova, The European Legacy

'The notion of Russian fin de siècle has a special place in academic discourse, relating primarily to the culture of the Silver Age. This volume edited by Birgit Beumers has decidedly reclaimed the term to define Russian cultural production at the turn of the twenty-first century. In the Introduction, Beumers draws similarities between the two epochs — the sense of crisis and trauma laced by the colourings of pessimism, decadence, degeneration and decay. The book’s ambition is to begin to reflect on the fluid post-Soviet period as a yet another fin de siècle by examining a ‘paradoxical and ambivalent relationship’ (p. 3) of its artistic production with the Soviet past, and to ascertain ‘the impact of the Soviet discourse on contemporary Russian culture’ (p. 6).' 

L. Ryazanova-Clarke, Slavonic and East European Review
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